Of The Year Award Winners

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council gives up to three awards each year.  This is based on the nominations that are received.  Our Northwest Artist of the Year award honors one artist that has been especially busy within their artform lately often as an emerging or mid-career artist.  Our Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year award honors someone who keeps being a voice and advocate for arts within community or local school or the region.  These awards are $500.00 cash.    

The Northwest Star Artist award started in 2013 to recognize one individual in our region for lifelong achievement.  This award is a substantial $5,000 cash award with McKnight Foundation funding.

Awards are only given if qualified individuals are nominated.  We were not always able to fund three awards.

“Northwest Star Artist” Winner List:  Lifetime achievement award


  • 2020 Northwest Star Artist: Joe Wavra, Red Lake Falls, wood carving
  • 2019 Northwest Star Artist: George French, Crookston, piano and organ music
  • 2018 Northwest Star Artist: James Kent, Crookston, in vocal music and community arts support
  • 2017 Northwest Star Artist: Annelee Woodstrom, Ada in writing
  • 2016 Northwest Star Artist: Barbara Geer, Middle River in performing arts
  • 2015 Northwest Star Artist: Karen Engevik, Roseau in pottery
  • 2014 Northwest Star Artist: LaVonne Forsberg, Thief River Falls, devotion and dedication to the arts
  • 2013 Northwest Star Artist: Jane Anderson, Thief River Falls in theater and singing

“Of the Year” Award Winner List

  • 2020 Arts Advocate: Bruce Piersol, Red Lake Falls
  • 2020 Artist: Rob Burkel, Thief River Falls, theater arts
  • 2019 Arts Advocate: Sherri Kukowski, Badger
  • 2019 Artist: Jean Honl, Roseau in rosemaling
  • 2018 Arts Advocate: Betsy Saurdiff, Grygla and Goodridge
  • 2018 Artist: Scott Pream, Thief River Falls, in acting
  • 2017 Arts Advocate:  Jane Vigness, Climax
  • 2017 Artist: Gayle Moen, Shelly,  in music
  • 2016 Arts Advocate: Julie Elick, Roseau
  • 2016 Artist: Beau Bakken, Hallock in painting
  • 2015 Arts Advocate: Jim and Jan Strandlie, Thief River Falls
  • 2015 Artist: Margaret Anderson, Lancaster in painting
  • 2014 Arts Advocate: KayDell Super, Middle River
  • 2014 Artist: Jessica Pribula, East Grand Forks, in textiles
  • 2013 Arts Advocate: Ric Sorenson, Fosston
  • 2012 Artist:  Nick Rietzel, Karlstad for visual art
  • 2012 Arts Advocate: Bob Wenzel, Warroad
  • 2011 Artist:  Sister Norma Jean Eide, Crookston for visual art
  • 2011 Arts Advocate: Anita Poss, East Grand Forks
  • 2010 Artist: Frances Karlsson, formerly of Roseau for visual art
  • 2010 Artist: Jean Ranstrom, Alvarado for visual art
  • 2009 Artist: Gary Stegman, Crookston for visual art
  • 2009 Arts Advocate: Honey Olson, Ada
  • 2008 Artist:  Bernie Wilebski, Kennedy for visual art
  • 2008 Arts Advocate:  Annette Hermansen, Roseau
  • 2007 Artist: Robin and Lorrie Foster of Red Lake Falls for pottery
  • 2007 Arts Advocate: LeRoy Hoekstra formerly of Kennedy
  • 2006 Artist: Audrey Sandal formerly of Lake Bronson for visual art
  • 2005 Artist: Gene Lysaker of Twin Valley for visual art
  • 2003 Artist:  Brent Radeke of Argyle for performing art
  • 2003 Arts Advocate:  Dr. James Thomasson of Mentor
  • 2002 Artist: Larry Damico of East Grand Forks for performing arts
  • 2002 Arts Advocate: Elwyn Ruud of Karlstad

Serving Artists and Arts Organizations