Select Page

MIAD Galleries


The Jane Bradley Pettit Building, MIAD’s main campus, holds two in-house, nationally recognized museum galleries: the Brooks Stevens Gallery and the Frederick Layton Gallery. MIAD’s galleries are open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the galleries is free.


MIAD welcomes proposals for exhibitions on an ongoing basis. Please contact  MIAD’s Director of Galleries Mark Lawson at 414‑847‑3350 or

MIAD’s galleries are supported in part by the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, and the Mary L. Nohl Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, among other sponsors. Learn more about sponsoring gallery exhibitions.



Upcoming Exhibitions

MIAD 2019 Senior Exhibition, 04/19/2019 - 05/11/2019

Dates: April 19 – May 11, 2019
Location: All MIAD galleries
Preview Night: Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 4 – 8 p.m.
Opening Reception: Friday, April 26, 5 – 9 p.m.

See the innovative work of emerging creative professionals who passionately contribute to the world and meet universal challenges in new ways at MIAD’s annual Senior Exhibition. MIAD’s Senior Exhibition, Wisconsin’s largest exhibition of its kind, features more than 100 artists and designers representing all of MIAD’s Bachelor of Fine Arts majors and minors. See more information about the MIAD 2019 Senior Exhibition.

Generously sponsored by:

BMO Harris Bank logo


MIAD Galleries Mission & Impact Statement

Mission: The mission of MIAD Galleries is to support learning, cultivate conversation with the community, and demonstrate the cultural value of art and design. Through excellence and diversity in our changing exhibitions and educational programming,  MIAD Galleries reflect contemporary and historical trends in fine art and design. With a focus on diverse, innovative and interdisciplinary practices across art and design, we present a dynamic exhibition program featuring work by regional, national and international professional practitioners. Our exhibits are complemented by public and educational events.

Impact Statement: We make an impact through:

  • The support of learning and pedagogy through programming reflecting contemporary and historical trends in fine art and design.
  • Emphasizing diversity and engaging the college and community in issues of cultural construction and meaning.
  • Expanding school curriculum and teaching by supporting new work and the curation of subjects and creative endeavors less commonly found in school or the larger community.
  • Fostering connections with creative professionals and institutions in the region for mutual support of programming and audience cultivation.

MIAD’s Director of Galleries prepares professional shows in both the fine arts and design galleries, and also assists groups of students in organizing shows throughout the campus.

Call for Proposals Information: Gallery Spaces & Floor Plans

MIAD welcomes proposals for exhibitions on an ongoing basis. Please contact  MIAD’s Director of Galleries Mark Lawson at 414‑847‑3350 or

MIAD operates two main galleries: the Brooks Stevens Gallery and the Frederick Layton Gallery. MIAD’s galleries are open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the galleries is free. Both galleries are located on the college’s lower level, the River Level.


This gallery is named after Frederick Layton, the founder of the first art gallery in the city of Milwaukee. This early art venue was also the site where MIAD’s predecessor institution, the Layton School of Art was founded. Four to five exhibits are on view in this space each year, based on the college’s academic calendar. It has no exterior windows, about 320 linear feet of wall space and has about 3,600 square feet of open space. It is accessible to by a freight elevator, and can exhibit very large or heavy artifacts. Download Frederick Layton Gallery floor plan PDF.


This gallery is named after Brooks Stevens, the famed Milwaukee-based industrial designer who was instrumental in developing the college’s Industrial Design program. During his long career, his design firm worked for hundreds of clients creating many influential, well-known products. This gallery focuses primarily on design exhibits, presenting two to three exhibits per year. The gallery features exterior windows to view Milwaukee’s River Walk. This space has about 4,000 square feet of open space with 220 feet of linear wall space, depending on the temporary wall partitions being used. Download Brooks Stevens Gallery floor plan PDF.

