Tag Archives: Northwest Minnesota Arts Council

Fosston Third Thursday Art Walk Looking for Artists!

Would you be interested in displaying your artwork and participating in Fosston’s Third Thursday Art Walk?

In an effort to promote economic development in the City of Fosston and to promote the talented artists in our region, the Art & Culture Commission in Fosston is hosting the Third Thursday Art Walk in Fosston on October 19th from 4:30-7pm.  Each participating business will be paired with an artist of their choosing to host for the evening. The business owner will provide them a space to display/sell their artwork.  Currently, there is a need for artists to participate, as they have more businesses than artists that have signed up. There is no geographic requirement and no cost to participate.

At the end of the evening the FCLAA board will be hosting an artist reception, open to the public, at the Sorenson Gallery in the Library Arts Center in Fosston.

Take advantage of this opportunity to show your art!

Interested? Please contact Bonnie Stewart at stewart.bonnielee@gmail.com or Barbara Johnson at Barbara@nwmnhra.org or 218-637-2435.


Grants! Funding is Available! Apply Today!

Coming Soon…Grant Deadlines!

$5,000 Individual Artist Grant Deadline October 15!

Arts Legacy and Arts Project Grants Deadline November 1!

Grant money is available from the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council.  Grants are awarded to nonprofit arts organizations, communities, schools, individuals and other nonprofit organizations.  Applications are being accepted from our seven county Minnesota service area including Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties.

imagesMcKnight/NWMAC Individual Artist Grants for Projects Individual adult artists can apply by October 15 for a NWMAC/McKnight Individual Artist Grant of $5,000.00 or if their project has a very strong community focus, they can apply for an Arts Legacy Grant of up to $10,000.00.  Performing artists, visual artists, media artists, creative writing artists are all welcome to apply.

Project grants are awarded to individuals.  To be eligible you must be out of high school and at least 18 years of age.  College tuition is not an eligible expense.   This is the main category that individuals use to support their artistic business or advance their technical skills. This category is for non-hobby artist.  Grants are awarded annually with $1,500 going to four individuals and $5,000 going to four individuals.  Support for our Fellowship program comes from The McKnight Foundation.  The deadline is October 15th annually for $5,000 level applicants and January 15th annually for $1,500 level applicants.

LegacyLogoThe Arts Legacy Grants is a main category for funding artistic activity within the seven county service region.  Funding for the grants comes from the Minnesota State Legislature through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.  A maximum of $10,000.00 can be requested.  Applicants must provide cash match and it is recommended that it be between 25% – 50% although some projects may be approved with as little as 10% cash match if they are innovative and fit a unique need.

Arts Project Grants are used primarily for small budget arts projects and the sponsorship of performances of touring companies and artists. These grants are a maximum of $3,000.00 with a required cash match.  This grant programs have substantially less reporting requirements than Legacy grants.

Applications funded through these two very important grant opportunities include festivals, community theatre projects, folk music entertainment, sponsorship of visual demonstrations, creative writing workshops and many other activities that improve the quality of life of people in our communities.  Arts Legacy grants and Arts Project grants have annual deadlines of August 1, November 1, and March 1 each year.  This November 1 deadline is the second round for these two categories.   

Arts Equipment for Schools Grants are considered a special category of our Arts Project Grant Program.  This grant allows schools to purchase artistic equipment for their art room, theater, band room, etc.  Equipment that is used solely for the pursuit of arts like a kiln or theater lights, or a band instrument has a better chance of being funded.  There is one annual deadline for this grant on November 1.  Grants of up to $3,000.00 are awarded with a 25% cash match requirement.

Also available on a first come-first served basis are Artist Residency Grants for are School Districts.  Grants of $2100.00 are awarded to sponsor artists working with children usually in a traditional weeklong residency but it can also be a different format that serves your school or summer program.  An extra $400.00 may be requested for art residencies that need supplies.  Schools are strongly urged to use a COMPAS roster artist because they have been professionally trained in working in schools.  Local artists who are sponsored need to provide lesson plans and show their professionalism in a classroom setting.

The grant application process is completely online and NWMAC’s Executive Director Mara Hanel can help walk you through the process of using the grants portal to get accustomed to it.

We are offering two workshops on Wednesday, October 11 at 10am and 6pm at our office for people who have questions related to our on-line system, grant applications, grant management once they get a grant, and final reporting.  Our Executive Director Mara Hanel covers all aspects of the grant process. You will find that it is really helpful to attend. The first half hour relates to the deadlines coming up and the second half hour relates to the system and questions on grants management and reporting. Don’t let your fear or inexperience with grants stop you from applying!  You must RSVP. Email mara@nwrdc.org or call 218-745-9111.

Funding for these programs comes primarily from the Minnesota State Legislature.  The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is one of eleven regional arts councils in the state.  All eleven councils work together with their fiscal agent the Minnesota State Arts Board to provide arts services, staffing, and grants.  The McKnight Foundation is another funding source helping local arts councils promote and serve the arts community.

