Tag Archives: NWMAC Arts Advocate of the Year

Bruce Piersol is NW Arts Advocate of the Year

Bruce Piersol is Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is pleased to announce this year’s recipient for the Arts Advocate of the Year Award is Bruce Piersol of Red Lake Falls.

Bruce Piersol Arts Advocate of the Year

Piersol was the long-time school band director in Red Lake Falls and is now retired. His bands have marched on the street and football fields, as well as performed concert, jazz, and ensemble music in school and public settings. As a teacher, he was dedicated to connecting his students to the community as much as possible. He arranged for his students to play around town at the senior center, upstairs at the courthouse, and at community events, including Summerfest. 

Piersol continues to be involved in music in the area by playing in the University of Minnesota Crookston Community Band, coordinating and singing in a Red Lake Falls community choir, and organizing and playing in a brass quintet called Windblown

According to Northwest Minnesota Arts Council Board Chair Briana Ingraham, “Bruce brings music to people who otherwise might not be able to get out and enjoy it. He has done so much to ensure people of all ages are exposed to and enjoy music.” 

Red Lake Falls resident JoAnn Zutz explained, “Bruce has always been a promoter of the arts. He was instrumental in organizing, finding appropriate music, and then conducting a community choir to sing a Christmas or Easter cantata.”

In addition to teaching band, Piersol also taught photography at the high school. His wife Ann was the art teacher. When his students performed a band concert, the couple collaborated by putting up an art show next to it.

Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is given each year to recognize arts advocates within our seven-county region who stand out in terms of volunteerism in the arts. “Of the Year” award winners were nominated by area residents. This award comes with a cash award of $500.00. Funding for the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year comes from the Minnesota State Legislature.

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.

Arts Advocate of the Year Sherri Kukowski

Sherri Kukowski is Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is pleased to announce this year’s recipient for the Arts Advocate of the Year Award is Sherri Kukowski of Badger. 

Kukowski is the junior high and high school math teacher in Badger, as well as the Math League coach, Prom Advisor, and Art Club Advisor. She is also a member of Badger Town and Country. Kukowski is a mosaic artist and the force behind the Badger Heritage Mosaic Wall, a handcrafted 26’ x 12’ mosaic art installation. Through the process of creating the Heritage Wall, she has realized the impact of the arts on the community. Community members who had never done any artistic work before continue to encourage each other. “It has been so fun. Young and old have worked together to create. Everyone has had a part.”

According to Badger Mayor James Rinde, “In early 2016 Sherri approached the city about a Badger Heritage Wall that would tell the story of Badger. The huge mosaic wall has brought together community members of all ages for the last three years and is far more than we ever imagined.”

Debbie Aune explained, “Sherri will advocate for art whenever she can. Sherri organizes, designs, fundraises, collaborates, writes grants, advocates and smiles tirelessly with sleeves rolled up. Sherri is a lovely manifestation of art advocacy.”

Resident Christine Modahl raved about Kukowski’s advocacy for the arts. “Sherri has a strong passion for art and enjoys sharing it with anyone anywhere. Her creativeness has gone miles in our community.  Starting out with becoming the Prom Advisor, she utilized her artistic talented mind and enthusiasm to get all the Juniors and Seniors involved, which created the perfect atmosphere to coordinate beautifully with each year’s theme. She moved on to start up the Badger Art Club in the school, which involves any and all teens wanting to learn about art. She organizes indoor art workshops for the students and gives her best effort to end the year with an annual field trip to educate them on different levels of art in Minnesota.”

Asked if she has any advice for aspiring artists, Sherri recommends that they be in touch with the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council. Education-wise and money-wise, the Arts Council helps so much. Regarding their art, she said, “keep playing with it. It will click. If one type of art isn’t working, take a break and try something else. Never quit.”

Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is given each year to recognize arts advocates within our seven-county region who stand out in terms of volunteerism in the arts. “Of the Year” award winners were nominated by area residents. This award comes with a cash award of $500.00. Funding for the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year comes from the Minnesota State Legislature.