IDMAA Exhibit Submission by Karin Denson titled “California Brown Pelican”

Next week the Winona community will get the opportunity to explore art from renowned and up-and-coming digital artists from around the world.  

That’s because Winona State University is hosting this year’s International Digital Media and Arts Association’s conference and exhibition — the latter of which will feature everything from videos, interactive virtual reality, and still-media, to sculptures, photos, paintings, and even rugs that were made using some form of digital tools. Both the IDMAA conference and free exhibition will be from June 24 to 27 at WSU. Attendees who are not vaccinated or are with children under 12 are strongly encouraged to continue precautions.

The conference, with a theme of “Broken Media,” includes 11 sessions of in-person and virtual talks, panels, and Q&A’s focusing on digital art and are all within the Science Laboratory Center at WSU or through Zoom.  

It will also feature internationally renowned artist and author Mark Amerika as a keynote speaker. Amerika has had his art exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, the Denver Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and many others.  

The public is welcome to attend both the conference and the exhibit, with the exhibit being free to enter and the conference being $175 a ticket for new attendees and $50 for students. 

The exhibit will be on display from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 24-26 and then from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 27 at the Lair Norton Center for Art and Design 

“This is the premiere digital media conference in the nation,” WSU Art Collections Coordinator Roger Boulay said. “The Exhibition features risk-taking, experimental works in new and traditional forms of digital media by internationally-celebrated artists and is an invaluable asset to Winona State and the City of Winona.”  

While working to be inclusive and equitable, the exhibit is highly competitive and only selects about a third of the digital art submissions that are entered – all of which will be on display at Laird Norton.  

“WSU is going to become a permanent home for IDMAA. We’re really lucky to have access to it in Winona.”

Davin Heckman

Professor & IDMAA Conference Chair

“We’re really lucky to have access to it in Winona,” IDMAA Conference Chair and WSU Professor Davin Heckman said. 

Lucky for Winona, the access will continue in the future.  

“WSU is going to become a permanent home for IDMAA,” Heckman said.  

Heckman explained that WSU would house IDMAA throughout the year and be the host for the yearly conference — which would further add to the festival landscape Winona has already fostered.  

Adding a fun twist to the situation, IDMAA will be moving into the same university as one of its founding members. 

Back in 2001, WSU President Scott Olson was a part of 15 universities that came together to create IDMAA with the goal of serving educators, practitioners, scholars, and organizations with interests in digital media. 

Olson explained that at the time there was the need to bring together folks from the arts, graphic design, communications studies, journalism, media criticism, computer science, and engineering to look at digitalization and to better understand how the shift from analog to digital was changing culture and society. It also became a place for educators to collaborate and share resources on how better to teach the topic.  

Hence, IDMAA was born.   

“It’s very gratifying to me that two decades later – and after a resurgence of analog technology like vinyl record albums – IDMAA still exists,” Olson said. “Though I had nothing to do with it, I’m proud that Davin Heckman and the College of Liberal Arts at WSU have stepped in to act as a new home for IDMAA. It’s like a beloved old friend you haven’t seen in a decade suddenly moving in next door.”  

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Tesla Mitchell

Named after the 80's rock band, Tesla Mitchell has a decade of experience covering local news and features as a journalist in Winona. A Saint Mary's University alumna, Tesla graduated with a bachelor's degree in Journalism with an emphasis in political science and entrepreneurship. During her free time, Tesla enjoys organizing block parties, being a super mom and an avid heavy weightlifter.