Saturday, December 15, 2012

Smiles for Sandy Hook Elementary: A Minnesota Children's Art Project

The Children’s Book Illustrators Guild of Minnesota (CBIG) with assistance from the Bloomington Theatre and Arts CenterWet Paint and Richeson Art is hosting an event on Saturday, December 22nd, 2012 designed to bring smiles to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
“Smiles for Sandy Hook Elementary: A Minnesota Children’s Art Project” will bring Minnesota children and their families together at the Bloomington Theatre and Arts Center to create small, one-of-a-kind pieces of art which will be given to Sandy Hook Elementary in hopes of bringing a bright, happy light back to the halls of the school.
The event, which will take place from 10am to 2pm on December 22nd, 2012 is an open-door event, prepared to handle hundreds of children and their families as they visit the art center, make unique works of art and create smiles for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary.
For more information, visit .
For volunteer and donation information,
please contact me (Scott Spinks) at or by calling me at (651)247-0359
Art supplies have been donated by Wet Paint & Richeson Art.
The location has been donated by the Bloomington Theatre & Arts Center.
The following donations are still needed:
Time and Energy
Drinking water and snack for volunteers
Photography (We need two photographers to cover the event)
Shipping (to ship the finished at to Connecticut)
Signage to direct participants to the location
Printing for flyers
Name tags for volunteers
Cash donations will be taken at the door on the day of the event.
Connect with the event on FACEBOOK: Smiles4SandyHook

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

National Endowment for the Arts Grant excitement

Well, here is the amazing news I have been waiting to tell.  I am honored to be apart of another National Endowment for the Arts Grant!  That makes 2 NEA grants that i will be working on in 2013.  Couldn't be more honored and excited.  I especially would like to thank Lise Erdrich for helping make this happen and am looking forward to working with all the kids at Circle of Nations school back in my hometown of Wahpeton, ND!

SO here is the press release

[ON OR AFTER] December 4, 2012


WAHPETON, ND— National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that Circle of Nations School is one of 153 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant.  Circle of Nations School is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support a two-week artist residency and production costs for a student picture book project in Laura Youngbird’s art class. A mural project is planned as well.

In this FY 2013 funding round, the NEA received 393 eligible Challenge America Fast-Track applications, requesting a total of $3,930,000.  The NEA will award 153 Challenge America Fast-Track grants totaling $1.53 million awarded to organizations in 41 states, Washington, DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These include 49 first-time Arts Endowment grantees. The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

"Shawn McCann is a Twin Cities-based illustrator who grew up in Wahpeton. He is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and has worked on children's books, product illustration, street painting, murals, and fine art,” stated Lise Erdrich, arts advocate at CNS. “He is known for his giant 3D murals.”

Said McCann, “Illustrating children’s books is one of the great things I love about being an artist. Being able to create a rich environment of color and texture that engages kids is the driving force behind my work. For there is nothing better than opening up an entirely new world each and every time a child opens a book.” 
Some of the titles Shawn has illustrated include The Sick Bug, The Sick Bug Goes to School, Gregory's Paper Airplane, The Path to Forgiveness, Staarabu was Wise, Anana was Gentle and many others. Some awards that these books have won include the Silver Moonbeam Award, two Gold Mom’s Choice Awards, a Silver Nautilus, Next Generation Indie Book Award, Silver MIPA award and others. Shawn has also appeared the last two years as a featured illustrator at the LA Times Festival of Books.
"The NEA was founded on the principle that the arts belong to all the people of the United States," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "We're proud that Challenge America Fast-Track grants bring more opportunities for arts engagement to underserved communities." Chairman Landesman visited Wahpeton in December 2008 and was so impressed that he wrote about it his NEA blog, calling the Red Door Gallery and local arts effort “creative place-making at its finest.”

See the complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America Fast-Track grant support at

Established in 1904, Circle of Nations School is an off-reservation intertribal boarding school serving 200 children annually, grades 4-8, according to ND instructional standards. One if its most distinguished alumni and longtime employees is Woodrow Wilson Keeble, posthumously honored in 2008 with the Congressional Medal of Honor and North Dakota’s Roughrider Award. 

