Connie Nelson Receives Northwest Artist of the Year Award

Northwest Artist of the Year is Connie Nelson of Hallock

NWMAC Director Mara Hanel, Artist of the Year Connie Nelson, NWMAC Board Chair Katya Zepeda
A group of women posing for a picture

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The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is pleased to announce that Connie Nelson of Hallock has been awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award. Nelson is a talented visual artist and performer in our area.  The award was presented in Warroad on August 26.

Connie has a strong history in the arts. She organized and exhibited at the Hallock Art & Wine Walk. She painted numerous murals including ones for the City of Kennedy, C&M Ford, the Hallock Telephone building, Two River Golf Clubhouse, the City of Hallock, personal commissions, and others in progress. She has exhibited art in many NWMAC exhibits and has an enhanced artist listing with the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council. 

Connie has also been active in the theater arts. She acted, directed, or designed sets for numerous performances in the Hallock Community Theater, Stephen Community Theater, 42nd Street Theater in Kennedy, Murder Mystery Dinner Theater in Santa Rosa, California, Always Patsy, Sod House Production of Enemy of the People, and the Kittson Central One-Act Play. 

Connie’s community and regional involvement includes serving on the NWMAC Board of Directors, 42ndStreet Theater Board of Directors, International Theater Festival Board of Directors, Hallock Community Theater Board of Directors, Cornerstone food pantry volunteer, City of Hallock Strategic Planning Committee, and Ladies Golf League Treasurer.

According to Hallock Main Street Board Member and Hallock Business Owner Cheri Reese, “Connie captures the quirkiness and warmth that IS Hallock – both in her art and her approach to making it. She brings something playful and unexpected to her projects that very much appeals to people across the spectrum — she makes the familiar fun again.”

Artist Advocate Ann Novacek, Artist of the Year Connie Nelson, NW Star Award Winner Donald Kakaygeesick

The late Kay Rosengren, who served on the NWMAC Board with Nelson and lived in Hallock described her as “an outstanding muralist. There are many places where Connie has brightened both interior and exterior surfaces. She approaches each endeavor with enthusiasm, originality and careful planning.” She went on to say that Connie’s stage presence is “a treat for her audience.”

Fellow actor Tom Silewski said, ”Connie is a ray of sunshine. You can have 100 people on stage and she’s the one who will stand out. She has a glow about her that catches everyone’s eye. There’s only one Connie. She’s unique – she’s talented at art, singing, acting and she can climb a telephone pole.”

When asked about the impact of the arts on individuals or society, Nelson explained that “the arts in general have a lot of purposes. There’s the entertainment factor, but there are some things in visual arts, theater arts, or writing that can really make you stop and think about serious issues. The arts can make you more introspective and really enrich your life. They help you get to know who you are.”

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, Connie Nelson on being named the Artist of the Year!