Northwest Traveling Art Exhibit Visits Red Lake Falls

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 Red Lake Falls Public Library until October 20, 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

For more information call the NWMAC office at 218-745-9111; contact the exhibit specialist at 701-360-0805, or email kata_6@hotmail.com

Portrait Art: You’re Invited to Exhibit

You’re Invited to Exhibit:
Portrait Art
The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is pleased to invite you
to submit portrait art for an upcoming exhibit!
Portrait can be of someone you know, a complete stranger, a self portrait, fictional character, historical figure… Anyone with a story!
We are accepting art of any media:
Painting, Photography, Digital, Mixed Media, Sculpture,
Video, Essays or Stories, Poetry, Performance Art & More
Here’s how to do it:
1. Create your art. Any portrait, any art media, any size.
2. Email a photo or sample of your submission to
3. Videos can also easily be submitted on Google Drive here.
(If you need assistance with your submission, we are happy to help!
The exhibit will open in Spring 2018.
We are accepting submissions until December 31, 2017.

Board Members and Staff Fiscal Year 2018

Meet Our Board and Staff Members

NWMAC FY 2018 Board Members


Kristina Gray, Crookston, Polk County

Board Member and World Traveler Kristina Gray

Kristina works as a teaching specialist at the University of Minnesota Crookston. She is the Project Director of the Carnegie Library activities and is a board member of the Polk County Historical Society.  Kristina lived abroad for 15 years when she taught English composition and other subjects in the Philippines, China, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. “All these countries have their own way of expressing their traditions and cultures.” She has written two books about Crookston’s history and loves the outdoors. Kristina said, “Art starts a conversation that might not get verbalized.”

Briana Ingraham, Red Lake Falls. Red Lake County 

Board Member and Oboe Player Briana Ingraham

Briana is a former federal government employee taking a break from her career to raise three young sons. She serves on Red Lake Falls’ Civic and Commerce and the Economic Development Committee. She is also part of the Zehlians, the Thief River Falls branch of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She has a strong interest in preserving the arts, history, and culture and believes we can best do this by educating the public through events, concerts, art walks, and performances. Her art form is music. She sings and plays the oboe in the University of Minnesota Crookston Community band. About Minnesota’s arts scene, Briana said, “I have really seen a big difference in the pride Minnesotans have in their arts programs compared to other states. There is a high quality and quantity of artists of all types here. The support for these artists — from the school programs up through the various community sponsored concerts or events, is something that other states would do well to emulate.” The arts are important to Briana personally, because singing and playing an instrument as an elementary student gave her self-confidence, and a way to express herself that she continues to utilize today. “The arts allow us to connect with one another, no matter our background or creed. In today’s day and age, we need to embrace and support that which unites us, and the arts are something we can all benefit from– across gender, age, religion, and race.   We can’t afford to do without them.”

Janet Johnson, Malung. Roseau County

Board Member and Artist Janet Johnson

Janet is a retired art/English teacher and a current substitute teacher, artist, mentor and a teaching artist. Janet is a painter, book artist and potter, in addition to other artistic mediums. “I have made it my mission to promote art and artists in northern Minnesota…I truly believe in the theory that art is for everyone.”




Chris Lane, Newfolden. Marshall County

Board Member and Photographer Chris Lane

Chris works as a Video Production Designer at Digi-Key. He’s a painter, sculptor and a photographer. He also has experience working with digital art and stained glass. Fun fact: Chris attended school for fine arts in Scotland and exhibited art there during college.




Mary Ann Laxen, East Grand Forks. Polk County

Board Member and Sky Diver Mary Ann Laxen

Mary Ann was one of the founders of River Walk Arts Gallery and Gift Shop in East Grand Forks.  She has served on the River Walk board, exhibited and sold photography note cards, and charcoal drawings.  At the age of 65 Mary Ann went sky diving and when she was 70, she went paragliding off the Swiss Alps. “My foray into the world of art didn’t begin until I was in my 50s.  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…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!”

Connie Nelson, Hallock. Kittson County

Board Member and Muralist Connie Nelson

Connie is retired from a career with phone companies in California and Minnesota. She has been and is active in a number of art forms including painting, drawing, acting, directing, other performance art, as well as singing. Connie paints murals, pet portraits and more on commission.

Aliza Olson, Roseau. Roseau County

Board Member and Fiber Artist Aliza Olson

Aliza is a History/Political Science Instructor at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls. She has been involved in fiber arts most of her adult life. Currently, she focuses on traditional fiber arts and folk arts, including spinning, Nabinding, and simple weaving.