 # # #

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sarasota International Chalk Festival 2012

Another grand time was had at this years International Chalk Festival in Sarasota Florida.  This years theme was "circus" and we were honored that the famous daredevil and tightrope walker Nik Wallenda was part of our street painting.  Here are a few shots of the festival and our piece.  More pics to come as I get thru them from our trip!  The piece below was designed by Anthony Cappetto and was worked on by myself, Anthony, and Wendy Stum.  We were the Art for AFter hours team!

Finished "High Wire" street painting 

Just hanging around :)

Part of the other street painters

Anthony Cappetto and myself working the wire!

Anthony, Wendy, Nik Wallenda, Denis Kowal, and myself

Nik Wallenda carrying Festival Director and Founder Denise Kowal across the rope!

Having Fun!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Street Painting fun in Carrollton, Georgia!

This month has been full of many wonderful excursions.  It started with working on a mural at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, worked its way to Georgia for a street painting, wound its way to Minot, ND to do a lecture and school visit and is going to be ending the month on a week long street painting event in Sarasota.  And that doesn't even count the other fun things that happened in between all of that!  Definitely am loving the creative energy that is being expelled currently.  Hopefully I can keep the energy and excitement going into November.

SO, back to the street painting in Georgia.  I had such a great time down in Carrollton, Georgia at MeccaFest and was really happy to have met so many wonderful people along the way.  As a project thru Art for After Hours, it was great to finally get a chance to get out of the Atlanta Airport that I so often am stuck at.  Thru the course of 2 days, I created this 12ft x 16ft 3D street painting of an Indonesian landscape.  Hope you like!

Friday, October 19, 2012

TerraCotta Mural at Minneapolis Institute of Arts

After a week and a half, I am pleased to see that the mural at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is done.  It was a great time working on it and definitely am glad that this one will be staying up a little longer than the Rembrandt mural that was done earlier this summer.  The mural itself is in the TerraCotta Warriors shop on 2 at the end of the exhibit, so if you happen to be down at the MIA before January, check it out and let me know what you think!

Here are a few pics of the mural
The finished mural

Progress on the leaves

This was about half way thru
Here the tree was looking a little bare

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I'm back! The move to the new pad and studio is complete

Whew, what a few months it has been since I last posted.  This summer definitely flew by.  The good news is that I am totally enjoying my new house and studio!  It has just been a lot of hard work and sweat moving not only my normal stuff, but all those art materials and the worst of the lot; the books!  Many props to all of my friends and family that helped make the move so great.

Now it is a matter of getting back into the swing of things and get the studio back to full speed.  This fall is definitely going to be great with some amazing projects and trips coming up.  I will be doing another mural at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for the Terra Cotta Warrior show and will also be heading out to North Dakota, Georgia, Florida, and Washington DC on some projects.  Can't wait to post some pictures of the upcoming events and work!  Until then, here are a few shots of the new place to hold you over.  And if you are in the neighborhood, swing by and grab a beer:)

Monday, July 16, 2012

National Endowment for the Arts Grant!

Great news!!!!!  I am so honored to be apart of this great National Endowment for the Arts Grant that came in Friday.  I am really looking forward to heading back to my hometown of Wahpeton and creating some art!  Here is the Press release about the "Our Town Grant"!!!!!!!!!!

Contacts: [Lise Erdrich] [] [701-642-3796 ext. 353]

Dave Keehn, CNS
Wayne Beyer, TRAC
Amy Schmidt, TRAC
Roger Jensen, TRAC

 National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2012 Our Town Grant Recipients

[Circle of Nations School/Three Rivers Arts Council] one of 80 grantees selected nationwide

[Wahpeton, ND]-- The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announces 80 Our Town grant awards totaling $4.995 million and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia. [Circle of Nations School is one of the grantees and will receive [$50,000] to [for innovative arts programming to foster community interaction and activate existing cultural and community assets]. Circle of Nations is the lead agency in partnership with Three Rivers Arts Council]

Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects will improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place,and help revitalize local economies. All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of a minimum of a not-for-profit organization and a local government entity.

