Macrophotography depicting plant formations and structures.

Resident Artists

Highlighting artists who live and work in Minnesota

Since 1872, the museum has collected, preserved, interpreted, and displayed the natural history of Minnesota as the state’s official natural history museum. With the opening of a new facility in July 2018 that includes a state-of-the-art digital planetarium and a five-acre outdoor learning landscape, its role is expanding to become the gateway to the sciences at the University of Minnesota. While natural history remains a bedrock for the Bell, astronomy and space science, health and medicine, agriculture and the environment, and other areas afford the museum opportunities for new partnerships and experiences for public engagement.

RARP is made possible in part thanks to the generous support provided by the McKnight Foundation.

This program offers artists from all disciplines a unique opportunity to engage with Bell Museum curators and staff, University of Minnesota research, scientific collections, and other extraordinary resources while exploring the potential of art as a medium to interpret science in the public realm.

2022/23 Residents

Our museum-based artist residency program invites dynamic candidates from all disciplines to investigate artistic practice as a lens for science discovery in four, 12-15 week residencies taking place over the span of 18 months.

Alicia de la Cruz

Alicia de la Cruz

Alicia de la Cruz (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) is a beadworker and a proudly two-spirit member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. She begins her residency at the Bell Museum with an interest in exploring plant specimens in our herbarium as a way of thinking about the stylized floral forms that appear in Ojibwe art. She writes, “I have been beading since the age of 7 and I have been putting a modern twist on Ojibwe style floral work for over 20 years. In my eyes, it is the responsibility of each native generation to revive and renew the Native art form, and I’m here to do just that! What I am most interested in exploring at the Bell Museum is the native flora of Minnesota with a particular focus on the intersection between traditional Ojibwe floral usage and endangered species in Minnesota and the Midwest more broadly.”




Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra a.k.a. Lady Xøk

Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra in Electric Machete Studios

Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra a.k.a. Lady Xøk (Maya-Lenca Nation) is an interdisciplinary artist, musician, curator, and culture bearer whose work is rooted in Indigenous futurisms and immersive experimental storytelling. Her current body of work is an exploration of Maya-Lenca oral narrative, paleo-ornithology, and Indigenous string theory. She seeks ways to transmute the threads of her culture for the next generation across the global diaspora in the face of challenges of migration and climate collapse, in order to create solace and hope. She infuses her work with research in archeology, petroglyphs, ethnoastronomy, and stories of ancient ice age migrations, animals, birds, and women warriors, drawing parallels to current and future responsibilities. At the Bell Museum, she is excited to continue ongoing research around migrations of birds central to Maya-Lenca cosmovision and to learn more about Minnesota’s native bees. She plans for her residency to culminate in a performance of music, installation projections, and storytelling. 

She serves as a Tribal Archivist & Collections Consultant for Maya-Lenca Nation and on the board of the Maya Society of Minnesota. She is a current co-artistic director of Puppet Lab at Open Eye Theater. Her work has appeared at Redeye Theatre, New Native Theatre, Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop, Catalyst Arts, and ArtShanty, and most recently at Jump Start: Works-in-Progress at La MaMa’s 60th Puppet Fest in Manhattan.



Felicia Cooper

Felicia Cooper smiling directly at camera

Felicia Cooper makes puppet shows for children (though she notes that she employs a pretty loose definition of both puppets and children). Her work uses found objects, simple machines, and handcut shadow puppets to share curiosity and joy in the act of asking questions with an audience. She is deeply inspired by collections, objects, and community. Her work has been supported by the Connecticut Sea Grant, the Marks Family Endowment for Fine Arts, the Heinz Foundation Small Arts Endowment, Northern Spark, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the New Hazlett Theater, folkLAB, and others.

She intends to create work at the Bell Museum that will celebrate the role of curiosity and inquiry in the scientific research process, using the Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and the mollusk collection in particular as guides.



Missy Whiteman

Missy Whiteman wearing a hat

Missy Whiteman (Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo) is an Emmy nominated writer, director, producer, interdisciplinary publiX artist and curator.  Whiteman understands her work to be a voice for her ancestors’ stories, ancestral wisdom, and practice of art as ceremony.  

While based in traditional knowledge, Missy’s work also addresses themes of historical genocide, colonization and healing though creative process. 

Fellowships: 2021-22 Sundance Interdisciplinary: Art of Practice Fellow, 2021-22 Hennepin Theater Trust Digital Public Arts cohort, 2020 Media Arts McKnight and 2020 Forecast Public Art Mid-Career fellow.  Her film The Coyote Way: Going Back Home was supported by Sundance Native Lab and Jerome Grant.




2019/20 Residents

Anna Cerelia Battistini

Anna is a sculpture and fiber artist from St. Paul. Learn more at

Bayou Bay (aka Donald Thomas)

Bayou is a community artist and a member of the Million Artist Movement. Learn more at

Mike Shaw

Mike is an award-winning astrophotographer, author, and speaker. Learn more at

Josh Winkler

Josh is a Minnesota artist working primarily with print media and is currently Associate Professor of Printmaking at Minnesota State University. Learn more at

2019/20 Showcase Artists

2017/18 Residents

Alison Heimstead

Alison is a director and designer of puppet theater. Learn more at

Christopher Lutter-Gardella

Chris is a designer and inventor whose work often involves waste-stream materials. Learn more at

Jeff Millikan

Jeff creates provocative moods and narratives through staged photographic images, immersive installations, and quirky captions. Learn more at

Erin Sharkey

Erin is a poet, essayist, producer, educator, graphic designer, community organizer, and co-founder of the Free Black Dirt artist collective. Learn more at