Designated by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 names the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the field of arts education and its supporters joins together in communities across the country to tell the story of the transformative power of the arts in education.
In 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law and its many arts-friendly provisions began to take effect. Recently, Congress and the Administration, proposed drastic cuts to the authorized funding for these arts-friendly measures. Sign the petition to U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVosto encourage her to take action in ensuring equitable access to arts education so that every student in America succeeds.
In 2018, it is a particularly important time to celebrate arts education as we face the challenges in Washington and through states around the nation in fully realizing the goal of equitable access to arts education for every student.
This fall, our municipal, education and state leaders are engaged in planning, budgeting, and enacting of laws which will impact arts education. They need to know about the impact the arts have on young peoples’ lives and that they must support the arts in every community and every school in America. Click to send a customizable letter to the editor of your local paper now to tell them how and why the arts matter in education!
After taking your actions, you can join the movement of thousands of arts education advocates celebrating National Arts in Education Week. There are a number of others ways you can participate through social media. Take part in the visibility campaign during the week of September 9-15, 2018 by using the hashtag, #BecauseOfArtsEd. People from all walks of life can share their story of the transformative power of the arts in their own education and the impact the arts have had on their work and life.
Post on Facebook. Tell the world #BecauseOfArtsEd story on Facebook. Let us know what you are doing now in work and life and how arts education has a positive impact with a photo! Be sure to use #ArtsEdWeek, too.
Send a tweet. Share your quick #BecauseOfArtsEd story on Twitter. Be sure to include an image or video along with #ArtsEdWeek.
Share a photo. Post your favorite arts education photo on Instagram along with your #BecauseOfArtsEd story about the impact of arts education on your life. Be sure to use #ArtsEdWeek.
This blog post about Artist and NWMAC Board Member Janet Johnson is written by Sarah Meisinger, Owner of En Liten Svensk (A Little Swedish) Shoppe in Roseau. You can read this and other blog entries at https://www.alittleswedishshoppe.com/blog.
Artist Story – Janet Johnson of River’s Edge Studio
July 1, 2018
I asked Janet several questions to help me kick off the Artist Story Series on the Blog. Here’s Janet’s story, in her own words.
Little did I know as a child growing up in Williams, Minnesota, that I would one day have my own studio and would be selling my art and showing it in a gallery! After all, our little school which didn’t even offer kindergarten back in the day, and never had an art teacher. I had no idea I was interested in or had any talents in art until I took my first art class in college as a general ed credit, and just kept going. I was determined to teach English at the time, but earned my teaching certificate in both English and Art. Teaching English at a high school level and raising three daughters left little time for me to pursue my art interests, but in the middle of my career, a year after a life changing event, I was asked to teach middle school art. I said no several times because I felt that I had nothing left to give. I finally took that chance, and that has made all the difference in my life!
Doors opened for opportunities that helped me grow as a person and as an artist. People on a statewide level actually valued my input and it amazed me. My confidence grew. My connections with other artists developed.
Because I had left my art in the shadow for so long, I had to scramble to catch up in order to teach middle school students. I hit the books and the internet and talked to other artists and art teachers. I found that giving kids basic skills and then stepping back to let them develop their own artistic voice was very successful—and joyful! By the time I retired in 2013, my high school students were winning awards and being showcased at the state level and in regional competitions. My own art was improving as well, because I was constantly studying and practicing and exploring different methods and mediums in order to pique the interest of my students.
My art studio, which I developed after my husband and I built a new house shows evidence of my zest to learn as much as possible in as many mediums as possible. Uff da! My studio is FULL! However, it has become apparent that I need to focus on just a few mediums, primarily pottery. Why? There are only 24 hours in a day, and I have gardens, a husband, and a family who also need my time. I decided to focus more on pottery because it is beautiful and utilitarian. In economic terms, pottery sells better. If I want to continue to create art, I need to sell some of it too.
