Tag Archives: Artists of NW Minnesota

We Are Water Exhibit at University of Minnesota Crookston

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council (NWMAC) welcomes you to visit the We Are Water Art Exhibit, now on display in Kiehle Auditorium at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Artworks were created by area residents during workshops that were held throughout the region this fall. Participants were encouraged to create using the theme “We Are Water” as inspiration. In a similar spirit to our Equality and Respect for All workshops, participants were provided a 12×12 canvas, supplies and instruction to create a piece of art around this theme. Water can be a source of recreation; it keeps us alive; it is used for daily life. Participants were encouraged to bring snippets or photographs or anything else they might want to use as material, medium, or inspiration.  The workshops and exhibit are part of a larger We Are Water MN project that spans the state of Minnesota.

To view the We Are Water Art Exhibit, please visit UMC any weekday.

On Friday, January 25 an artist’s reception was held to view the canvases and other works in the statewide We Are Water MN project.  Ten years of Clean Water, Land and Legacy funding (Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008) was also celebrated with special guest speakers.

About We Are Water MN: West Polk County Soil and Water District in Crookston was selected to host the impressive We Are Water MN traveling exhibit from January 20 to March 4, 2019. Other sites include St. Paul, Bemidji, Duluth, Austin, Northfield, Grand Rapids and Onamia. The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council worked in collaboration with leaders in Crookston to compliment this family friendly, interactive Humanities Commission exhibit with our own local art creations.

What is the We Are Water MN traveling exhibit?

West Polk County Soil and Water District in Crookston was selected to host the impressive We Are Water MN traveling exhibit from January 20 to March 4, 2019.  Other sites include St Paul, Bemidji, Duluth, Austin, Northfield, Grand Rapids and Onamia.  

We Are Water MN explores the connections between the humanities and water through an exhibit, public events and educator resources. Visitors reflect on local stories and the meaning and experiences of water in Minnesota with space to add their own stories. By creating relationships around water, we are creating networks that can promote positive social norms, and share a vision for and participate in water stewardship. The website on We Are Water MN shares stories from people in Minnesota relating to this theme.  To read these stories visit  https://mnhum.org/we-are-water-mn/

Visit West Polk Soil and Water District’s website to watch for more on this exhibit coming to Crookston at https://www.westpolkswcd.com/we-are-water.html

Parking is free. There are several spaces marked visitor parking on west side of Kiehle. During evening events  there is no ticketing in any parking lot. 

Artist Story: Liesa Brateng Hanson ~ Mittens & More

Sarah Meisinger, Owner of En Liten Svensk (A Little Swedish) Shoppe in Roseau, wrote this blog post about area Artist Liesa Brateng Hanson. You can see Liesa’s work at En Liten Svensk Shoppe.

I have a confession to make.  

When I was a young girl looking up to the older kids as my role models, I secretly admired our multi-talented artist for this month’s feature.  If you grew up in Northern Minnesota in the ’80s or you followed Roseau athletics, you are very familiar with Liesa.  I expect that when she reads this, she will respond in the most humble way, waving off any attention or accolades.  It’s clear to those that know her, she has many talents which include sewing and design.  Liesa is a gifted seamstress and her fabric choices are always eclectic, charming & beautiful! I’m so thrilled that our love of Roseau has brought us back together through our collaboration at the Shoppe.

 (A sampling of Liesa’s Minky blankets & bibs at the Shoppe ~ adorable and sooo soft!)

 (Some of Liesa’s most recent sweater mitten creations.)

For January’s artist story feature, I asked Liesa a few questions about her creative journey and what inspires her.  Here’s what she had to say:

S: When did you start creating?  Who are your teachers and what inspires you?

Liesa: I started creating things when I was quite young.  Growing up on a farm in the wintertime you learn to find things to pass the time. There wasn’t much for TV service during my elementary years and we did not have all the technology gadgets that keep our youth entertained today.  So you found ways to keep yourself busy. Some of my creative genes I come by naturally.  I grew up with parents and grandparents that were always making things. My grandma Phyllis and my mother were always knitting or sewing something. Phyllis had a special design that she created for mittens.  Must be why I like to make mittens 🙂 My dad is also a crafter. He weaves rugs out of recycled fabrics. It’s a skill that is on my bucket list and hope to learn in the next few years. There was always some type of crafting project around the house.  For Christmas it was guaranteed that at least one of your presents would be homemade.

 (More recycled sweater mittens ~ charming & functional!)

Liesa: I have dabbled in several crafts like knitting & crocheting, but my favorite activity today is sewing. The funny thing is my mother had a heck of time to get me to sit down at the sewing machine to even learn how to sew when I was younger. I would rather be out in the barn feeding the cows and brushing my horses.  Maybe I don’t recall all my youthful memories quite correctly, but I believe my mom threatened me into sewing.  One of my all time favorite things to do was showing my cows and horses at the Roseau County Fair. Every summer that was the big event and you couldn’t wait for it to happen. Basically my mom said if I’m going to bring my animals to the fair I also had to take part in the sewing exhibits, too.  So yes, I painfully worked on 4-H sewing projects. Even worse, I had to wear the clothing I created in a clothing show! Looking back now I have to laugh at those memories, but also thank you mom for making me learn how to sew.

S: What’s your favorite part of the creative process?

Liesa: I am always constantly thinking of ways to make things better.  Often times I see things out there that I really like, but then think, ‘hey, this would be really cute if you added a pocket, or these colors would look nice together for that design.’ I find it fun and rewarding to take something and re-purpose it.  It kind of feels like Christmas when you can’t wait to see what is in your present. When making my crafts, it is exciting mixing and matching colors and coming up with new designs. Once I make choices, I can’t wait to see what the final product looks like.  

(Minky Blankets are a favorite for gift-givers, especially aunts and grandmothers!) 

S: Are there things you’ve created that are your favorites?  If so, what are they?

Liesa: My favorite thing to make is hockey sock mittens. I like putting colors together for local teams.  Hockey moms love to show their team spirit.  I have several pairs that I have made for myself, mostly in East Grand Forks colors. However, my new favorite is maroon and gold so I can cheer for our daughter and her teammates on the Concordia hockey team.

 (Hockey sock mittens always grab customer’s attention ~ truly creative!)

S: Do you have any other creative projects planned?

Liesa: After the mitten season I plan to design and create yoga bags.  I worked on a few this summer and it was a lot of fun mixing and matching colors.  Not only do I want them to be attractive, I want them to be functional. I have a few new design ideas that I can’t wait to try!

(side note: Liesa created a yoga bag for me last summer & I love it!)

S: Anything else you’d like to share?

Liesa: I have been a Social Studies teacher and coach for over 25 year in East Grand Forks. My husband Roger is also a teacher in East Grand Forks and we have three daughters. Emily our oldest is in her last semester of RN schooling, Tessa is at UND working on her secondary education degree and Tiffany is a Concordia student plans on teaching elementary school.  

Thanks, Sarah for sharing your blog post with us!