Art at the Aquarium

Featuring the art and instruction of Alyssa Swanson

Alyssa Swanson is a multidisciplinary artist and art educator working primarily in fibers, painting, and drawing. Currently, her artwork features themes surrounding mental health and women’s fiber craft. She received a Master of Fine Arts in 2-Dimensional studies from Bowling Green State University in 2019, and her Bachelor of Art from the College of St. Scholastica in 2016. Swanson teaches at the College of St. Scholastica, Proctor High School, and through a variety of community education venues. She has earned three grants from Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and exhibited her artwork throughout the Midwest. 

This activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Learn more about Alyssa and her art:

Scholarships available. Please email Alexis Berke, to request a scholarship form.

Classes for ages 7 through 12

Mixed Media Paint Along

Create a mixed-media painting of Great Lakes Aquarium’s Shipwrecks Alive! exhibit, home to rays, a zebra shark, and an assortment of other fish. Paint confidently with step-by-step demonstration and instruction.

Theme: Shipwrecks Alive

Date: April 1, 2023

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Cost: $40 (scholarships are available)

Mixed Media Paint Along

Create a mixed-media painting of Great Lakes Aquarium’s resident otters, Agate and Ore. Paint confidently with step-by-step demonstration and instruction. 

Theme: Otter Cove

Date: April 22, 2023

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Cost: $40 (scholarships are available)


Creature Camouflage

Draw inspiration from the patterns that allow animals to hide in plain sight!

Students will examine examples of animal camouflage and other unique patterning found on animals in the Aquarium. Combining the patterns they see, students will create an abstract work of art inspired by spots, stripes, and more. 

Theme: Camouflage and patterns

Date: May 21, 2023

Time: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Cost: $40 (scholarships are available)

Classes for ages 13 through adult

Linocut Printmaking

Learn to transfer and carve designs and drawings into linoleum to create one-of-a-kind prints inspired by Great Lakes Aquarium exhibits.

Want to try, but not confident in your drawing ability? No problem, sample designs inspired by plants and animals found in the Aquarium will be provided if you’d like to use them. 

Due to the use of sharp tools, this class is best suited for adults and children ages 13+.

No experience is necessary.

Date: May 3, 2023

Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Cost: $40 (scholarships are available)

Exploring Abstraction

Explore a world unseen through microscopic imagery! 

Students will use microscopes to look at various water samples collected from different exhibits found in Great Lakes Aquarium, Lake Superior, and rivers found near Duluth, MN. Students will observe and sketch organisms to create a painting that challenges the idea of abstraction versus realism. 

No experience is necessary.

Theme: A World Unseen – Plankton

Date: May 7, 2023

Time:1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Cost: $40 (scholarships are available)