create something extraordinary

Your “mark” will significantly expand the impact of the arts in a bold yet sustainable way. Join your neighbors and friends with a generous gift to Watermark’s Make Your Mark campaign to raise funds to renovate the art center!


Art and art-related events bring in over $3 million to North Central Minnesota, which includes Bemidji and our surrounding communities.

Art is an economic engine that draws tourists to our area to experience local art, stay in hotels or resorts, eat at restaurants and shop in local stores.

Art inspires, educates, entertains and builds bridges by opening minds to different ways of thinking.

Art strengthens our community by bringing regional, local and summer residents of all ages together for events.

the new location

Watermark is located in a 10,000 square foot building at 505 Bemidji Avenue North. The art center recently purchased this location, which includes an adjacent green space and parking lot encompassing a half city block in downtown Bemidji. The renovation will transform Watermark’s ability to become a regional venue for large visual art events, expanded gallery shows and enhanced classroom experiences. It will also provide indoor and outdoor spaces for literary and musical collaborations, plus other art-related events.


An enhanced retail space that sells original work from local and regional artists.

A prominent attractive green space adjacent to 5th Street for concerts, rental events, outdoor classroom space and displays of sculpture or other artwork. With dedicated food truck parking, the space will become a welcoming “front porch” for the community.

Expanded gallery space offering multiple exhibits simultaneously, including one gallery dedicated to Native American art and another showcasing Bemidji State University’s exceptional ceramic and print collections.

An education suite where adults and youth alike can learn new skills through lectures, demonstrations and hands-on workshops.

Rental income and increased collaboration by leasing space to Region 2 Arts Council and Bemidji State University.

A small kitchen/prep room to support special events and programming.

about watermark

For almost 35 years, this member-supported art center has provided gallery space for exhibitions, author readings and workshops. It displays the work of national, regional and local artists in group exhibits, solo shows and installations. Notable Watermark sponsored events include: Art in the Park, First Friday Art Walk, Friends of the Arts Celebration, Creative Spirit Fiber Festival, Spoken Word Series and First City of Arts Studio Cruise.

economic sustainability

Watermark’s revenue streams include: membership fees, retail sales, program fees, donations, sponsorships, grants and rental income. Within the new expanded space, revenue opportunities will significantly increase.

make your mark

The renovation of Watermark and its ability to have a positive economic impact on this region are only possible with the support of enterprising, generous donors. We invite people like you, who are invested in the vitality of our region, to make your gift. With significant funding secured, the Make Your Mark goal is within reach.

Multiple gift and pledge options, including naming opportunities, are available.
Every gift makes a difference.

Donate Now

The Watermark Art Center is moving into a new era of growth and change. This is a reason for celebration. The changes that will take place will bring a transformation that is healthy and enriching to the community. Having been involved in the Watermark for over twenty years on a variety of levels, we urge everyone who supports the arts to make his or her support real.

Marlon Davidson & Don Knudson, Community Artists & Artist Circle Co-Chairs

There can be no end of thanks for those who devote their lives to the betterment of mankind through the arts and art ventures. They contribute an immeasurable service to us all. I know that the new Watermark Art Center will garner accolades from statewide, national, and even international organizations, artists, and critics in recognition of the fine work that has been started and continues to grow.

Patt Rall

Arts are critical in providing the whole measure of goodness to our well-being. The new Watermark facility will provide a significant boost in the development of art in our community.

Jim Bensen


Collectively, artists and leaders of the arts have given over $480,000 to the campaign. The arts community has widely embraced this project.

Artist Names
John Baer
Al & Cate Belleveau
Julie & Paul Bengtson
Jim & Nancy Bensen
Jerry & Janet Brademan
Timothy M. Brockman
Jeff Burger
Melissa Burness
Patty Burns
Kristine Cannon
Dave & Maggie Carlson
Jane & Denny Carlson
Jean Castle
Kyle Crocker
Stacy Crystal
Marlon Davidson & Don Knudson
Lori Forshee-Donnay & Patrick Donnay
John & Emily Enger
Gary & Nancy Erickson
Ron & Bev Erickson
Stacy Bender-Fayette & Jeremy Fayette
Joseph Furuseth & Anna Carlson
Terry Garrett & Ron Mittan
Patricia Kananen Grimes
Marlys & Mike Guimares
Kathy & Dave Gustafson
Julie Adams in memory of June Gustafson
Jeanette & John Halcrow
Robert Hale

Artist Names
Monica Hansmeyer & Mark Morrissey
Ann Hayes
Evan & Elaine Hazard
Gayle Highberg
Natalia Himmirska
Butch & Gege Holden
Lloyd & Virginia Holy
Terry Honstead
Carolyn Jacobs
Deborah Jensen
Ilene Johanneson
Mary Knox-Johnson & Dwayne Johnson
Kathleen Jones
Marley & Sandy Kaul
Chris & Kelly Keenan
William & Patricia Kelly
Joyce Kleven
Maria & Dave Kne
Denise Koch
Frank & Diane Labadie
Kelli & Steven Lein
John Lembi & Lorie Yourd
Fern Letness
Patrick Lochwood & Tom Saga
Patty Lovegreen
Bonnie Lundorff
Pamela Madson
Kristin Majkrzak
Margaret Maxwell
Chuck & Merilee Meyers
Tom & Marilyn Miller

 Artist Names
Barbara Mowry
Marsh Muirhead
Dee Ann Najjar
Shirley Solberg Nelson
Jill & Alexandra Neumann
Maureen O’Brien
Wanda & Robert Odegard
Mike Ohl
Mike Olson
William Petersen & Deborah Steinbar
Diane Pittman
Gayle Quistgaard
Jon & Trish Quistgaard
Ernie & Pattricia Rall
Cal & Pat Rice
Pat Riley & Natalie Roholt
Steven & Margaret Ring
H.B. & Ina Roholt
Les & Kathy Sanders
Mark & Patricia Shough
Kenneth & Kathleen Smith
Bill Smith & Dee Sweeny
Paula Swenson & Gary Thomton
Evonne Sumsky
Anthony Swann
Mike & Shannon Tangen
Dave & Kathy Towley
Will & Rose Weaver
Carol Ann Russel & David Wetting
Gregg & MaryAnne Wilimek
Geri & Jay Wilimek

Watermark Board
Lori Forshee-Donnay, Executive Director
Lorie Yourd, President
Pat Kelly, Secretary
Andy Haskell, Treasurer
Bill Kelly, Emeritus
John Lembi
Beverly Erickson
Deborah Jensen
Colleen Greer
Stacy Bender-Fayette
Lori Forshee-Donnay

Executive Director
Campaign Co-Chairs

Marilyn Miller
Chris Keenan
505 Bemidji Avenue North
Watermark Art Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization