A detail from a ceramic tile depicting the desert biome. Hargens created four tiles depicting scenes associated with each of the four biome rooms in the new Conservatory.
Artist bio and statement
Ursula Hargens is a ceramic artist and educator based in Minneapolis. Ursula has been a teaching artist for many years and is co-founder and Program Head of Minnesota New Institute for Ceramic Education (MN NICE), an advanced certificate program in ceramics, developed in 2014 in partnership with Northern Clay Center. She is a three-time McKnight Artist Fellow and has received additional awards from the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her most recent project, funded by an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, collaborated with scientists and naturalists who are working to preserve and manage Minnesota’s natural resources.
Hargens says, “I often use flowers as a lens through which to view our changing climate, specifically within the state of Minnesota. Our impact on the environment and declining biodiversity can be difficult to comprehend in the abstract, but focusing attention on an endangered, forest wildflower can evoke an intimate sense of loss. The ceramic work will endure, unchanged for thousands of years, but the species itself may not survive without our intervention.”