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Cynthia Binger Boynton Lobby Gallery

Since 2004, The McKnight Foundation has used its lobby gallery to exhibit works that illuminate the range of involvements and interests of the Foundation's grantmaking program areas.


Now on view

The Hand of the River
Works by Moira Bateman and Leo Smith III



GalleryHomePageHandOfRiver
Left: "Grey Cloud Dune Trace-Retrace" by Moira Bateman
Right: "Frost Crack Blessing" by Leo Smith III


On loan from the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, The Hand of the River pairs two Minnesota artists inspired by the Mississippi River: Moira Bateman of Minneapolis and Leo Smith of Winona.

While each artist’s work is unique, they share a creative interest in natural, river-dyed materials. Smith carves wood sculptures from virgin white pine logs recovered from the river. Submerged for more than a century, the wood develops a lovely golden hue due to minerals and tannins in the water. Bateman deliberately immerses textiles in the river and adjacent streams, lakes, and bogs to stain and dye them in a process she calls “eco-dyeing.”

About the Artists

Moira Bateman is a Minneapolis-based sculptor and visual artist. She makes large-scale, site-specific works, often installed near rivers or in prairies. Materials include animal fibers (silk and wool), leaves, pine needles, ink, and beeswax. Wild nature and human emotion meet and clash in her work, which is rich in architectural and primordial elements. She has received numerous awards, including a Jerome Fiber Artist Project Grant and a Minnesota State Arts Board Visual Artist’s Initiative Grant. Her work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the upper Midwest.

Leo Smith III is a Winona-based sculptor and painter. For more than 45 years he has found inspiration and materials in the natural environment of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Fueled by the river’s unique character, seasons, people, rituals, history, and wildlife, he incorporates an array of found natural objects into his work. Natural objects — various species of wood, shells, mother of pearl, bones, and antlers — as well as manufactured items such as old pieces of metal, tin cans, and spent shotgun shells are carved and painted to create something new, unique, and beautiful.

McKnight's Mississippi River Program

The goal of the Foundation's Mississippi River grantmaking is to restore the water quality and resilience of the river. We pursue two distinct strategies in this work: protecting and expanding floodplains and wetlands along the 10-state river corridor, and reducing agricultural pollution along the northern half of the river. In 2015, 9.6% of our annual grantmaking payout — roughly $8.5 million — was directed toward this goal. Learn more.

Gallery Hours

Weekdays, 8:00am - 5:00pm