Tag Archives: Thief River Falls

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 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.

Winter Fantasy Art Exhibit

NWMAC Sponsors

Winter Fantasy Art Show

The Winter Fantasy Art Exhibit is the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council’s current exhibit at our gallery at Northland Community and Technical College.

Join us as our artists help you to escape into other worlds that lead into the magic, myths and fantasy of winter. Visit our exhibit and let your mind explore as you go on an adventure in our winter fantasy wonderland.

NWMAC Winter Fantasy Exhibit at NWMAC Gallery at NCTC

The show was exhibited on January 12  in the lobby of the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls as a part of Ice Fest 2020. The exhibit then moved to our gallery at Northland Community and Technical College through February.

Join us for an Artist Reception on Friday, February 28 from 6 to 8PM. Meet the artists and take in the exhibit. Refreshments will be served.

NWMAC Winter Fantasy Exhibit at NCTC

For more information about the exhibit or our other exhibits look to our website at www.NWArtsCouncil.org, call our office at (218)-745-9111 or contact Kelsey at (218) 688-0078 or email NWArtsCouncil@gmail.com

Cloth Mache Dragon series by Katelyn Crowe of Warroad

Artists with work in this exhibit include: 

  • Katelyn Crowe of Warroad: Cloth Mache Dragons series 
  • Kendra Olson of Thief River Falls: Character series 
  • Jodi Peterson of Ada: Glass Ornaments 
  • Shantelle Carey of Thief River Falls: An Individual Exploration of Spirituality (rabbit skin) and her “Bean” series 
  • Heather Sabian of Crookston: Leather Sculpture Series 
  • Lia Hanson of Thief River Falls – Joys of Ember
  • Loren Younggren of Hallock – Winter Photography Scenes
  • Coby SkjervenWee Folk Sculptures
Artwork by Artist Heather Sabian
Winter Fantasy Exhibit. Photos by Loren Younggren.
Winter Fantasy Exhibit featuring work by Shantelle Carey and Kendra Olson.

Winter Fantasy Exhibit

Katelyn Crowe “Cloth Mache Dragon” series
Leather Sculpture Series by Artist Heather Sabian
Artist Kendra Olson. From her Character series.

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is hosting a Winter Fantasy Art Show in conjunction with the Ice Fest in Thief River Falls.

Artist Jodi Peterson’s snowflake ornaments

When: January 12 from 11 am to 2 pm in the lobby of the Ralph Engelstad Arena. The exhibit will then move to our gallery at Northland Community and Technical College through February.

Artist Shantelle Carey An Individual Exploration of Spirituality (rabbit skin)

Artists with work in this exhibit include:

  • Katelyn Crowe of Warroad: Cloth Mache Dragons series
  • Kendra Olson of Thief River Falls: Character series
  • Jodi Peterson of Ada: Glass Ornaments
  • Shantelle Carey of Thief River Falls: An Individual Exploration of Spirituality (rabbit skin) and her “Bean” series
  • Heather Sabian of Crookston: Leather Sculpture Series
  • Lia Hanson of Thief River Falls – Winter Fantasy Drawing series

Please contact our showcase specialist Kelsey Brateng at kelseybphotography@live.com to learn more!