Elizabeth Rockstad, Ada. Norman County 

Board Member, mosaic artist and Star Wars Nerd Elizabeth Rockstad

Elizabeth owns Studio 4:13 in Ada. She is a mosaic artist, a K-12 Art Teacher and a Star Wars nerd. She wants to support the arts in any way she can. “Being a NWMAC Board Member allows me to work with many different types of art and artists in the Northwest region. Art enables us to reflect and grow in our understanding of ourselves and each other. We use art in order to thrive in our world.”

Brook Rufsvold, Red Lake Falls. Red Lake County

Board Member and Arts Advocate Brook Rufsvold

Brook is a Special Education Strategist. She has a lifelong passion for art and has experience writing, designing theater sets, stage directing, judging speech competitions and painting murals. “I have a love for art and creativity.”





Elwyn Ruud, Karlstad. Kittson County

Board Member and Grant writer Elwyn Ruud

Elwyn Ruud brings artists to the schools in northern Minnesota in her role as the Northwest Minnesota Arts Coordinator for COMPAS. She taught elementary school for 36 years before retiring a few years ago. She has also worked for 25 years as a grant writer for four area school districts to secure funding for artist residencies. In addition, Elwyn paints and draws as a primary grade artist in the Roseau and Red Lake County School Districts. Elwyn “serves on the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council to help bring arts to all areas of our communities. The arts are a gift for all ages and I want to be part of bringing that gift to our students, teachers, artists and communities.”

Katya Zepeda, Crookston. Polk County

Board Member Katya Zepeda

Katya is the Executive Director of United Way of Crookston. She is an arts advocate and paints and sculpts as a hobby and has experience creating murals. She was exposed to the arts at a very young age and feels it’s important to pass that on to the next generation. She enjoys collecting artwork through her travels.


Executive Director for Forever Mara Hanel

Mara Hanel, Executive Director 

Mara (formerly Lunde and Wittman) has been the Executive Director of the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council forever.  Yes, that long!  She estimates that she knows 1,000+ wonderful artistic people who love to live in Northwest Minnesota, just like herself.  She grew up in East Grand Forks and was very active in all the arts, including dance, drawing, trumpet, piano, singing, photography, fine craft, theater, and creative writing. For many years after graduating from college in Duluth, Mara combined Arts Administration with visual art and textiles with some choreography here and there.

Mara is happily married to a man who loves to be active in church with her, travels the world, parent, and works on art together in their spare time. Mosaics, stain glass, gardening and landscape design are current passions for them.  “We thoroughly enjoy our blended family of seven plus a dog.  Yes, we need that huge SUV that I drive around for our full family, as well as to move art displays. Love our lake time and get-aways for adventure… that often include theatre, a quiet walk through a museum, and observing top notch sports, and strolling outside… spontaneous, relaxed fun, barely any TV.”

The arts and service to others in the arts is part of every single day for Mara. Her art and the artistic expression of others is what makes her life so rich, and full of meaty topics for discussion. “Visual art, performing art, creative writing, they can all handle those hard topics.  Art can create an amazing emotional response, transformative.  It awes me with its expression of beauty. Enough said?  Love my job working with artist and The Arts.”

Kristin Eggerling, Promotions Specialist

Promotions Specialist Kristin Eggerling with her mosaic for the Equality & Respect for All Exhibit

Kristin works as a freelance writer and community activist. She is a published author — Breath of Wilderness: The Life of Sigurd Olson. She loves the process of research, interviewing, and telling the story of places and people. She serves on a number of boards, including the local library board and regional and state boards focused on sustainability, conservation, the arts and community development. She loves travel, good food, films, reading and spending time with her family.  In addition to writing, she creates mosaics and mixed media art. “Art is so important for our society as a whole, and for each of us as individuals. It has the power to transform our lives and regularly does.”

Kat Allen, Showcase Specialist

Exhibit Specialist and Artist Kat Allen with “Awareness,” her piece in the Equality & Respect for All Exhibit

Kat is an artist, designer, art director, author and mother of three kids. She holds a B.F.A. from Savannah College of Art & Design, and studied art in Florence, Italy. She studied, lived and worked in Colorado, Minneapolis, Chicago, Savannah, Milwaukee and abroad and has worked professionally in brand and marketing design for almost ten years. Currently, she lives in Grafton, North Dakota with her family and is originally from northwest Minnesota.

Jane Anderson, Training and Networking Specialist

Jane Anderson lives in Thief River Falls. In addition to her position as the Networking and Training Specialist with the NWMAC, she is also the Executive Director of the Thief River Falls Area Community Theater.  She is a classically-trained soprano with a B.A. in vocal performance from Bemidji State University, where she studied voice with John Keston. “I love every aspect of performance art. Besides singing, acting, and directing, I have recently taken up costuming and it’s become another passion.” Jane explains, “Arts are important because I believe we weren’t born to merely survive, but to thrive.  Why are we here, if not to enjoy the beauty of the earth and the other people in it?  To fully understand and enjoy, we need to express ourselves and also to see and hear what others are thinking and feeling.  Art is a profound way to connect with ourselves and each other.”