Highpoint Editions | ANNOUNCING: 2022 McKnight Printmaking Fellows

Amy  Sands  (L)  and  Nicole  Sara  Simpkins  (R)
Amy Sands (L) and Nicole Sara Simpkins (R)

February 16, 2022

Announcing: 2022 McKnight Printmaking Fellows – Amy Sands and Nicole Sara Simpkins
Highpoint Editions

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Highpoint is delighted to announce the 2022 McKnight Printmaking Fellows Amy Sands and Nicole Sara Simpkins! Beginning February 2022, the fellows will have complete access to Highpoint’s cooperative printshop, technical advice and support, studio visits with accomplished arts professionals, and career development support, they also receive a $25,000 unrestricted award, and many additional benefits. The yearlong fellowship will conclude in January 2023 with a culminating exhibition at Highpoint. During the exhibition, a public conversation will take place featuring the artists discussing their practice.

The McKnight Printmaking Fellowships are open to mid-career Minnesota artists — defined here as artists who demonstrate a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence within the field of printmaking. The artists were selected on the basis of the artistic merit of their work, and their dedication, interest, and continued growth in printmaking.


Amy Sands has been exploring the concept of women’s work in her art. Imagery sourced from lace and craft doilies emerge from paper abstractions, giving homage to the history of women’s work and raising the question of what is valued in our culture. Patriarchal systems have inhibited female artists from being recognized for their work throughout history. “Craft” is often illegitimately considered lowbrow when compared to “fine art,” and Amy aims to conflate these notions by bringing the patterns of craft into prints.

Amy Sands (MFA, Pratt Institute) is a Minneapolis-based artist and educator. She has exhibited in solo and group shows both nationally and internationally and has been recognized with awards including First Prize ~ Mini Print III International Cantabria/Impact 10 in Santander, Spain; Juror’s Choice Award ~ Awagami International Miniature Print Exhibition 2017, Tokushima, Japan; First Place ~ Home exhibition at the Rourke Art Museum, Moorhead, MN. Her work is included in many public and private collections and is represented at Muriel Guépin Gallery in New York City, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, and Base Gallery, Tokyo. Sands is Associate Professor of Studio Arts at Metropolitan State University, St Paul, MN.

In addition to merging the ideas of “craft” and “fine art,” Sands’ work pushes the boundaries of what has been historically defined as a print. Post-digital printmaking processes such as laser cutters and CNC routers have entered her practice and have allowed her to expand on ways of thinking about the print. The balance of the delicate and the mechanical adds an additional element to the concept of gender roles referenced in the handwork. Exploring extreme scale (both life-size and miniature) has become an important way for her to broaden the range of possibilities with printmaking.

For the fellowship, Amy plans to grow her exploration of the dimensional print. Working with layered kozo papers, movement, and light, the prints become alive. She will expand on a current body of work that references Scandinavian handwork along with a new series that has evolved from sourcing nature in her backyard through the isolation induced by the pandemic.

Nicole Sara Simpkins uses printmaking, writing, and drawing to explore entanglements of culture, ecosystems, and personal healing. She holds an MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University – Bloomington and a BA in Creative Writing from Macalester College. Her work has been supported by a 2018-19 Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and by artist residencies at Millay Arts, The Ucross Foundation, The Vermont Studio Center, The Jentel Foundation, Artspace Raleigh, The Future, and The White Page. She teaches courses in drawing and printmaking and has exhibited work locally and nationally.

During her fellowship year, Nicole will continue her research on the culturally determined category of invasive plants, combining cyanotypes with intaglio prints to create images that recognize changing plant communities. She is fascinated by the ways that all species alter their environments, and through field observation combined with experiments in process, she hopes to create a compelling new body of work. Two-dimensional prints will become stand-alone works, as well as fodder for new mixed-media sculptural drawings, which also incorporate linoleum prints, screenprints, graphite, ink, collage, and cut paper.

Highpoint would like to offer our sincere gratitude to esteemed artists Willie Cole and Nicola López for all their effort as the panelists for this application cycle. We thank them for their careful review of the application materials, their engagement during the studio visits, and their thoughtful deliberation in choosing this year’s fellows.

Announcements and NewsFebruary 2022Highpoint EditionsMinneapolis MNNews