Paige Dansinger
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BFA in Fine Arts Studio
1993
Founder CEO, Better World Museum; Facebook Community Leadership Fellow

Describe what you do for work and how you feel about it.

I use AR/VR to draw together with the public to create more equitable, empathetic, and inclusive space. VR Garden is an online and offline global movement connecting communities through interactive art-making. I'm the founder of Better World Museum, which hosts participatory mural walls, an indoor edible garden, Makerspace, and VR Center.

I just returned from drawing in VR Garden with students and women in Cambodia and Singapore. I’m looking forward to creating a modular prototype for an AR/VR Climate Museum Pop-up (with Better World Museum) and working on my current side project: creating an AR/VR book of Urban Edible Plants.

I love my work, my current opportunity for leadership training and development with the Facebook Community Leadership Program this year, and my future goals with Better World Museum. I focus on creating work that repairs the world and leading the future for museums. 

How did you become a Facebook Community Leadership Fellow? 

Over six thousand people applied to the program. One hundred and fifteen people were selected representing forty-six countries, including fifteen very inspiring youth fellows. I was selected to be included in the inaugural year of this pilot leadership program at Facebook. Better World Museum will grow in new ways and reach more communities as a result. 

What was your major and how did you choose it?

Fine arts. I gravitated to it naturally, plus the clothing design department closed.

Did you receive any scholarships? How did that impact you?

The scholarship fund is so important for students today. My favorite event is the Auction at MCAD where I introduced a digital lightbox with my first drawing created live in the Met Museum with drawing software I designed for the iPad. It was futuristic and offered new technology to the audience. 

What is the best thing you ever got from the free shelf?

I have this pizza soft sculpture made of yarn, fabric, and felt glued onto cardboard. I love it and still have it! It brings me joy. 

What advice do you have for current MCAD students?

Use your voice for creating positive change. Also, apply to everything. 

Describe your internship.

I did have an internship in grad school. From 2005–2008, I was an intern curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in the Mickey and Harold Smith Gallery for Jewish Arts and Culture. Along with working on exhibits, labels, and object files, my mentor taught me about cultural property, art theft, provenance law, and to ask myself "So what?" often. This practice helps keep me accountable and prioritize human-centered projects. 

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

I loved Michael Bigger. We shared postcards after MCAD; when I directed my first art space in Taos, NM. Our families joined together for 4th of July fireworks one year. I always feel proud to see his great sculptures. He once said, "Every time you sell art, buy another tool, paint, or equipment." That mindset helped me prioritize my work, value myself, and sustain my artwork. 

What inspires you?

Using creative technology to draw together for a better world. 

Current obsession?

My obsession is Robots/AI and designing our new Garden Towers. They're sustainable hydroponic edible plant systems. The museum is building two at a time so we donate one to homeless/housing shelters, communities in need, and schools.

How do you feel about the Twin Cities?

I feel that we have the potential to use technology to become a smart city for the future. We could create an edible food plant corridor and use 100% renewable energy today to power our lives, plus way more interactive public art using the innovative minds of the diverse people representing our community today. We have the opportunity to work now to be a safe, smart, and connected city prepared for future climate change, population growth, and the next generation. 

How do you network yourself and your art?

Social media and creating offline engagement and meaningful interactions. Volunteerism, relationship development, and sharing my story in professional presentations, workshops, and events. 

Your biggest takeaway from MCAD?

I can make or achieve anything; I went to MCAD.