NIAD x Mills // MCAM Acquires 14 Works by NIAD Artists

We are thrilled to announce that fourteen artworks by NIAD studio artists Heather Hamann, Shana Harper, Serena Scott, and Jonathan Velazquez have been acquired by the Mills College Art Museum as part of a newly launched student acquisition project to help diversify the museum’s collection

Full Press Release:

Mills College Art Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of 14 works of art by contemporary artists associated with NIAD Art Center in Richmond, California: Heather Hamann, Shana Harper, Serena Scott, and Jonathan Velazquez. These additions to MCAM’s collection are part of a newly launched student acquisition project to identity, research, and justify specific artworks that help diversify the museum’s permanent collection. 

As part of the project, students identify specific works to propose for acquisition to the permanent collection, research the works, and present proposals justifying their choices to the class and a small collections committee of faculty and museum staff. MCAM Director Stephanie Hanor explains,

“This acquisition project allows students to really understand how art museum collections are built, and the opportunities and responsibilities that come with being a museum curator. Students are given the agency to help diversify the collection, while at the same time directly supporting our local ecosystem of artists and arts institutions.” Proposed artworks must be prints (any form of printmaking is eligible), sourced from a list of MCAM approved galleries, and align with MCAM’s priority of diversifying its collection and supporting work by BIPOC, LGTBQ, and women artists.”

Of the project, Amanda Eicher, Executive Director of NIAD Art Center says,

“NIAD is thrilled to be a part of this innovative collecting initiative at Mills, and we look forward to building the connection with these emerging art historians. The Art Marketing program at NIAD invites dozens of new curatorial voices to work with our archive each year. The initiative at Mills, and this means we get to meet students as they are just building their careers, and Mills College audiences get to meet emerging voices in NIAD’s studio as these works are exhibited. Truly, the art world wins when we partner in these exciting ways.” 

Several of these new works by Hamann, Harper, Scott, and Velazquez will also be featured in MCAM’s upcoming exhibition, Unseen: The Hidden Labor of Women curated by Museum Studies Workshop students, Olivia Olson-Roberts, Susan Prier, Mollie Schottstaedt, and Jenny Varner, and opening January 22, 2022. 


NIAD’s prolific storyteller HEATHER HAMANNinvites you to dine at her miniature table where roasted chicken, pasta, carrots, and dozens of strawberries keep her royal fairy folk well fed. Heather writes and illustrates fantasy epics, as well as uses the ceramics studio to sculpt the environments, characters, and food featured in her fables.
SHANA HARPER“I am a phenomenal artist who works primarily in printmaking, ceramics, textiles and drawing. In my drawings I like to work with holes or gaps, especially in my nature scenes. Sometimes that’s me, sometimes I’m in a hole trying to get out of it and a lot of my art is about my feelings. I like to draw variations of an image; a flower, a leaf. I like to repeat an image; that’s why stencils and printmaking interest me. I like to work an image until it’s perfected. I want my art to expand into the world. I want you to know that being an artist is the best feeling in the world.”
SERENA SCOTT, a Richmond, California native, began working at NIAD in the summer of 2018. During her brief time in the NIAD studios, Scott developed a distinctive text-based oeuvre, repeating a single word in black ink until she filled a 13-inch x 19-inch page. This calligraphic exercise became her art practice, and a remarkably consistent and prolific one. Considering Scott’s body of work taken as a whole imbues her lexicon of chance with a meditative, mantra-like significance.
JONATHAN VELAZQUEZ’s work – in performance, sculpture, and on paper – explores the possibilities of celebrity and the power of performance. When Jonathan sings and performs he feels confident and in the moment. In his drawing practice Jonathan likes to draw portraits of people that are important to him, and the recurring motif of hearts on his subjects’ chests reflects how special the person depicted is to Jonathan. He has released an EP of his Spanish-language ballads on NIAD Sounds Recordings. 



JANUARY 22 – MARCH 13, 2022

Adrianna Adams, Weekly Routine #1, 2020, 7 color screenprint on 100lb cougar paper, 16 in x 20 inFeaturing works from Mills College Art Museum’s permanent collection, Unseen: The Hidden Labor of Women examines multiple feminist perspectives on women’s labor. Curated by students in the Fall 2021 Museum Studies Workshop, the exhibition highlights the traditionally under-recognized emotional, physical, and domestic work of women as caregivers, community organizers, professionals, and artists. 
At a moment when Mills is transitioning away from its identity as an historically women’s college, Unseen celebrates the power and legitimacy of women’s experiences. The exhibition showcases pieces from MCAM’s holdings, including works by Adrianna Adams, Mary Cassatt, Ann Chamberlain, Imogen Cunningham, The Guerrilla Girls, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Clark Hobart, Mildred Howard, Kathe Kollwitz, Carmen Lomas Garza, Constance Jenkins Macky, Bill Owens, Mel Ramos, Beth Van Hoesen, and Elizabeth Ginno Winkler. Unseen also features new acquisitions by contemporary artists associated with NIAD Art Center in Richmond,  California, a progressive art studio for adult artists with developmental disabilities.

Unseen: The Hidden Labor of Women is curated by Olivia Olson-Roberts, Susan Prier, Mollie Schottstaedt, and Jenny Varner. The exhibition is accompanied by a digital catalogue featuring original scholarship by the students.


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About Mills College Art Museum

Founded in 1925, Mills College Art Museum is a forum for exploring art and ideas and a laboratory for contemporary art practices. Through innovative exhibitions, programs, and collections, the museum engages and inspires the intellectual and creative life of the Mills community as well as the diverse audiences of the Bay Area and beyond.

Museum hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm, Wednesday 11:00am-7:30pm

Admission is FREE and open to the public.