Past Exhibitions

I Contain Multitudes, 01/18/2019 - 03/09/2019
Artwork from I Contain Multitudes

From I Contain Multitudes

Dates: January 18 – March 9, 2019
Location: Frederick Layton Gallery
Opening Night – Winter Gallery Night Friday, January 18, 5 – 9 p.m.
Opening Reception & Artists’ Discussion Saturday, January 19, 2 p.m. Meet the 10 artists participating in the exhibit and view a documentary created about the making of this exhibition.
Navigating Cultures: Artists’ Talk and Panel Discussion Thursday, February 7, 7 p.m. Fawzia Khan and Hend Al-Mansour lead a discussion on challenges of simultaneously being part of two cultures.
Talking Suitcases Wednesday, February 27, 7 p.m. Susan Armington discusses her project and workshops to fill a suitcase with a handmade objects that tell stories and help participants gain insights about themselves, touching on topics such as immigration, racism, grief, personal loss and life transition.

The paintings, drawings, mixed media objects and installations from 10 artists from diverse heritage and artistic backgrounds invite viewers to examine how multiculturalism and navigating between different social norms affects the artists, as well as how it relates to the issues of immigration and diversity in our contemporary society. The work of the artists explores living a multicultural life and examines concepts of cultural negotiation, memory and nostalgia. The artists’ work showcases juxtapositions of visual languages, cultural icons or symbolism and gender inequalities.

The exhibition is curated by Nina Ghanbarzadeh. In addition to Ghanbarzadeh, artists featured include:

  • Hend Al-Mansour, a former cardiologist from Saudi Arabia, she now makes prints in Minneapolis.
  • Painter and mapmaker Susan Armington lives in Minneapolis and spent time teaching in Japan.
  • Visual artist Nida Bangash, born in Iran and raised in Pakistan, creates miniatures in McKinney, Texas.
  • Roya Farassat, an Iranian painter/sculptor, lives and creates in New York City.
  • Farida Hughes, an American abstract artist of Asian-Indian/American descent, explores community engagement and movement in her mixed media work.
  • Fawzia Khan, a Pakistani-American abstract artist born in Nigeria and living in Minneapolis, works in the visual arts after a career in obstetrics/gynecology.
  • Ifrah Mansour was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Somalia, Kenya and the United States. The Muslim Somali refugee is now a multimedia artist and educator in Minnesota.
  • Kimberlee Joy Roth, a former physics and science teacher who has spent time in several European countries and Israel, is a ceramic artist living in Minneapolis.
  • Helen Zughaib, a native of Beirut, Lebanon, currently lives and works in Washington, D.C.

The exhibition is generously supported in part by the Mary L. Nohl Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.


Spectacular Vernacular, 11/03/2018 - 03/02/2019

Spectacular Vernacular totemDates: November 3, 2018 – March 2, 2019
Location: Brooks Stevens Gallery
Reception: Thursday, November 8, 6 – 8 p.m.
Special programming: Curators Panel Discussion moderated by Monica Obniski of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Tuesday, November 27, 7 p.m.

Besides being useful, and perhaps even beautiful, what else should designed objects do? Spectacular Vernacular takes you on a journey through observation, experimentation and speculation to reveal how the creators mix their craft and industrial design backgrounds with influences from fiction, science and the arts. Explore the rhetorical and practical opportunities of designed objects, encouraging a broadening of the conventional definition of the designer’s role.

The exhibition features work by the design studio Parsons & Charlesworth, founded by British husband and wife Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth.


Steel Genesis: Sandra Gould Ford, 10/19/2018 - 12/08/2018
Sandra Gould Ford, photographed by LaToya Ruby Frazier

Sandra Gould Ford, photographed by LaToya Ruby Frazier

Dates: October 19 – December 8, 2018
Location: Frederick Layton Gallery
Reception: October 19, 2018, 5 – 9 p.m. (Fall Gallery Night)

Special programming: “The Mill as Metaphor: Art, Storytelling and Change,” a panel discussion featuring Sandra Gould Ford and guests including Ariel Pate, associate curator of photography at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Bill Breihan form the United Steelworkers, Monday, November 26, 6 p.m. in the Frederick Layton Gallery.

Through the photographs, writings and documents of artist and writer Sandra Gould Ford, this exhibition explores the history, memory and experiences of the industrial working class as well as the economic and social loss suffered when an area’s defining industry declines. Ford’s photographic work, which she produced during and after her employment at one of the Pittsburgh area’s oldest and largest steel mills, creates a vibrant conversation with her subject, capturing the nuanced links between place, time, memory, work and creativity. The exhibition also features several works by LaToya Ruby Frazier, produced during a recent collaborative exhibition project between the two photographers.


