» Marisa Carr
How did you become an artist?
I wasn’t sure how to answer this question at first so I asked my mom and she said I’ve always been a “drama queen”. Seriously, though, I grew up playing music, and it was my first love. My dad used to play music too so, as a child, our house was full of instruments and they were my toys. I learned to read sheet music around the same time that I learned to read words. Because I grew up playing music, I quickly learned to love performing. I also did a lot of art projects and loved to read, which led me to start writing. I was the kid who got in trouble in school because I couldn’t stop singing and I turned in math tests that had more drawings on them than actual math. I was very lucky to grow up in an environment where I was exposed to art, and given the opportunity to participate in making it. I don’t know how to answer the question of how I became an artist, though, because I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t making art. It’s always been part how I experience and interact with the world.
What inspires you?
The world, to risk sounding goofy. I know that is a terribly unspecific answer, but there’s so much that’s bad and so much that’s wonderful all mashed up together. It’s so complex and beautiful and heartbreaking, and full of gray area and contradictions. I’ll never be able to say that I understand it, but how can you not be in awe of it all?
How can art be a tool for speaking out, for creating change in the world?
For a long time I felt tension between my love of making art and my desire to create positive change in the world. As I grew as both an artist and as a person trying to generate change, however, I came to understand that I can use art to do that. I try to use art to raise awareness, to pose questions, and to tell stories that I think matter. Art can change the way people think. It can alter the way individuals and communities see themselves, see issues, see their connection to things outside the scope of what they might normally think about or experience. When you change the way people think, you change what they do - you change communities, you change the world.
How has Intermedia Arts been a part of your story?
Intermedia Arts has provided me with an incredible amount of support as both an artist and a community member. In addition to having access to spaces to share my work, I’ve also been lucky enough to be part of things like the Creative Community Leadership Institute and the Arts Access program, which have helped me explore ways to use art to engage and impact my community.
“Art can change the way people think … When you change the way people think, you change what they do - you change communities, you change the world.”
- Marisa Carr
What is one of your favorite experiences with Intermedia Arts?
I’ve experienced and participated in a lot of things at Intermedia Arts that have blown my mind. One very impactful experience I’ve had through Intermedia Arts the Creative Community Leadership Institute fellowship. It was amazing to have the opportunity to connect with and learn alongside other artists, activists, organizers and educators over an extended period of time – I’m still inspired by the work the other fellows have done, and continue to do, in their communities!
How has art changed you?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making art, so it’s hard for me to think in “before-and-after” terms about how art has changed me. I can say, however, that making art has always been a fundamental part of how I process my own experiences, concerns and reactions, and has given me a way to share those things with other people. Similarly, my own interaction with other artists’ work has played a huge role in how I’ve learned to function in this world. It’s helped me learn how much bigger the world is than my own experience, and why it is necessary to strive to be an active, compassionate and accountable human.
What do you see as Intermedia Arts' role in the community?
Intermedia Arts is a hub of the arts community in the Twin Cities. One thing I love about Intermedia Arts is that I know I’ll never go to a show or exhibition there and see, for example, a bunch of lovely boring paintings of bowls of fruit. I can count on being engaged, never bored, and experiencing something that challenges me and expands my thinking. That is the kind of work that Intermedia Arts supports – work by artists who challenge our notions, challenge themselves, and set the wheels of change in motion.
MARISA CARR is a multidisciplinary artist, youth worker and organizer. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, she now lives in Minneapolis. Marisa believes in art as a vital tool to engage, challenge and mobilize. She especially enjoys facilitating projects with youth, and helping young people learn to use art as a tool to speak back to power and explore their hopes and visions for themselves and their communities. In her spare time, Marisa enjoys cooking, reading, and taking long naps on her couch.