Ta-Coumba Aiken ’74
I’m a Twin Cities artist, arts administrator, educator, and community activist. I’ve participated in creating more than three hundred murals and public sculptures, and my work can be found in the collections of General Mills, the Taj Mahal, the Walker Art Center, Maya Angelou, and Herbie Hancock.
After high school, I wanted to move to get some distance from my hometown in Illinois. But I still wanted to be in a city with a vibrant African American community. Minneapolis was perfect—a big city and a small town at the same time, and a good place to discover yourself.
I’ve been drawing since the age of three, and I became interested in being a painter for both commercial and noncommercial work. And I felt that if I went to a college where everyone agreed with me, then I wasn’t going to achieve my full potential. MCAD allowed me to be out there, but also private. It was a safe place for disagreement and constructive critique. It’s the critical thinking and communication skills that MCAD instills, as well as the fine points of art making, that I regularly use in my career.