[Description of your project] “The partnership will connect world-class art with our town. We will capitalize on existing local assets and bring diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired,” according to project writer Lise Erdrich. “For example, students can make a film or help create a mural about our town and its environmental, cultural and historical significance. The public can experience the Red River Jig via internationally-known musicians and dancers at a local festival.” CNS especially wants public art projects to engage school-agers with community to create the sense of place and belonging to a place.

Wahpeton native Shawn McCann, known for his large-scale 3D art, is one of the project artists. He stated, "I am honored and excited about this wonderful opportunity to come back to Wahpeton and create a lasting impression with the "Our Town Grant". Having spent my childhood and formative years in Wahpeton, it gave me the inspiration and drive to pursue the arts that I love. Being able to bring that inspiration back to Wahpeton on a grand scale will be a great opportunity to give back to my "hometown". I am also greatly appreciative of the Circle of Nations School and all the hard work Lise Erdrich has done in securing this grant, and the Three Rivers Arts Council(TRAC) and the National Endowment for the Arts for believing in the work that I do and making this mural a reality. "

"Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts – both literally and figuratively – into the center of them,” said NEA Chairman Landesman. "From Teller, Alaska to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders."

Landesmann visited Wahpeton in December of 2011 to see the CNS birch bark art and film project previously funded by NEA. He also toured the Red Door gallery, met the public there, and wrote “WOW!” in the guest book. His NEA blog about the works in Wahpeton was very enthusiastic, “creative place-making at its finest.” He interacted with Laura Youngbird’s art classroom and a student drum/dance group led by world champion performers Jason and Winona Kingbird.

[Quote from leader of your organization] A support letter from Amy Schmidt, TRAC President, stated, “The state arts council believes in Wahpeton as a model for the region.” Wayne Beyer, TRAC Treasurer, is also a board member for North Dakota Council on the Arts. That organization has funded a creative asset-mapping project for the community to promote arts-related economic and civic development. The asset-mapping report from Morgan & Dean Development is expected in the next few weeks.

The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town that were assigned to one of three application review panels based on their project type; arts engagement, cultural planning and design, or non-metro and tribal communities. [CNS/TRAC] received an [Arts Engagement] grant award. NEA press office noted, “With only 80 grants emerging from the 317 applications, or a success rate of 25 percent, competition was strong, a testament to the artistic excellence and merit of [the Wahpeton project].

NEA Director of Design Jason Schupbach said, "It's an exciting time for evolution and exploration in the creative peacemaking field, and I'm certain this year’s Our Town grants will bear fruit for their communities and lessons for the field as a whole."

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA website at

[Circle of Nations School was established in 1904. Its mission is “to build academic achievement and healthy development of the whole child in a culturally relevant living and learning environment.” CNS actively pursues arts opportunities and is a co-sponsor of Fine Arts Festival with Wahpeton High School. Three Rivers Arts Council was established in 1995 to increase awareness of, appreciation for and involvement with the arts and its potential to improve quality of life for the individual as well as the community. TRAC envisions a community that values art as an important and even integral part of a productive and happy society.] Its mission has evolved with a commitment to educate the public and honor the natural history, artistic possibility, geographic significance and cultural heritage of the Red River confluence area. ]

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Minneapolis Institute of Arts Rembrandt Gala Mural-Dance Hall

I am finally back posting again.  After a whirlwind spring full of projects, I am happy to finally share some pictures of the latest and largest mural to date that I have worked on.  With a little over a week and 3980 square feet, I think it turned out pretty cool.  I will be posting a more in depth post about the process of creating such a large mural in another one soon, but wanted to get this up and running.  The theme behind this mural was one of back alley, graffiti laced amsterdam dance space.  It was created in the US Bank Gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and am pretty sure the walls haven't looked like this before :)  Stop back soon to see the process shots of the project! And to make the project even more cool, the piece was lit up in black lights for the Rembrandt gala Friday night.  I think you will be able to tell which one is the lit up one!!!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012 Artisphere Street Painting

This past weekend, I was fortunate to have created another street painting at the Artisphere Festival in Greenville, South Carolina with Art for After Hours.  This was my third year being down there and I have to say that the festival is one of the best I go to each year!  The hospitality and the crowds were amazing as always.  Other than a deluge of rain on Sunday which prevented us from doing a third day of street painting, I think the street painting this year turned out pretty well.  The original art used for this piece was created by Daryl Thetford and was used as the festival poster this year!  Thanks to Daryl for allowing me to recreate his amazing art.

