Artist Story

I grew up in both southern California and southern Maine, and I'm now based in Minneapolis, MN. I was blessed with creative roots, raised by a mother who wore paint clothes more often than not and a father who always had a story in his pocket. 

I am a freelance artist and teaching artist. I began teaching in the arts in 2007, and was struck by the stories and healing that arose when people created together. The creative process was a container for vulnerability and truth telling, and the art we created was a means to amplify our stories. Since then, I’ve worked with people of all ages in different settings, analyzing power in dominant narratives and creating personal and collective narratives through visual art, writing, and theater.

I am part of two Minneapolis-based art collectives, Poligraphix and Studio Thalo, who strive to create art in the service of social justice movements. Together, we’ve painted over twenty live murals at events around the twin cities that center justice and healing. We share studio space, resources, and ideas.


In my personal art practice, I’ve created paintings, collages, and digital designs on commission over the last ten years. I work on a sliding scale, and prioritize doing pro-bono work for groups organizing for social justice. 

I recently received a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to create a body of work called Q’llage, a series of collages drawing connections between the resilience of queer communities and the resilience of plants. I’m drawing from my own experience and from forty interviews with local LGBTQ2IA+ folks about their “coming in” stories - how they are continuously coming into their truths around gender, sexuality, family, and love. The final series will be completed in the winter of 2020.

Please contact me at nellpierceart@gmail.com if you are interested in commissioning a piece or collaborating in some way.