Mathew Hintz: Spirit of the Open Road, 08/08/2018 - 10/20/2018

Motorcycle artwork from Spirit of the Open RoadDates: August 8 – October 20, 2018
Location: Brooks Stevens Gallery
Reception: August 23, 2018, 6 – 8 p.m.

Special gallery hours: Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s 115th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee is during Labor Day weekend. During this celebration, MIAD’s Galleries are open to the public Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 2, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The exhibit will be closed on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 3).

Mathew Hintz ’98 (Painting) is a MIAD alum who died unexpectedly in December 2017. His passion for motorcycles and transportation design was sparked in 1998 during an internship in Styling & Graphic Design at the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Hintz was one of only a few licensed Harley-Davidson Artists worldwide, producing works sold through Harley-Davidson dealerships and original cover art featured on Harley-Davidson Owner Manuals. Throughout his career, Hintz also was licensed to produce artwork for Ford Images and created original work for Steiner Sports. His works in the exhibition are for sale. Proceeds will help support his family. Harley-Davidson Motor Company celebrates its 115th Anniversary Aug. 29 – Sept. 3, 2018.


MIAD Faculty Exhibition, 08/20/2018 - 10/06/2018

Dates: August 20 – October 6, 2018
Location: Frederick Layton Gallery
Reception: September 6, 2018, 6 – 8 p.m.

This biannual exhibition showcases the accomplished and highly respected art and design faculty from all disciplines – Communication Design, Illustration, Fine Arts, Industrial Design and Interior Architecture and Design – at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.


MIAD 2018 Juried Senior Exhibition, 06/02/2018 - 08/04/2018
MacKenzie Pankey '18

MacKenzie Pankey ’18

Dates: June 2 – August 4, 2018
Location: Frederick Layton Gallery

View the best of the 2018 Senior Exhibition in the annual juried exhibition, showcasing MIAD art and design works selected by MIAD faculty.


Animals in Space: A Collective Memoir, 06/30/2018 - 07/28/2018
Artwork from Animals in Space exhibit

A Palpable Shiver of the Brain by Anna Foran

Dates: June 30 – July 28, 2018
Location: Brooks Stevens Gallery

Special programming:

Through a mixture of media, emerging artists Malika Bukhari, Anna Foran, Zoe Greenham, Natasha Mijares and Rebecca Nakaba investigate similarities and differences between humans and animals in processing information, material and memory, as well as explore the relationships to space for humans and animals. The exhibition is curated by Natasha Mijares and Rebecca Nakaba.


High School Invitational: Teachers' Selections, 05/29/2018 - 06/16/2018

Dates: May 29 – June 16, 2018
Location: Brooks Stevens Gallery
Reception: June 2, 2 – 4 p.m.

Artwork by high school student

And Smell Me Flowers by Olivia Vazquez

High School Invitational: Teachers’ Selections is a celebration of local high school art students and their Visual Art programs. The exhibition features teachers’ selections of student work from 10 area high schools including Brookfield Central, Golda Meir, Grafton, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Pius XI, Port Washington, Ronald Reagan, Rufus King, St. Thomas More, and Wauwatosa East. This work serves as a sampling of diverse projects created over the past school year and the 28 students employ a variety of media including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, illustration, fibers, metalworking, and mixed media.


MIAD 2018 Senior Exhibition, 04/20/2018 - 05/12/2018

Dates: April 20 – May 12, 2018
Location: All MIAD galleries
Receptions: April 18 (Preview) & April 20 (Spring Gallery Night)

See the innovative work of emerging creative professionals who passionately contribute to the world and meet universal challenges in new ways at MIAD’s annual Senior Exhibition. MIAD’s Senior Exhibition, Wisconsin’s largest exhibition of its kind, features more than 100 artists and designers representing all of MIAD’s Bachelor of Fine Arts majors and minors, including:

  • Communication Design (Graphic + Web)
  • Illustration
  • Industrial (Product) Design
  • Interior Architecture and Design 
  • New Studio Practice: Fine Arts (Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography, Animation + Digital Video)

Cultural heritage and identity, acceptance and inclusion, innovation, women’s empowerment and improving wellness are themes featured in this year’s exhibition.

