Anna Orbovich


When MPA art teacher Renee Sonka attended a contemporary art and theory class at the University of Minnesota, she was thrilled to discover one of her former students as a teaching assistant. She was even more impressed with Anna Orbovich's '08 focus on the intersection of art and ecology, and the quality of her work.

Orbovich is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree and honing her skills in printmaking and metalwork. We caught up with her at a Minneapolis coffee shop, where she thoughtfully discussed her current focus, her MPA roots, and her artistic inspiration.

As she recalls, "I was introduced to linoleum block printmaking during a seventh grade art class at MPA. I had no idea that it was going to be such a prominent focus in my life, but I was hooked. Beyond that, the MPA environment encouraged cross-pollination amongst disciplines, which is still present in how I approach making work in the studio."

Orbovich's journey has not been a straight-line path, but she has purposefully woven each experience together. At MPA, her top interests were athletics (soccer, track and field, and basketball), followed by the arts. She chose to pursue the latter, attending the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. That smaller, tight-knit community reminded her of MPA and, although her family had always valued experiential learning and travel, it was there she developed a stronger love of nature. In particular, studying aerial photos of uninhabited wild places around the world sparked an interest in environmental

After college, Orbovich joined Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps, which inspired her passion for volunteering. This led to a three- month-long trip to Iceland, where she volunteered on a trail maintenance crew and spent time doing an artist's residency at the Gullkistan: Center for Creativity. Another AmeriCorps stint took her to Oregon's Cascade Mountains. All the while, she continued to draw, blend her love of nature with her printmaking craft, and build her voice as an artist.

At the same time, Orbovich was learning how to live on a minimal stipend and gaining a different perspective on life. "If someone is not absolutely sure what they want to do next, I'd highly recommend AmeriCorps. It's dedicated hard work in a wide variety of areas—you can choose to work in education, healthcare, environmental conservation, and more—but you make close friends and leave with a valuable education."

When it came time for graduate school, Orbovich chose the University of Minnesota, where she is challenging herself technically, toggling between working in paper and iron. As she draws on inspiration from "vast, barren, challenging, isolated, and monumental landscapes" she is working to communicate her interest in "the glacial paced process of geologic time and the direct and indirect influence humans have on wild environments." Orbovich elaborates, "Ultimately, I aim to speak up for the quiet wild places in this world."

Look for Orbovich's work to appear in April 2019 at her MFA thesis exhibition and visit her website: