Tag Archives: Northwest Star Award

Northwest Star Award Winner is Joe Wavra

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is pleased to announce that Joe Wavra of Red Lake Falls has been selected as the 2020 Northwest Minnesota Star Artist of the Year for his lifetime achievement in wood carving. Wavra received his award at a program in Red Lake Falls.

Wavra is a self-taught chainsaw carver and owner of Klondike Carvings. His carvings include life-sized Vikings, trolls, Voyageurs, Wind Spirits, walleyes, and eagles. He has had no formal training. Fifteen years ago, he started with small hand tools and then progressed into chainsaws. He has been a full-time carver for 5 years. 

A prolific artist and community-minded, Wavra has created many carvings for communities in our region, including benches on trails in Red Lake Falls, sculptures, and trolls throughout Thief River Falls. He’s also been one of the organizers of Summerfest. Northwest Minnesota Arts Council Board Chair Briana Ingraham said, “he’s always willing to donate carvings to fundraising events for families in need or community events.”

Asked about his creative process, Wavra said, “Practice, practice, repetition, muscle memory. Shut the critical part of your mind off and let the creative part go.” Wavra doesn’t draw the design beforehand. He just starts. “It was a natural for me. I take out the parts that are in the way – it’s already in there. I just need to reveal it.”

Red Lake Falls Summerfest Chair Janet Wiskow explained, “Joe has shown over his many years here that he is an avid artist who is always willing to let others see how he creates his masterpieces, always willing to ensure his art is accessible to others, and is always willing to help our community thrive. He has been instrumental in the success of Summerfest.”

Red Lake Falls Mayor Allen Bertilrud shared that Wavra’s “artwork has added a unique beauty to our little town… Making art accessible to the young, the old, and everyone in between. He draws on our cultural history and memorializes it for the next generation. He has done so much over his long career to bring our past, our heritage, and our northwest Minnesota wildlife to life in his sculptures.”

The Northwest Star Artist Award is given each year to recognize artists within our seven-county region who stand out in terms of artistry. Of the Year Award winners are nominated by area residents. This award comes with $5,000. Artists can only receive our Northwest Star Award once, as a lifetime achievement award. Funding for the Northwest Star comes from the McKnight Foundation.  

Congratulations Joe Wavra on winning the Northwest Star Award!

Of the Year Award Winners Honored

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council held a program to honor the 2020 Of the Year Award Winners

Three awards are given each year to recognize artists and arts advocates within our seven county region who stand out in terms of artistry or volunteerism in the arts. Many times people serve in both roles. Of the Year Award winners were nominated by area residents. The NWMAC recently held a reception to honor this year’s awardees.

Director Mara Hanel presenting the Of the Year Awards

2020 Of the Year Award Winners include:

Rob Burkel of Thief River Falls was awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award for theater arts. Rob has been involved in theater in the Thief River Falls area for 30 years. His dedication and talent is well known and admired. Our Artist of the Year award can be given to any discipline artist including visual, performing, or creative writing who are emerging or at a mid-way point in their artistic endeavors. It is a cash award of $500.00. To learn more about Rob, click here.

Artist of the Year Rob Burkel

Bruce Piersol of Red Lake Falls was awarded the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year Award. Mr. Piersol is a musician and a strong advocate for the arts. He has performed and organized numerous musical groups bringing music to people who otherwise might not be able to experience it. Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is $500 and includes arts from all disciplines. To read more about Bruce click here.

NW Arts Advocate of the Year Bruce Piersol

Joe Wavra of Red Lake Falls received the Northwest Star Award. Mr. Wavra is a self-taught wood carver, creating life-size animals, Vikings, and trolls with a chainsaw. His carvings can be found throughout the area. This award comes with $5,000. Artists can only receive our Northwest Star Award once as a lifetime achievement award. To learn more about Joe click here.

NW Star Award Winner Joe Wavra

These awards were presented on Tuesday, August 18 in Red Lake Falls. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, our celebration of these wonderful artists and leaders in our area was limited to close friends and family.

NWMAC Board Chair Briana Ingraham and Director Mara Hanel
NWMAC Promotions Specialist Kristin Eggerling and Director Mara Hanel

Funding for Northwest Star and Northwest Artist of the Year comes from The McKnight Foundation. Funding for Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year comes from the Minnesota State Legislature.

