MCA to offer unity-building initiative using rock art


Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) invites community members to join in a unique community-building initiative. Each week, MCA will share information about an important artist of color or of an Indigenous background and their approach to art. Participants will then use rocks as their canvas to create art inspired by that artist.

To take the experience a little further, after each artist’s bio, MCA will offer a series of questions about identity and art that may be discussed within families (or in a Facebook group, which will be created for this project) to help promote unity and understanding. After each week of learning, creating, and discussing, participants will be asked to place the rock they created out in the community for a lucky passerby to find.

Two optional Zoom sessions will be offered to participants to learn about the project, discover art techniques, and engage in meaningful conversations. This program is offered free-of-charge, but registration is required to receive weekly email updates and Zoom session links.

During these divisive times, though people may be unable to physically gather together, MCA hopes this project will help facilitate important conversations within families and the community while also encouraging exploration of art, artists, and the world.

Participants will receive tips and ideas on where to find rocks and what materials to use, but MCA has also created “Just Add Rocks” kits which include supplies to be used by the whole family. Each kit contains acrylic paints, paint brushes, sharpies, Q-tips, Mod Podge, an instruction packet, and more. Kits are $25 and include free delivery or pickup in Winona.


Class details

Dates: Self-paced program, July 9 to August 29; optional Zoom meetings, July 16 at 6 p.m. and one TBD in August; optional participation in program Facebook group.

Ages: All ages are invited to participate. When registering, families only need to register one family member.

Materials and technology needed: Rocks and decorating materials. To participate in optional live Zoom sessions, internet and a wi-fi enabled device are required. Weekly lesson plans will be shared via email. If this is a barrier, please contact MCA and it will provide a hard copy of the plans.

Cost: Free, but registration is required. Optional “Just Add Rocks” multi-person kits may be purchased for $25. (After registration, an email information about how to purchase a kit will be sent out.)

Register: Online at


Don’t live in Winona?

Families in other communities are invited to join. The weekly content, art instruction, and conversation prompts are not specific to Winona. However, some of the conversation and rock-hiding location discussions will be more focused on this area. If you’re interested in bringing this to your community, organizers would be happy to design a program for you. For more information, contact Jamie Schwaba at


About MCA

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA), an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, is a nonprofit community arts school offering programming in dance, music, visual art, and theater. Classes, lessons, workshops, and camps are offered for students of all ages from birth through older adults at the Valéncia Arts Center. For more information about MCA or Galleria Valéncia, visit, email, or call 507-453-5500.


About Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of service and leadership. At Saint Mary’s, students find in every classroom — whether in person or online — a relationship-driven, person-centered education. Through intense inquiry, students discover the truths in the world and the character within. Founded in 1912 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota enrolls 5,600 students at its residential undergraduate college in Winona and its schools of graduate and professional programs, based in Minneapolis but extending worldwide. Saint Mary’s offers respected and affordable programs in a variety of areas leading to bachelor’s, bachelor’s completion, master’s, certificate, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Learn more at


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