Northwest Artist of the Year Award Given to Rob Burkel

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is pleased to announce that Rob Burkel of Thief River Falls has been awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award. Burkel is a talented actor in our area. 

Artist of the Year Rob Burkel

Rob Burkel has served as Thief River Falls Area Community Theater’s (TRFACT) board President, and directed, produced, acted in numerous theatrical productions in Thief River Falls and the area. He’s also been a TRFACT Radio Readers Theater cast member and a Lincoln High School Speech Team Coach and One Act Play Director. He sits on the Northwest Regional Library Board and has been the force behind bringing the Fargo-Moorhead Opera to Thief River Falls the past 2 years.

According to TRFACT Director Jane Anderson, Burkel is “the backbone of our local theater. His decades of hard work, phenomenal talent and dedication to theater arts, make him truly deserving of this award. In every capacity, Rob is an asset to the theater. Rob’s greatest contribution to the theater is his ability to act and bring characters to life.”

Director Teresa McGriff described Burkel as “one of the most prepared actors I have ever worked with. He’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and pitch in. He’s a real team player — upstanding but kind and fun as well. People want to be in shows with him because he is fun to work with. Audiences want to come and see him in shows, as well, because he is well-liked and respected. When auditions are held, he is one of the ones I hope to see walking into the room and that is one of the highest compliments a director can give.”

Fellow actor Scott Pream said,” Rob’s insight into his character portrayal is only topped by his willingness to help his fellow actors become the best they can be. He is a great leader willing to help in any way he can.”

When asked about the impact of the arts on individuals or society, Burkel explained that “theater and art are at their best when they force you to think. If forcing you to think makes you uncomfortable, even better. Art should change who you are going forward and make you a better person. There should be a balance between that and fun and silly. There’s a role for humor, too.”

The Northwest Artist of the Year Award is given each year to recognize artists within our seven-county region who stand out in terms of artistry. This 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. “Of the Year” Award winners were nominated by area residents and comes with a cash award of $500.00. Funding for the Northwest Artist of the Year comes from the McKnight Foundation. 

Congratulations, Rob Burkel on being named the Artist of the Year!