2012 Artisphere Street Painting by Shawn McCann
"News Person, Original Art by Daryl Thetford"
Was great to meet the artist himself, Daryl Thetford!

Crowds from Saturday!  lots of great art to see

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Playing with a new medium! UltraViolet black light paints and chalk!

I know what you are thinking.  Why would Shawn want to try even more types of art materials and why hasn't he tried this amazing stuff before?  Well, the answer to that is that up until this point, I had no reason to use UltraViolet black light Chalk and paints.  I am finding though that I am loving the material and the great effects you can get as you 'light' up the night.  Here are a few pictures of the materials.  These happen to be the black light chalk that Eternity Arts sells.  They are a a great resource for all of your street painting needs.  Though this time, I would not be using them in the street, they are none the less amazing and can't wait for my black light paints to show up tomorrow to start playing with those too!  As for the reason for my using them, I am hoping to share that with you very soon :)

The variety of colors to choose from Eternity arts Black Light Chalk

Friday, March 30, 2012

Illustration Friday: "Return"

Here is an image of Anana returning from a long day.  This is an illustration from my illustrated book "Staarabu was Wise, Anana was Gentle"

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I might be off the radar a little bit over the next couple of months!

Having been enjoying this weather the last couple of weeks, it is hard to believe it is still only March!  How temps in the 70's and 80's make those last few weeks of winter so much more pleasurable.  But, I am so looking forward to what the next couple of months has in store and am anxiously awaiting all the fun to begin next week!  Between School Visits, street paintings, paintings, drawings, and other projects, the fun will be taking me to Arizona, South Carolina, North Dakota, Minnesota and beyond!  So, if you happen to be near any of these events and want to say hi, it would be great to see ya!  Ohh, and if that isn't enough of a crazy thing, I decided to start the process of moving to a new place soon!  More to come on that later.  If you are wondering why I have a picture of a violin on the top, that is my new canvas for a project for the Minnesota Orchestra.  Will definitely be posting images of the finished project when that is done!

So here are my Upcoming Events:

1.  "Technology for Artists" Workshop Wednesday March 28 from 6-9pm
     Simply Jane Studios in South Minneapolis
     Instructors:  Shawn McCann, Beth Rapatz, and Scott Spinks
     Details here

2.  Foley Children's Book Artist Residency.  April 2,3, and 4th
     Foley Elementary

3.  PopUp Park final viewing:  Make sure to swing by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to see the                                PopUp Park before I tear it down on Monday April 16!  Info about the park here

4.  Poston Butte High School Art Show:  Thursday April 19 in San Tan Valley, Arizona.  This will be a blast as they have entrusted me to judge their district wide art competition! The pressure is on to find that next big talent :)

5.  Florence High School visit:  Friday April 20th in Florence, Arizona!  This will be great working with the high schoolers and talking to them about the arts.  This will be my second stop in the little bit warmer Arizona

6.  "Art in Bloom" children's day street painting at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Saturday April 28.  Swing by from 1-3pm to help chalk up the sidewalks at the museums children's day event in conjunction with "Art in Bloom"  More info here

7.  "Wahpeton Elementary and Central School Children's Book Artist Residency", May 3 and 4th in Wahpeton North Dakota.  This will be a blast going back to my hometown for a couple of days to spend time with the kids!  Can't wait to show what we have created during my time there

8.  "Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Artist Retreat Workshop"  Saturday May 5th in New London, Minnesota on the shores of St. Andrew.   1-3pm.  Info here

9.   "Artisphere 2012" in Greenville, South Carolina.  May 11-13.  Come say hi as I will be doing another street painting for my 3rd year in a row!  Can't wait to be back with all that southern hospitality.  For festival information, click here

Whew, I think I got the next month and a half figured out, but might have missed something in there.  Again if you don't here from me, this is the reason why :)  Have a great start to your spring.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Willow Community Pre School Signing this Saturday!