I still do some painting, mixed media, and print making, as well as teaching a variety of art classes, and mentoring other artists, but most of my time is spent on the potters wheel. I have shown my work in a number of art shows sponsored by the Region 1 Arts Council, as well as at the Riverwalk Gallery in East Grand Forks. When Keith and Tom Pringle began planning to open a coffee shop in Roseau, they asked me to show and sell my paintings and pottery there. What a wonderful opportunity! Then when Sarah Meisinger decided to open her En Liten Svensk Shoppe on Main Street, I was again asked to bring in my pottery. For a time I also had my work at The Plaid Walleye in Warroad. These wonderful opportunities keep me producing work, which is a good thing.
Never one to be satisfied with a little knowledge, I constantly challenge myself to learn new techniques and work with different clays or glazes.
I am somewhat self-taught, but that is because I constantly observe and talk to other artists, and I am an avid fan of Pinterest! I don’t like to copy what other artists have done, but rather use what I see and learn in order to recharge my own creative juices and practice basic skills. When I took a pottery class in college many moons ago, I never really learned how to consistently center clay on the wheel. My on-going research and many attempts now help me to help others who are struggling with centering clay.
Problem solving is one of the prompts that gets me out of a “good enough” rut. When I didn’t like how pocket mugs felt at the tips of my fingers, I designed a different type of handle that would snuggle the hand, but not crowd my fingertips. Thus, the Snuggle Mug was born. When a thin spot developed in a cylinder I was throwing, I learned how to control the way the clay fell instead of just taking the clay off the wheel and throwing it in the recycle bucket. These pieces become my “soggy bottom pottery”—truly one of a kind pieces!
When I don’t like the direction a painting is going, I might mask off an area and cover up the rest of what I had started, and then go from there. In a nutshell, the art work itself is not sacred, but the process of discovery is. Much of what I start, especially with painting and drawing, follows a path different from what I first intended.
Those usually are the most successful works—when I just dive in fearlessly and let the work develop itself.
This attitude toward working creatively and letting go of my ego spawned a collaboration with another artist friend of mine. We decided to work together on creating a dozen mixed media works of art, agreed on some simple rules, and pinky swore that we would still be friends when we were done. The result was a body of work that still amazes me. One of those pieces is perhaps my favorite. It incorporated my “long distance” relationship with my mother whom we buried on my 22nd birthday, as well as some of my grandmother’s hand crocheted lace. Everything wove together with vines from a plant my mother gave to me, and which I gave to my friend who drew it into our composition along with a gate from her childhood. Both of our lives touched the lines and colors and patterns to create a piece that is poignant and timeless.
Where does my creative process end? At my end I guess. I cannot imagine a day without being creative in some way, whether I am planting flowers, adding personal touches to our home, singing to the birds, helping another emerging artist along the way, or going out to my studio to see what delicious mischief I can create out there. Every day I work at becoming the person and the artist I was always meant to be.
Janet’s goofy side as she plays the “poetress” in the community production of “My Name is Alice.”
Janet’s art can be found at the En Liten Svensk (A Little Swedish) Shoppe in Roseau alittleswedishshoppe.com and via the River’s Edge Studio Facebook page – link here.
The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council (NWMAC) is proud to sponsor the Traveling Art Exhibit which will be visiting northwest Minnesota communities throughout 2017. The Traveling Art Exhibit includes original artwork by fifteen regional adult and high school artists. It began its journey at the NWMAC’s juried Regional Exhibit held at Norman County West High School, Halstad MN in April of this year.
Artists selected this year to participate in the Traveling Art Exhibit are: Adults: Paulette Christianson of Badger, Macy Larson of Euclid, Jill Levene of Angus, Lucille Nelson of Argyle, Elijah Neufeld of Beltrami, Susan Neufeld of Beltrami, Alicia Spilde of Karlstad and Judy Szklarski of Argyle; and Students: Josiah Dyrud of Thief River Falls, Chey Gerber of Halstad, Kendra Jensen of Goodridge, Ellie Manomai of Fertile, Jordan Nelson of Goodridge and Taylor Wynn-Skalet of Halstad.
Artwork selected for this exclusive traveling exhibit is a collection of diverse subjects in a variety of visual media including: acrylic painting, photography, pencil drawing, watercolor painting, glass mosaic, and mixed media. Pieces were chosen for originality, distinctive style, portability, and presentation.
