Tag Archives: Of the Year Awards

NW Minnesota Annual Art Exhibit Will be Held Aug 13-26 in Warroad

The Northwest Minnesota Annual Art Exhibit will be held 

August 13 – 26 in Warroad

Reception and Program on August 26 to 

Honor Exhibit and Of the Year Award Winners

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is pleased to announce the NW Annual Art Exhibit will be in Warroad from August 13 to 26. The exhibit will be Downtown Warroad at the Discovery Development Hub, 201 Lake Street NE and will be open for the public to view art on 

August 13 from 9am – 1pm

August 16-20 MWF from 9 am – 4pm, Tues & Thurs 4-7pm

August 21 Noon to 3pm

August 23-25  from 9am – 4pm

August 26 Noon to 5:30pm

Adult and student artists from our 7 county- service region (Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Polk, Pennington, Roseau and Red Lake Falls) have entered 120 pieces of art, including photography, sculpture, drawings, and paintings, into this exhibit and will be competing for $2,300.00 in cash awards. Exhibit cash award winners will be chosen while the exhibit is on display by a qualified juror. They will be recognized and receive their check at the reception. Attendees will be able to vote for People’s Choice!

There will be a reception on August 26 at Allison Park Pavilion in Warroad that is free of charge and open to everyone. Mingling, food, and live music begins at 5:30 pm and the program at 6 pm. Please come early to view the art. The Exhibit opens at noon that day and there’s plenty to do in Warroad!

Of the Year Awards will be presented to Don KaKaygeesick of Warroad for the NW Star Award — Lifetime Achievement, Connie Nelson of Hallock for Artist of the Year, and Annethea Novacek of Greenbush for Artist Advocate of the Year.

The Exhibit and Reception are open to the public and free to attend. Many pieces of art are for sale and the public is encouraged to shop. Purchases can be marked as sold and picked up on August 26 at the reception. The reception is a wonderful day of celebrating the arts in our region. Please join us!

More information will be coming about the award winners and the event. Stay tuned!

Funding for these awards is provided by the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota State Legislature.

Nominate Artists and Arts Advocates for Of the Year Awards! Deadline extended

Nominations Open for Of the Year Awards Until May 17 — Deadline Extended

Northwest Artist of the Year $500 

Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year $500

Northwest Star Award for $5,000

Warren, Mn – Applications are open for nominations for the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council Of the YearAwards. 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. Often people serve in both roles. 

NWMAC Director Mara Hanel presenting Of the Year Awards

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 May 17. It has been extended this year due to a later reception date. 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) 745-8886 or email director@NWArtsCouncil.org for more information. The nomination form is on our website.

Awards will be presented at the Northwest Minnesota Arts Exhibit reception will be held in Warroad on August 26th. Stay tuned for more information. 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.

Upcoming Grant and other Deadlines

Grants for Public Art — Due May 1

For details visit:

Individual Artist Grants for $1,500 — Due February 10

The NWMAC is has extended our deadline for individuals to ask for $1,500 grants.  The deadline now is February 10! This is the main category that individuals use to support their artistic business or advice their technical skills. This category is for non-hobby artists. Support for Individual Artist Grants comes from the McKnight Foundation.

Public Art Projects — Due February 10

The NWMAC would like to fund some public art projects.  Do you have experience with Public Art? Let us know by February 10 if you are interested in projects in our area.  We will be gathering information from interested artists, including examples of your work and budgets. We plan to share this information with interested organizations like cities and schools.  Let’s create some public art!

Arts Legacy Grants, Arts Project Grants and Arts Equipment for the Schools — Due March 1

There is a March 1 deadline for Arts Legacy Grants and Arts Project Grants, as well as for Arts Equipment for the Schools.

Northwest Minnesota Art Exhibit Sign

This year, the deadline for the NW MN Art Exhibit has been extended until April 15 due to June dates for the showcase.  The exhibit will take place in Warroad.  This allows more time for artists to create work.  The application is open online for you to submit work whenever you are ready.  The Artist of the Year deadline will be extended until April 15, as well. 

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!

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!