Marley and Sandy Kaul – prominent local artists, educators and art leaders – have recently been honored for their decades of service to the arts community with the naming of the largest gallery at the new Watermark Art Center. The naming was made possible via a generous capital campaign gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Slated to open in 2017, the Marley and Sandy Kaul Gallery will be over 2,000 square feet and will feature expansive windows providing views of Lake Bemidji.

“We were very pleased to learn of this request,” said the art center’s Executive Director Lori Forshee-Donnay. “It is a fitting name for the gallery and an appropriate way to honor a couple that has contributed so much to the regional art scene.”

Marley Kaul is a professor emeriti at Bemidji State University, where he taught art for 30 years. He is an acrylic and egg tempera painter whose work has been shown in galleries and museums throughout the country, and is in the permanent collections of the North Dakota Museum of Art, Plains Art Museum, Minnesota Historical Society, 3M Collections, Minnesota Mutual Life, Tweed Museum of Art and the Weisman Art Museum. Locally, Marley has designed several stained glass windows at First Lutheran Church in Bemidji. He is also a popular artist in the First City of the Arts Studio Cruise and at Watermark shows and events. Marley is the author of Letters to Isabella: Paintings by Marley Kaul, a highly praised art book that was a finalist in the Memoir category and the winner in the Total Book Design category at the Midwest Independent Publisher’s Association Book Awards in 2015.

Sandy Kaul is a fiber artist who has created over 100 tapestries and stoles for clergy and churches. She was an integral part of the organization that founded Watermark Art Center in 1982 and is currently on the Native American Gallery and BSU Gallery committees for the art center. Sandy is a prominent arts advocate in the region, serving on the founding committees and boards of the City of Bemidji’s Public Arts Commission and the Bemidji Area Arts Endowment. She is a former interim executive director of Region 2 Arts Council and was also the director of BSU’s Talley Gallery for nearly 20 years. Sandy has curated numerous exhibits in the region, including several from the Lanham Collection of Native American Artifacts in BSU’s permanent collection. She was instrumental in helping replace the aging Shaynowishkung (Chief Bemidji) statue with the current bronze sculpture on Lake Bemidji. In 2001 Sandy received Watermark’s annual Friends of the Arts award for her dedicated service to the region’s art scene.

“This was a huge surprise, but we accept this honor with gratitude and humility,” said the Kauls. “It’s been a joy to be involved in the visual arts all these years. The visual artists, art students and art professors that have crossed our paths have truly enriched our lives. We wish the best for the Watermark and to all those who are contributing funds and working so hard to bring this amazing project to completion.”