The Traveling Art Exhibit is currently on display at the Thief Falls Public Library until November 15, 2017. Visit www.nwrlib.org for library hours. The exhibit will be on display at the following libraries this year:
Hallock Public Library, May -June 13, 2017
Warroad Public Library, June 14–July 27, 2017
Roseau Public Library, July 28–Aug 29, 2017
Red Lake Falls Public Library, Sept 1–Oct 20, 2017
Thief River Falls Public Library, Oct 21–Nov 15, 2017
Warren Godel Memorial Library, Nov 16–Jan 8, 2018
During the month of November, the Vine Arts Center Gallery in Minneapolis is hosting a juried art show entitled “Anguish and Hope”.
Vine Arts is looking for a diverse group of visual, literary and performance artists to enter work that comments on the realities, hopes, fears and take-aways related to the current political, social and economic environment.
Submission details and application form are available on the Vine Arts Center Gallery website under the “Events” tab at vineartscenter.org. Inquiries are welcome at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past & Present Passages, Paintings and Drawings by Lucille Nelson
30 Bowls in 30 Days, Pottery by Janet Johnson
August 24–October 28, 2017
NWMAC Gallery / Riverwalk Artists Gallery
211 DeMers Ave., East Grand Forks
Meet the artists at the Artists’ Reception, Sat., October 28, 1:00 P.M.
The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council (NWMAC) is pleased to announce “Past and Present Passages,” a collection of paintings and drawings by Lucille Nelson alongside a series of pottery, “30 Bowls in 30 Days” by Janet Johnson. Their exhibitions are now open through October 28 at the NWMAC Gallery in East Grand Forks.
Lucille Nelson, of Argyle, Minnesota, has been painting and drawing since childhood. Her exhibition, “Past and Present Passages,” is a selection of her works she has created since mid-2000. Lucille’s works evoke the feeling of being carried from your current place and time–transporting the viewer to a farmyard in the 1950’s, to a lake in northern Minnesota or among children playing in a yard.
“When painting people, I really try to capture who they are,” Lucille recalls. “I’ve always felt as if something is guiding my hand.”
Many of Lucille’s drawings bring to life bygone scenes and whimsical moments of the past, and especially portray the people who lived them–her uncle as a young boy playing hockey, her husband as a toddler, and her own children, now grown, in the vibrant purity of their youth.
Lucille’s landscape and wildlife paintings represent the subtle scenes that happen all around us–a distant sunset, swans mingling on a pond, a vase of flowers–all painted with lasting impressions.
Self-taught, Lucille is an accomplished regional artist, and has been awarded several honors in regional art shows. Using a detailed technique to create landscapes, portraits and wildlife, Lucille’s art depicts feelings of nostalgia, serenity, nature and humanity. For all your accomplishments in art over the years–congratulations, Lucille!
Janet Johnson, of Malung, Minnesota, is a renowned ceramics artist and painter. She teaches, collaborates, hosts events and creates art from her studio in Roseau, River’s Edge Studio.
“After retiring from full-time teaching English and Visual Arts (Warroad Public School), I received an Arts Council grant to purchase a used kiln and electric wheel so I could catch up for all those years that I had little time to be personally creative. Since then, my pottery has improved greatly because I now have the time to practice.”
Recently, she challenged herself to finish a series of large bowls on her pottery wheel, forming thirty unique bowls in thirty days. Using 3–6 pounds of various types of clay, each bowl has different shaping, altering, trimming and glazing techniques. This timely collection is truly a diverse accomplishment by a single artist.
“Due to local demand, I have mostly been making mugs and smaller bowls. Not one to get into a rut, I challenged myself to do a series of larger bowls–and I knew it also had to be a time challenge.”
A must-see, Janet’s collection of bowls is remarkable. Each bowl has distinctive, finely crafted qualities. From the finishing and execution–every piece is a rare gift. For producing thirty original pieces of art in such a short timespan–congratulations, Janet!
Janet and Lucille’s skillful works can be viewed at the NWMAC gallery at 211 DeMers Avenue in East Grand Forks. On October 28, both artists will be present at our Artists’ Reception during the PAC’s Art and Wine Walk event. Please join us in celebrating these talented women and their achievements in fine and functional art.
For more information, please contact Kat Allen, NWMAC Exhibition Specialist, at (701) 360-0805 or email NWArtsCouncil@gmail.com.