Watermark construction kickoff!

We have some very exciting news to share! Watermark is planning a Groundbreaking Ceremony/Community Pint Night event on Wednesday, April 12. Come celebrate with us as we kick off construction on the new art center!

The groundbreaking will be at 4:30 p.m. at 505 Bemidji Ave N. In addition to tossing the ceremonial ‘first shovel’, there will be a brief message from Lorie Yourd, Watermark’s board president; Lori Forshee-Donnay, our executive director; and Howie Zetah, General Contractor for the project.

Following the groundbreaking, the celebration will continue at Bemidji Brewing Company, where Watermark is the featured organization for the brewery’s Community Pint Night. From 5-7 p.m., $1 from every tap purchase, including beer, soda and coffee, will be donated to the art center. Come enjoy a fun night out, celebrate Watermark’s progress and support a great cause. Be sure to bring your friends – the more, the merrier!

“We’re so excited to have finally reached this stage in our project!” said Lori Forshee-Donnay, Watermark’s executive director. “We appreciate all the support the community has given and hope everyone can come out to the brewery for a fun, celebratory evening.”

Watermark presents Anishinaabe exhibit and workshops during Pine to Prairie Fiber Arts Trail

The 2017 Pine to Prairie Fiber Arts Trail will be held April 21-22. During the trail, Watermark will feature four events/exhibits:

Friday & Saturday, April 21-22

Beading – The traditional and contemporary beadwork of Tom Stillday will be featured at Watermark (516 Beltrami Ave) throughout the trail. Come and meet Tom April 21-22, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Split Ash Basketry
Clyde Estey will lead this 1.5-day introductory workshop featuring the weaving techniques of split ash basketry. Held April 21, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and April 22, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Headwaters School of Music (519 Minnesota Ave.) Participants must be present both days. Class fee: $50. Materials fee: $35. Pre-register by 4/20 here.

Saturday, April 22

Quill Work – Students will create a pair of earrings using traditional quilling and beading techniques in a workshop led by Betsy May. Held April 22, 1-5 p.m. at Headwaters School of Music. Class fee: $30. Materials fee: $25. Pre-register by 4/20 here.

Mixed MediaKaren E. Goulet will host an open workshop session titled ‘On the Surface’ for artists interested in experimenting with assemblage and mixed media materials. Participants are encouraged to bring items of their own for creating a meaningful work of art. Come and go any time on April 22 at Headwaters School of Music. No fee or pre-registration.

Other events featured on this year’s Fiber Trail include:

Keynote Talk – Dancing My Way Home – by Basket Weaver Tressa Sularz. Friday, April 21 at Headwaters School of Music, 7-9 p.m. 
Tressa Sularz
In her talk, Tressa will share how facing serious challenges in her life energized a new body of work. While Tressa’s work has always been organically intertwined with her life, her new work embodies movement and transition; from curving forms suggesting movement, embellished with earthly stones suggesting timelessness to cocoons reflecting on a time of stillness and inwardness with eventual rejuvenation.


Exhibit and Pop-Up Studios at Wild Hare Bistro. In celebration of the rich heritage and contemporary fiber artists in northern Minnesota, Trail members’ work is presented in a month-long exhibit at Wild Hare Bistro (523 Minnesota Ave, Bemidji) from April 1-30.

Trail Locations

Who’s participating in the 2017 Pine to Prairie Fiber Arts Trail Weekend? Check out these great tour stops, open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on April 21-22. Addresses and complete details can be found at the bottom of this page.

Bear Den Handwovens – weaving – Solway – Carrie Jessen

Bare Cloth – Trail Tree Weave – Turtle River – Keila McCracken

Eve Sumsky Basketry – basketry – Tenstrike – Eve Sumsky

Intersections Studio – knotting – Bemidji – Karen-lisa Forbes

Patty Lovegreen Studio – weaving/felting – Solway – Patty Lovegreen

Two Eyes Weaver Studio – weaving – Bemidji – Kristin Majkrzak

Watermark Art Center – contemporary beadwork – Bemidji – Tom Stillday

Willow Wood Market Quilt Shop – rug hooking – Bemidji – Bonnie Lundorff

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This activity is made possible by the voters of MN, through a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Waabanjigaade exhibit at Cabin Coffeehouse

Watermark Art Center presents an off-site photography exhibit at The Cabin Coffeehouse, 214 3rd St NW, downtown Bemidji.

The exhibit, titled Waabanjigaade, will feature natural and cultural profiles by Manidoikwe Devlin and David Manuel. Meet the photographers and learn more about Watermark’s new Miikanan Gallery at the reception, Friday March 3rd from 5-7 p.m. at The Cabin. The exhibit will run through the month of April.

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Watermark names Native American Gallery

Watermark Art Center is thrilled to announce the name of its new Native American gallery, slated to open this fall when current renovations to the art center are complete. The Miikanan Gallery will welcome and promote contemporary and traditional work of Indigenous artists by providing ongoing exhibitions, retail opportunities and educational events for the region.

“Miikanan refers to ‘many paths’,” explained Karen Goulet, program director of the Miikanan Gallery. “The name is a testament to the history of our region. Situated between three Ojibwe reservations, Bemidji is an ideal location for a space dedicated to Indigenous art activities.”

In addition to location and history, the new name is also a reference to the variety of art that will be shown in the gallery. The Miikanan Gallery will exhibit both traditional and contemporary artwork created by Native American artists, including two-dimensional, three-dimensional and multi-media works.

“The name ‘Miikanan’ was chosen by Watermark’s Native American Gallery Advisory Committee,” said Lori Forshee-Donnay, Watermark’s executive director. “It was a process that came about over multiple discussions and meetings held throughout the last few months. We are grateful for their dedication and very pleased with the name they selected.”

Under the leadership of Goulet, the Miikanan Gallery has already begun sponsoring events off-site while waiting for facility renovations to conclude before their official opening. They are also beginning outreach to foster relationships with Native American artists; individuals interested in working with the gallery can fill out the artist registry found on Miikanan Gallery page of Watermark’s website.

“As we prepare to open,” said Goulet, “we will continue to host and promote Indigenous art activities throughout the community. Details for these events will be listed on our website and Facebook page.”

Snow Snakes Competition held at Diamond Point Park

On Friday, February 17, a Gooni Ginebik, or traditional Ojibwe Snow Snakes Competition, was held between Cass Lake-Bena and Red Lake middle schools. The competition took place at Diamond Point Park in Bemidji and was hosted by Leech Lake Tribal College with support from Watermark Art Center and the American Indian College Fund.

img_1803Roughly 40 kids participated in the event. Individual students won first, second and third place medals in four categories: precision, distance, rolling hoops and artistic merit. Cass Lake-Bena took home the traveling school trophy for the third consecutive year. The event was run by Shirley Nordrum who, along with her family, has been organizing Snow Snakes tournaments for the last eight years.

For the competition, students create a “snow snake” by harvesting hardwoods, typically two inches wide, and painting the p1020662throwing stick in fun, creative colors and symbols. The snake is glided down a snow trough or track towards a target ring. Whichever snake stops closest to the center target garners the most points. The game is centuries old and was a popular winter sport played by many Native American tribes in the Midwest.

“This activity is unique in that it creates an intersection of athletics, creativity and
history,” said Karen Goulet, program director of Watermark’s Native American Gallery. “We were thrilled to have the competition in Bemidji and look forward to expanding this event next year.”

Thanks to BSU American Indian Resource Center and the City of Bemidji for accommodations.