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Community engagement project by NDSU visual arts chair travels to Estonia

Posted on 1/2/2013

A project aimed at community engagement by Michael Strand, visual arts chair at North Dakota State University, will be displayed in an international exhibit in Estonia.

In his project, The Misfit Cup Liberation Project, Strand invites individuals to exchange a used cup, and the story behind it, with one of his hand-thrown cups. Strand first debuted 100 traded cups and their stories in April at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. His goal is for the project to travel to 10 cities around the world and become a display of 1,000 cups and stories.

The Estonia competitive juried exhibit is titled "2012 Tallinn Triennial in Tallinn, Estonia." It opened Nov. 23 at the Estonian Museum of Applied Arts. The exhibit features 75 international artists and will run until the end of January.

"This is a fantastic applied arts competition that included major international figures in ceramics, textiles, metals and glass," Strand said.

The Misfit Cup Liberation Project's next stop is the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft as part of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Biennial. The international juried exhibition features 39 works selected from 1,360 entries.

Strand said he envisions the collection eventually finding a permanent home and becoming the basis for a book.

Strand traveled to Tallinn to accompany the project and work in the community through a residency at Asuur Keraamika in old town Tallinn. He also presented a lecture and demonstrated for students at the Estonian Academy of Art. The residency and project are partially funded by a U.S. Embassy Grant through the Estonian U.S. Embassy and support from the NDSU College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences. For more information about the exhibition, visit

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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