NWMAC Art Exhibit at NCTC in Thief River Falls

In Recognition of Domestic Violence Month 

Northwest Minnesota Arts Council Gallery at NCTC in Thief River Falls

October 1- November 30

Artist Reception is Thursday, November 7 from 6-8 PM

Works featured by area artists Christine Foster and Stephanie Olson

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council (NWMAC) is pleased to announce an exhibition of painted portraits, stories and mixed media by Christine Foster and a jingle dress-inspired sculpture by Stephanie Olson. The art installation, Hope & Freedom: Survivors and Thrivers of Abuse, is now open through November 30 at the NWMAC Gallery at Northland College and Technical School in Thief River Falls.

“I had a vision to paint the stories of women who are survivors of mental, sexual, physical and/or spiritual abuse. I want to help victims who are in abuse situations currently or have been abused in the past to know that they are not alone, as well as to know that there is hope. I have incorporated both images and words in each woman’s portrait story. The story will share the pain along with the healing journey.”

Hope and Freedom: Survivors and Thrivers of Abuse

Christine Foster is an artist and teacher from Thief River Falls, MN. She received a $5,000 Artist Project Grant from NWMAC to create art in 2016 for her showcase, Hope & Freedom: Mending the Soul, which features paintings of women who have previously been abused and have since found help and redemption. The exhibit also features each woman’s story next to her painted portrait.

Work by Christine Foster

“Each woman has shared their life story with me through written form or conversation. They decided what imagery, symbols, colors and words will best speak of their life. Women did or did not want part of her portrait included. I left it up to each woman’s discretion as to how she would like her story portrayed. Each portrait story is a cooperative effort between the woman, the artwork and myself.

I envisioned using a variety of windows to display the portrait stories.  Windows are a symbol of the access to our souls.  The degree of openness will depend upon each woman and their healing journey.”

Works by Christine Foster

Thief River Falls Artist Stephanie Olson will display her jingle cone dress-inspired sculpture in this exhibit.

“The idea for this sculpture came to me in a dream. I am usually a painter, so it was unusual. But I decided to try, to see what could work.”

Stephanie Olson’s Jingle Cone-Inspired Sculpture

Influenced by traditional indigenous skirts, this sculpture was made of jingle cone beads, metal wire, hand-dyed cotton twine, leather lacing, feathers, and red paint to raise awareness and support for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Each jingle cone bead was sponsored, meaning each bead represents an effort toward the cause of supporting funds and increased awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women. Each jingle cone bead also bears a name, either the name of the sponsor or a name they chose in honor or memory. This sculpture was able to raise over $500 for the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center.

Jingle cones used for Stephanie Olson’s sculpture

“I am hopeful that this sculpture will continue to raise awareness for MMIW. It can also serve as a symbol for unity, for community intention.”

A disproportionate number of Native American women and girls are missing or murdered each year. This national epidemic has started to receive more attention. In Minnesota, the state recently launched a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Task Force to study the issue and make recommendations to address the problem. You can learn more about this issue at this powerful exhibit.

Meet Christine and Stephanie at the Artist Reception on Thursday, November 7 from 6 to 8 PM.

The NWMAC Gallery is located at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls. The gallery hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30-5 PM and at other times when events are held at the college. Enter through Door B. Visitor parking is free in front of the business office.

For more information about our exhibits look to our website at www.NWArtsCouncil.org, or if you are an artist interested in exhibiting a body of work with NWMAC, please contact Kelsey at (218) 688-1256 or email NWArtsCouncil@gmail.com.  This exhibit is made possible with funding from The McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis and the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in Minnesota to the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council.  Please sign up for our e-newsletter on our website home page to see the latest news and grant announcements.  Email director@NWArtsCouncil.org or call 218-745-9111 to reach our office during regular business hours.