The Bemidji Community Arts Council, Inc. was established in 1970.  In 1981 it merged with another group to form the Bemidji Community Art Center and made its home in the Historic Carnegie Library in downtown Bemidji on the shores of Lake Bemidji. For more information about the Carnegie building, see the Building History For more information about Bemidji see Our Neighborhood.

In October of 2012 the Art Center purchased the former Lakeside Luekens grocery store located across the street from our current home at 505 Bemidji Ave.  In February of 2014 we officially changed our name to the Watermark Art Center.  Work is now being done to raise funds to convert the building into the new Watermark Art Center in the near future.  The new facility will feature 4 galleries, an education suite, and a gallery shop.  For more information on the Watermark Project or how you can help contact us at watermark@paulbunyan.net

The Watermark is a  non-profit member-supported organization dedicated to encouraging the growth and development of art in our Community. The Watermark provides gallery space for exhibitions, authors readings and  workshops. We display national, regional and local artists in group exhibits, solo shows and installations featuring approximately 8 new exhibits a year from February through December. While the Main Gallery is designed to hold larger works and group exhibitions, Gallery X2 is better suited for smaller exhibits or more intimate works.

Our exhibit schedule may be booked anywhere from 6 months to a year in advance but we encourage artists to apply at any time. For information on applying and an application, please go to our Artist Opportunities page.

We are sponsors of the monthly First Friday Art Walk , our yearly Friends of the Arts celebration each spring which recognizes a community member for their contributions and our annual summer art fair Art in the Park. The Watermark  is proud to serve as a resource for the artist, art enthusiast, art buyer and the community as a whole.

Made up of a group of dedicated Volunteers, the Board of the Watermark  comes from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Contact us at the BCAC if you are interested in joining this exciting group of people and help make art happen!

The BCAC strives to increase art awareness by

  • serving as an arts communication network
  • providing an arts facility for the community and artists
  • presenting and sponsoring quality art exhibits
  • organizing art festivals
  • generating active community participation
  • coordinating with other art organizations for a stronger arts community

Valuing a vibrant community the Watermark Art Center’s mission is to nurture the growth and development of and access to the visual arts in Northern Minnesota.


Historic Carnegie Library Building
426 Bemidji Ave. N.
Bemidji, MN. 56601


  • Tuesday through Friday 12 to 5 pm
  • Saturday 10 am  to 2 pm
  • Call for Group visits
  • Holiday closings include July 4th and Thanksgiving Day. The BCAC is also closed annually from mid-December through mid-January  and the last two weeks in May.

Email: watermark@paulbunyan.net
Phone: # 218-444-7570

Board Members

  • Lorie Yourd,  President
  • Paula Engen, Vice President
  • Pat Kelly, Secretary
  • Bill Kelly, Past Vice President
  • John Lembi
  • Kate Smith
  • Beverly Erickson
  • Deborah Jensen

Lori Forshee-Donnay, Executive Director

Cindy Stenberg, Executive Assistant