Generously sponsored by:
BMO Harris Bank logo

Opening reception 2017 Senior Exhibition

Opening reception 2017 Senior Exhibition

Humanly Possible: The Empathy Exhibition, 01/12/2018 - 03/10/2018


Dates: January 12, 2018 – March 10, 2018
Location: Frederick Layton Gallery
Reception: January 19 (Winter Gallery Night), 5 – 9 p.m.

empathy exhibition

“Ben,” 2014 from Androgyny Series, photograph by Lois Bielefeld

Empathy is possible because we are human. Because we are human we can choose whether to exercise it or not. It is this human potential that we hope to encourage by bringing together the artists and their work in this exhibition. The current polarized political and cultural landscape we live in has created an urgency and relevance for the consideration and understanding of this human trait that represents the best of what we can aspire to. This exhibition brings together over a dozen artists of diverse perspectives from around the country to create a dialogue on this general topic. “Humanly Possible: The Empathy Exhibition” is sponsored in part by the Mary L. Nohl Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Special programming:

  • February 1, 6 p.m.: Empathy Through the Visual Arts: An Artist’s Discussion
  • February 15, 7 p.m.: Empathy, Connections and Borders: An Evening of Poetry and Storytelling
  • March 1, 7 p.m.: 100 Lullabies (Lullaby Songs for Refugees)

Learn more about the exhibition programming.


Chair 5: Perspectives on Form, Function and Innovation, 10/20/2017 - 03/03/2018
Dates: October 20, 2017 – March 3, 2018
Location: Brook Stevens Gallery
Opening reception: October 20, 2017, 5 – 9 p.m.
Special programming:

All programming is generously sponsored by the Caxambas Foundation. Learn more about each of the programming events

Chair5 logo“Chair5: Perspectives on Form, Function and Innovation,” a highly interactive and experimental furniture exhibition co-produced by the Chipstone Foundation and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). This exhibition introduces myriad ways to think about chairs, “chairness” and the physical act of sitting. Five distinctive exhibit spaces showcase historic, reproduction and contemporary seating furniture forms.
The exhibition offers opportunities for physical interaction and considerations of each chair’s function, design and concept. Highlights include:

  • an opportunity to sit in a series of seating forms to explore how posture has evolved.
  • a period room where chairs hang on the wall as they did in Shaker times, and where visitors can take a seat off the wall—literally—to try it out.
  • chairs by contemporary furniture designers and builders—including Mike Jarvi, Peter Opsvik, Herman Miller, Gustav Stickley, Gerritt Rietveldt and Jennifer Anderson—who take the concept of the chair beyond form and function.

This multidimensional approach to thinking about chairs is integral to MIAD’s new Furniture Design program, including an innovative furniture design class taught by Chair5 primary exhibit designer Brent Budsberg. chair5

Dyadic Slice, office furniture prototype. Photograph courtesy of Steelcase Corporation.


FANTASTIC: Four Contemporary Illustration Artists, 10/01/2017 - 12/02/2017

Dates: October 20 – December 2, 2017

Location: Frederick Layton Gallery

Opening reception: October 20, 2017, 5 – 9 p.m.

Special programming: Public talk <by Henrik Drescher and Frances Jetter, November 9, 7 p.m. FANTASTIC logoExtra-terrestrial. Political. Animalistic. Festive. While the illustrations in the newest exhibition on view at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) cover divergent themes across a range of platforms, their exploration of media connects them and enriches their messages. “FANTASTIC: Four Contemporary Illustration Artists” features the work of renowned artists Henrik Drescher, Frances Jetter, Katherine Streeter and Carl Dunn. While their work has been commissioned for newspapers and magazines for years, these artists have proven themselves equally adept at responding to assignments from clients and initiating their own projects to express their unique visions through painting, book arts, printmaking, collage, sculpture and digital animations. Henrick Drescher


Henrick Drescher | Big Rock Candy Mountain Series Tempera, oil enamel, collage on linen canvas


User Experience: Products that Shape Our Lives, 10/21/2016 – 02/25/2017

image | MIAD

‘Lawn Boy’ mower ad

Some say life is what you make of it. The newest exhibit at MIAD asserts that, more simply, life is what you make.