If you happen to be near Long Lake, Minnesota this Saturday from 1-4pm, stop by the new Willow Community Pre School in Calvin Church!   I will be signing books and there will be many other activities going on for the kids to enjoy!

Information about the event is below:

Located 177 Glen Dale Drive, Long Lake Willow in Calvin Church 

A school committed to the Creative Arts and Healthy Living 

"We believe children learn in many different ways and through concrete exposure to a variety of learning styles and opportunities, children are free to find their best path for learning. Active classroom  engagement, cooperative learning and play, and an emphasis on social relationships and emotional development are practices at WCS that help to foster a life long love of learning in children." 

Please join us for a free, fun family afternoon. 

Music by State of Lakes  

Book signing by Minneapolis Illustrator, Shawn McCann 

Jen Edwards, a local acting talent will be hosting a dramatic play workshop

Local garden designer, Leslie Pinski  will be spring planting with the kids 

Naturalist, Shanna Hendrickson, will  explore bird’s habits and habitat 
Many wonderful craft and game activities for children of all ages. 

Refreshments Served too! 
Come support your community and have fun with your family! 

For more questions contact 
Pam Hendrickson 612-226 -1788    

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The amazing artists I meet along the way : CREATONE

Myself with Anthony Cappetto and CREATONE in Mumbai, India 2012

After getting back into the groove back here at home the last few weeks, I am constantly reminded of the many wonderful people and artists that I run into on my adventures in street painting and illustration events.  Having grown up in a small town in North Dakota, I would have never thought that i would be conversing with and becoming friends with people from all over the globe.  Having such an amazing ability to converse and freely chat via social media and the internet, it really makes for an exciting adventure in the daily grind!  The inspiration and encouragement that one gets completely keeps the fires burning and can only hope it expands as more projects take me places i would have never dreamed.  One of those places recently was Mumbai, India where I was fortunate to have worked on a large scale mural.  Meeting so many wonderful people there like Rajat, Animesh, Anish, Pawan, Ashish, Vipul and Aseem to the artists that i got to work with like Julian Fernandez, with whom I would have not been able to finish the small mural without!

Then there was the collaborative group of street artists that go by the name CREATONE.  CREATONE is a group of 5 artists that are going to college together at the L.S. Raheja School of Art in Bandra that quickly became great friends, even if we saw each other for a few days!  The group is made up of Jatin Waghela, Ashray Dmanankar, Deepak Rathod, Pratik Patil, and Kiran Patil.  Seeing these guys work together as a creative force was exciting and their piece they created for TechFest 2012 really spoke to their ability as a team!  It is going to be fun watching these guys not only continue great things in India where they are already creating a name for themselves, but what will be when they hit the world stage.  Never knowing where exactly one will go with their creative endeavors is exciting.  Getting to share that excitement with all the wonderful people you meet along the way and see their journeys as well makes it even better!   
CREATONE in front of their finished mural

The atmosphere on the job site was always fun around these guys!  You never know what you would be looking at when you turned around!

The side of my mural and CREATONE's all lit up ready for TechFest to begin!

Hopefully as time permits, I will begin doing more blog posts about other artists that I have met along the way as well.  Having a great community of artists in my life is what makes it so great!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The PopUp Park at Minneapolis Institute of Arts comes to life

Well, 8 months has gone by since I was first approached by the MIA to create a installation piece in the front lobby of the museum.  How those months have flown by!  With many many meetings, revisions of concept, and a steep learning curve into the world of fake tropical plants and astroturf, I am pleased that the PopUP Park at the museum is getting lots of great use out of it.  Having all this fun color in the lobby really has warmed up the space and love how the Stella upstairs really seems to pop off the wall between the colors in the lobby and the painting.  To show some of the progress and overall project thru pics, here are a few for you to see how the park came to be!  These first few are from the opening night on the 19th of January.

Right before opening night

Opening night fun!

Wonderful turnout for opening night

More peeps!

First concepts 

First concepts

Then picking out the plants

Revised drawing

Fairly finalized layout

Couldn't have done the park without Al fabricating the mounds

Yes, I do see you hiding in the corner Mom and Dad!   Great to see them come all the way from North Dakota!

My aunt Deb and uncle Steve