Of the Year Award Winners Announced

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is Pleased to Announce
Of the Year Award Winners

Three awards are given each year to recognize artists and arts advocates within our seven county region who stand out in terms of artistry or volunteerism in the arts. Many times people serve in both roles. Of the Year Award winners were nominated by area residents.

2020 Of the Year Award Winners include:

Rob Burkel of Thief River Falls will be awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award for theater arts. Rob has been involved in theater in the Thief River Falls area for 30 years. His dedication and talent is well known and admired. Our Artist of the Year award can be given to any discipline artist including visual, performing, or creative writing who are emerging or at a mid-way point in their artistic endeavors. It is a cash award of $500.00.

NW Artist of the Year Rob Burkel in The Boys Next Door

Bruce Piersol of Red Lake Falls will be awarded the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year Award. Mr. Piersol is a musician and a strong advocate for the arts. He has performed and organized numerous musical groups bringing music to people who otherwise might not be able to experience it. Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is $500 and includes arts from all disciplines.

NW Arts Advocate of the Year Bruce Piersol

Joe Wavra of Red Lake Falls will receive the Northwest Star Award. Mr. Wavra is a self-taught wood carver, creating life-size animals, Vikings, and trolls with a chainsaw. His carvings can be found throughout the area. This award comes with $5,000. Artists can only receive our Northwest Star Award once as a lifetime achievement award.

NW Star Award Winner Joe Wavra

These awards will be presented on Tuesday, August 18 in Red Lake Falls. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, our celebration of these wonderful artists and leaders in our area will be limited to close friends and family.

Funding for Northwest Star and Northwest Artist of the Year comes from The McKnight Foundation. Funding for Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year comes from the Minnesota State Legislature.

Of the Year Awards

Of the Year Awards

 including

Northwest Artist of the Year Award $500

Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year Award $500

Northwest Star Award for $5000!

Three awards are given each year by the NWMAC to recognize artists and arts advocates within our region who stand out in terms of artistry or volunteerism in the arts. Many times people serve in both roles. Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is $500.00 and often goes to a local leader who lives in the area where the artist reception will be held.  But anyone is eligible to be nominated.  Arts includes all disciplines.

Our Artist of the Year award can be given to any discipline artist including visual, performing, or creative writing who are emerging or at a mid-way point in their artistic endeavors. It is a cash award of $500.00 to use however they see fit.

Artists can only receive our Northwest Star Award once, as a lifetime achievement award. This award is for $5,000.00 and can be a wonderful gift to those who have chosen a hard career path related to artistic expression.

Awards will be presented at the Northwest Minnesota Arts Exhibit  Reception at the American Legion in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota mid-July. For more information about the Arts Exhibit click here. Award winners will be announced soon!

Funding for Northwest Star and Northwest Artist of the Year comes from The McKnight Foundation.  Funding for Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year comes from the Minnesota State Legislature.

Of the Year Awards Nominations

Nominations Now Accepted for

“Of the Year” Awards

 including

Northwest Artist of the Year Award $500

Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year Award $500

Northwest Star Award for $5000!

NWMAC is accepting nominations for our “Of The Year” Awards once again. The nomination form is on our website.

Three awards are given each year to recognize artists and arts advocates within our region who stand out in terms of artistry or volunteerism in the arts. Many times people serve in both roles. Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is $500.00 and often goes to a local leader who lives in the area where the artist reception will be held.  But anyone is eligible to be nominated.  Arts includes all disciplines.

Our Artist of the Year award can be given to any discipline artist including visual, performing, or creative writing who are emerging or at a mid-way point in their artistic endeavors. It is a cash award of $500.00 to use however they see fit.

Artists can only receive our Northwest Star Award once, as a lifetime achievement award. This award is for $5,000.00 and can be a wonderful gift to those who have chosen a hard career path related to artistic expression.

Our deadline for nominations is always the last day of February each year — this year it is February 29. Please consider nominating someone who you view as a deserving candidate from our seven county service area in northwestern Minnesota. Persons who believe their nominee would qualify for this award and have questions should contact the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council office at (218) 745-9111 or email mara@nwrdc.org for more information.  Again, the deadline for nominations is February 29, 2020.

Awards will be presented at the Northwest Minnesota Arts Exhibit  Reception in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota on Wednesday, April 29 at 5PM. For more information about the Arts Exhibit click here.

Funding for Northwest Star and Northwest Artist of the Year comes from The McKnight Foundation.  Funding for Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year comes from the Minnesota State Legislature.