Jeanne Griffin O’Neil of East Grand Forks is a multi-faceted artist whose interests cross over media lines, and whose recent goals were reached through a grant from the McKnight Foundation and the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council.
Jeanne, whose fine intaglio prints evoke nostalgic comfort, began her career as a mural artist in the 1970’s in Ames, Iowa, where she painted over thirty murals. Since the 1980’s as a member of the musical O’Neil family, Jeanne has performed Bluegrass and Old-time music playing the concertina and banjo, and clogging at numerous fairs, dances, and special events. These “old-time” arts have now woven their inspiration into Jeanne’s visual arts where she envisions her familiar rural settings through prints and lino-cuts with a runic look..
A life-long interest in children’s book illustration led O’Neil to her recent project: a book created page-by-page, setting the text of her own story, incorporating her original lino-cut prints. To see her project completed, Jeanne came to the Arts Council with a grant proposal, and was selected to receive an Adult Fellowship grant through the McKnight Foundation.
Prompted by the financial help she received, Jeanne’s dream became reality in May, 2012, when she exhibited framed prints of her book’s pages at the Third Street Gallery in Grand Forks, ND. The grant made possible O’Neil’s ability to attend a book arts class in Minneapolis, MN and to obtain the special materials necessary to complete her book. She was able to fulfill another facet of her many-sided artistic persona, thanks to the generous McKnight grant and the NWMAC.