2013 Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year
Ric Sorenson of Fosston
“When Ric Sorenson began his teaching career in the Fosston School District over 40 years ago, he brought to Fosston not only his gift of teaching, but his gift of fine art,” writes Bonnie Stewart in her nomination letter. Ric served as the chair of our Northwest Minnesota Arts Council for over a decade. He brought a deep appreciation for all the arts. His outstanding leadership helped increase the quantity of art in our Northwest area without diminishing the quality.
Ric often served as a mentor to high school students. One of his former students Caleb Curfman writes, “Ric inspired me through examples of his work and also the stories he tells. He has a way of relating to people through these stories about his life and he always had one for every conversation.” Ric coordinated the Sorenson Gallery space at the Library and Art Center in Fosston, so his students often had the unique opportunity to have a one person show in the upper gallery. He also went the extra step to field trip with students to galleries.
“During the years I taught art in Kittson Central, Ric Sorenson was the one person we all admired and looked to for direction. He was a leader, and always had projects in the works which furthered the goals we all espoused but didn’t necessarily achieve. Ric did what we hoped to do.” writes Kay Rosengren of Hallock.
Cyndee Hoialmen writes, “In the beginning of Art Center days, there were many who were willing to help but few of us actually had an “arts’ background. Ric generously shared his knowledge, experience, and injected high standards into all that we did.” Ric insisted that the gallery space be free of bookshelves and other distracters; that only displayed art should be there. Cyndee states, “He won. WE won!”
“He taught us how to hang artwork and display sculptures on boxes, that he insisted we needed. It was all about being the best despite the size and location of the art center. With his education, we were able to successfully apply for and receive tens of thousands of dollars in grant funding over the course of several years.”
Ric opened up the world of art to his students and provided knowledge that they take with them through life. His strong arts advocacy leaves behind a legacy in Fosston and our region. It is an honor to recognize him as our Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year.