User Experience: Products That Shape Our Lives, on view in the Brooks Stevens Gallery October 21 – February 25, focuses on the devices we use and how their design has evolved from inception through today.

The Opening Reception is Fall Gallery Night, Friday, October 21, 5 – 9 p.m.

Many devices were difficult and even dangerous to operate during the Industrial Revolution. With advancements in engineering, ergonomics and greater emotional awareness, products today are safe, user-friendly and powerful.

“This exhibit traces the history of how humanity has improved the tools it uses to make our lives easier, and our work safer and more successful,” said co-curator Mark Lawson.

Using MIAD’s extensive product design collection and in collaboration with Milwaukee Tool, User Experience highlights the ways in which a design-centric approach has transformed many products into the ones we love and rely upon today.

Visitors see devices ranging from Thomas Edison’s wax cylinder phonograph to iPods, General Electric’s first production monitor-top refrigerator to a new stainless steel Electrolux and much more.

The exhibit is co-curated by James Wiemer and Mark Lawson with art direction by Dale Shidler. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday.

Schedule a free gallery tour here.

Keep up with MIAD exhibit and event news.

Image: Lawn-Boy lawn mower ad; product designed by Brooks Stevens

Dan Friedman: Radical Modernist, 10/01/2016 – 12/03/2016

“What Dan brings to his work is an inspired vision, a conceptual approach toward ordering the diversity of visual material that one experiences.”

– Jeffrey Deitch, Hip-Hop Modernism

image | MIAD

Dan Friedman ‘The Wall’

Dan Friedman’s diversity of visual material is evident in Dan Friedman: Radical Modernist, on view October 1 – December 3 in the Frederick Layton Gallery, with an Opening Reception and Talk by exhibit designer Christopher Pullman Friday, September 30, 6 p.m.

Friedman, a design pioneer working across various media, sought to create, delight and engage with his designs, furniture and more. His legendary work is featured in this comprehensive exhibit, making its Midwest debut at MIAD.

Viewers experience his unique vision, and contributions to graphic design and the broader realm of the visual arts. Highlighted in the exhibit are Friedman’s groundbreaking typography, eccentric furniture and playfully-subversive 3D objects, which were integral to both American street culture and global experimental design.

image | MIAD

USA Table

Though an influential figure of the New York, Paris and Milan art scenes, his work has rarely been exhibited since his untimely death in 1995. As a design pioneer, Friedman explored conceptual limits across the media in which he worked.

He helped redefine graphic design as an art form in its own right, and his influence is seen today across the pop culture landscape. For these reasons and more, the American Institute of Graphic Arts posthumously awarded him an AIGA Medal in 2015.

Dan Friedman: Radical Modernist merges art, design and craft, and is curated by Steven Skov Holt and Mara Holt Skov, with the assistance of Christopher Pullman and the support of Ken Friedman.

Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Learn more about Friedman’s life and his 2015 AIGA Medal here.

Sign up for a free gallery tour today!

Stay up-to-date with MIAD exhibit & event news.

Image 1: Portrait of Dan Friedman photographed in front of The Wall, an assemblage
Image 2: Dan Friedman, USA Table, 1986, painted medium-density fiberboard and metal, 41 x 145 x 89 cm

MIAD Faculty Exhibition 2016, 08/22/2016 – 09/17/2016
fac exh 2016 web 1Dates: August 22 – September 17, 2016 Location: Frederick Layton Gallery The old adage “those who can’t do, teach” doesn’t have much traction at MIAD, where faculty members are exhibiting and working artists and designers. The biennial Faculty Exhibition offers a chance to experience faculty work in one incredible exhibit. Participating faculty include: Jared Patton Plock; Rina Yoon; Chris Beetow; Bruce Humphries; Zoë Darling; Nicholas Frank; Rosalie Beck; John Matson; Peter Barrikman; Christiane Grauers; Michael Presutti; Jeremy McDonnell; Cole Norton; Steve Horvath; Joe Boblick; Susan Estelle Kwas; Corbett Toomsen; Waldek Dynerman; Jon Horvath; Kim Miller; Matthew Lee; Leslie Fedorchuk; Naomi Shersty; Will Pergl; Jan Feldhausen; Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg; Bruce Grudzinski; Tom Noffsinger; and James Barany Image: Tom Noffsinger