Tag Archives: NWMAC Artist of the Year

Northwest Artist of the Year Award Given to Rob Burkel

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is pleased to announce that Rob Burkel of Thief River Falls has been awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award. Burkel is a talented actor in our area. 

Artist of the Year Rob Burkel

Rob Burkel has served as Thief River Falls Area Community Theater’s (TRFACT) board President, and directed, produced, acted in numerous theatrical productions in Thief River Falls and the area. He’s also been a TRFACT Radio Readers Theater cast member and a Lincoln High School Speech Team Coach and One Act Play Director. He sits on the Northwest Regional Library Board and has been the force behind bringing the Fargo-Moorhead Opera to Thief River Falls the past 2 years.

According to TRFACT Director Jane Anderson, Burkel is “the backbone of our local theater. His decades of hard work, phenomenal talent and dedication to theater arts, make him truly deserving of this award. In every capacity, Rob is an asset to the theater. Rob’s greatest contribution to the theater is his ability to act and bring characters to life.”

Director Teresa McGriff described Burkel as “one of the most prepared actors I have ever worked with. He’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and pitch in. He’s a real team player — upstanding but kind and fun as well. People want to be in shows with him because he is fun to work with. Audiences want to come and see him in shows, as well, because he is well-liked and respected. When auditions are held, he is one of the ones I hope to see walking into the room and that is one of the highest compliments a director can give.”

Fellow actor Scott Pream said,” Rob’s insight into his character portrayal is only topped by his willingness to help his fellow actors become the best they can be. He is a great leader willing to help in any way he can.”

When asked about the impact of the arts on individuals or society, Burkel explained that “theater and art are at their best when they force you to think. If forcing you to think makes you uncomfortable, even better. Art should change who you are going forward and make you a better person. There should be a balance between that and fun and silly. There’s a role for humor, too.”

The Northwest Artist of the Year Award is given each year to recognize artists within our seven-county region who stand out in terms of artistry. This 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. “Of the Year” Award winners were nominated by area residents and comes with a cash award of $500.00. Funding for the Northwest Artist of the Year comes from the McKnight Foundation. 

Congratulations, Rob Burkel on being named the Artist of the Year!

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.

Artist of the year Jean Honl

Northwest Artist of the Year Award Given to Jean Honl

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is pleased to announce that Jean Honlof Roseau has been awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award. Honl is a talented fine craft artist in rosemaling and woodworking. 

Jean Honl lives in Roseau with her husband Pete and is originally from Malung. In 1974 she took a community education class on rosemaling and she was hooked. Honl is also a master woodworker. She designs and builds all the furniture pieces that she needs for her rosemaling work. Honl has studied at Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. She worked as an artist-in-residence in the Roseau and Badger Schools. She continues to demonstrate her art at workshops, arts events, festivals, and libraries. She is currently exhibiting her work at the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council Gallery at the Riverwalk Gallery in East Grand Forks.

Honl enjoys that you never create the same thing when you rosemal. You start with the same basic patterns, but you come up with new designs, color, shading and detail. “I love that about it. Honestly, I don’t know what it’s going to look like until it’s done.”

According to Elwyn Ruud, Honl is “an amazing artist and teacher. I continue to be impressed with her works of art, talents and her gift of sharing her art by teaching adults and students. Her quiet and calm manner of teaching bring out the creative spirit of each child.”

When asked about the impact of the arts, Honl explained that “For society, it’s very important. It’s another way of learning and looking at things. Art makes the world beautiful. You can learn about other things in art. You plan, use your imagination, get your own ideas.” 

Asked if she had advice for aspiring artists, she said, “Don’t give up! Keep on going if you love what you are doing. Don’t be too critical of yourself.”

The Northwest Artist of the Year Award is given each year to recognize artists within our seven-county region who stand out in terms of artistry. This 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. “Of the Year” Award winners were nominated by area residents and comes with a cash award of $500.00. Funding for the Northwest Artist of the Year comes from the McKnight Foundation.