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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.

Of the Year Awards

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. “Of the Year” Award winners were nominated by area residents.

Of the Year Award Winners include:

NW Artist of the Year Jean Honl

Jean Honl of Roseau will be awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award for fine craft of rosemaling. 

Jean has been rosemaling for over 45 years. Her work is currently exhibited in our gallery in East Grand Forks. 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 Arts Advocate of the Year Winner Sherri Kukowski

Sherri Kukowski of Badger will be awarded the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year Award. 

Ms. Kukowski is a mosaic artist and a strong advocate for the arts. She created the Heritage Wall at the Badger Community Center — a 26 ‘ X 12 ” glass mosaic public art installation showcasing rural life in northern Minnesota. Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is $500 and includes arts from all disciplines.

NW Star Award Winner George French

George French of Crookston will receive the Northwest Star Award.

Mr. French is a musician, specializing in piano and organ, and head of the music and theater departments at the University of Minnesota Crookston. He has directed numerous theater productions and is a dedicated and active volunteer in his communityThis award comes with $5,000. Artists can only receive our Northwest Star Award once, as a lifetime achievement award.

These awards will be presented at the Northwest Minnesota Arts Exhibit Reception on Sunday, March 31in Badger at the Badger Community Center at 111 North Main Street, Badger, MN  56714. Refreshments will be served at 2:15 pm with the program beginning promptly at 3:00 pm. Local entertainment will be featured during the program. In addition, the 2019 Creative Minnesota survey results for our region will be presented, followed by a brief discussion of the impact of the arts and culture in the region. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information about the Arts Exhibit see our website: http://www.northwestminnesotaartscouncil.org/2019/03/2019-nw-annual-art-exhibit/

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.