The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 3, 2013

Jail letters: Mankato artist Dana Sikkila starts blog about experience



Despite her taste for personal privacy, Sikkila said she chose to pursue the project as a way to learn more about herself as well as change perceptions.

“When you hear that someone is in jail, it’s easy to just think they are a horrible person,” she said. “And that may not necessarily be true.”

What’s true about Sikkila is that she owns a master’s degree from Minnesota State University and is a talented artist with a host of exhibition credits to her name.

While friends and fellow MSU classmates were eager to leave Mankato after graduation, Sikkila stayed. She runs the 410 Project art gallery and teaches art classes. She likes Mankato, and feels proud to contribute to the fabric of the community.

Yet, she admits she’s nervous about the reaction to her blog. She said she’s prepared for the criticism that may come and is hoping that readers will understand her motivation.

“I think it takes some guts to admit I did something wrong,” she said. “I want to turn it into something I can grow from, as a person and as an artist.”

As for the name of the blog, Sikkila said she’s terrible at playing darts. The title is a reference to her observation that sometimes she’ll hit a bullseye; then, using the exact same technique on the next throw, she’ll hit a 2.

Similarly, January will be a month of highs and lows for Sikkila. After she’s released from jail, she’ll have just four days to prepare for the Jan. 18 opening of the 410 Project’s collaborative show with Landlocked magazine.

“I’ve got a lot of big things in January,” she said. “Bad and good.”

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