Our Board Members

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council counts on a team of people passionate about the arts to help us make decisions from programs we run to grants we approve.  Here are the 2017 board members:

NWMAC Board members: left to right- Connie Nelson, Elwyn Ruud, Mary Ann Laxen and Faye Auchenpaugh. Not pictured: Eryn Gee Killough, Charles Erickson, Briana Ingraham, Stephanie Olson, Elizabeth Rockstad and Jane Anderson.
Mary Ann Laxen lives in East Grand Forks and she is the representative for Polk County.  She writes:
“My Foray into the world of art didn’t begin until I was in my 50’s.  Before that I was immersed in the world of health care administration. What began as a way to relax and unwind became for me, a world of art and creativity.”
Mary Ann was one of the founders of River Walk Arts Gallery and Gift Shop in East Grand Forks.  She served on the board, exhibited and sold photography note cards, and charcoal drawings.
Mary Ann says about being a Northwest Minnesota Arts Council Board Member,
Because I believe that the arts should be available to all ages, I have agreed and value serving on the Board.  I am living proof that “we are never too old try something new!”
And she truly is living proof of that sentiment!  At the age of 65 Mary Ann went sky diving and when she was 70, she went paragliding off the Swiss Alps!



Who am I? I am trying to be retired and not succeeding. I work as the facilitator for the Northwest Minnesota Council of Collaboratives, serve on several boards, am a church organist, a carpenter and woodworker, do sewing and upholstery, love to read, am of 100% Norwegian descent, love to travel, and as a grant writer I have brought over $16 million to the region. I have been to Norway seven times in the last 12 years and have traveled to many other countries as well.
Where do I live? On a farm southeast of Thief River Falls. My late husband and I came back and bought the family farm in 1997 after we went through a terrible hurricane while living in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
My art medium?  Music, design (architectural, interior and landscape)
Why you got involved? Part of it was curiosity and part was a desire to give back to the community
What has your experience been?  Absolutely fantastic! It has broadened my knowledge of artists in the region and keeps me aware of what is happening in each and every community.
Random fact:  My husband and I rebuilt a 34′ sailboat in Baltimore, Maryland over the course of four years, which we then sailed to the Caribbean and on which we lived for almost five years in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Connie Nelson
Charles Erickson hails from the Roseau area.  His main interest lays in theater, but he enjoys all forms of art.  He was asked by the county commissioners to serve on the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council and this is his second term.
He enjoys seeing arts being produced through out the different regions and likes to see how much of it is funded by the arts council.
He is rarely seen without a book or his Kindle in hand, or at least, close by,








Serving Artists and Arts Organizations