Of the Year Award Winners Announced

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is Pleased to Announce
Of the Year Award Winners

Three awards are given each year to recognize artists and arts advocates within our seven county region who stand out in terms of artistry or volunteerism in the arts. Many times people serve in both roles. Of the Year Award winners were nominated by area residents.

2020 Of the Year Award Winners include:

Rob Burkel of Thief River Falls will be awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award for theater arts. Rob has been involved in theater in the Thief River Falls area for 30 years. His dedication and talent is well known and admired. Our Artist of the Year award can be given to any discipline artist including visual, performing, or creative writing who are emerging or at a mid-way point in their artistic endeavors. It is a cash award of $500.00.

NW Artist of the Year Rob Burkel in The Boys Next Door

Bruce Piersol of Red Lake Falls will be awarded the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year Award. Mr. Piersol is a musician and a strong advocate for the arts. He has performed and organized numerous musical groups bringing music to people who otherwise might not be able to experience it. Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is $500 and includes arts from all disciplines.

NW Arts Advocate of the Year Bruce Piersol

Joe Wavra of Red Lake Falls will receive the Northwest Star Award. Mr. Wavra is a self-taught wood carver, creating life-size animals, Vikings, and trolls with a chainsaw. His carvings can be found throughout the area. This award comes with $5,000. Artists can only receive our Northwest Star Award once as a lifetime achievement award.

NW Star Award Winner Joe Wavra

These awards will be presented on Tuesday, August 18 in Red Lake Falls. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, our celebration of these wonderful artists and leaders in our area will be limited to close friends and family.

Funding for Northwest Star and Northwest Artist of the Year comes from The McKnight Foundation. Funding for Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year comes from the Minnesota State Legislature.