Can the College of Visual Arts Be Saved?

The Twin Cities revolve around creative people. New art exhibits, bands, plays, and designers are critical to keeping the region flourishing with artistic culture, but what happens when the hosts of these creative types close? The College of Visual Arts in St. Paul has been educating the region’s newest artists for 89 years, but all of that is about to change.

CVA is planning on closing their doors this June unless they secure the necessary funding to keep educating and igniting creativity in its 200 students.

A dedicated community of CVA alum, students, staff, and faculty organized quickly to form the CVA Action Committee, a group whose goal is to find alternative solutions to the school closing.

Jeremy Szopinski, CVA alumnus and the Vice President for Community Affairs for CVA Action, says they hope to not only raise $3 million within the next six months, but also to create a turnaround plan for the school to prevent this from happening again. “We can’t just throw money at the school and expect a quick fix,” Szopinski says. “We are looking at ways the school could increase enrollment, engage in the community better, and cut costs.”

One way they hope to raise funds is through a benefit taking place Friday, March 1, at Amsterdam Bar and Hall. The benefit includes listening to local music, provided by CVA alumni, and a raffle in which you can win artwork—all for just $10.

Two local bands, The Roe Family Singers and the Tim Malloys, feel passionate about keeping CVA open for years to come. The Roe Family Singers hail from Kirkwood Hollow, a small town at the Mississippi headwaters in northern Minnesota. Their music is best described as “hillbilly folk” while blending an old-time sound with modern-rock influences. The band is led by husband and wife duo, Quillan and Kim Roe.

The Tim Malloys are a five-piece Irish and Scottish fusion rock band that started in 1994 in the Twin Cities. Neil Johnston, the founding member of the Tim Malloys, graduated from CVA in 1998. Johnston believes that CVA is an integral part of the St. Paul creative community. “They provide creative graduates that often stay, work, and volunteer in the Twin Cities,” he says. “CVA helped my career as a musician, but also in the concept that ideas can manifest in many forms. I use creativity to navigate and participate in the world; it was the thoughtful instructors at CVA that introduced me to this, and it is how I approach living.”

If you can’t attend the benefit but want still want to support CVA, visit  

Benefit to save the College of Visual Arts
Amsterdam Bar and Hall
7-9:30 p.m. Friday, March 1
Sixth and Wabasha St., St. Paul, 612-285-3112