Friends of the Arts

Due to the continued efforts of our staff to focus on Watermark’s upcoming relocation and fundraising projects, Friends of the Arts has been put on temporary hiatus, along with a few additional programs. We will be re-launching the program once we have fully moved into our new building. In the meantime, we are still accepting applications for Friends of the Arts and will consider all applications once we begin the program again. We apologize for any inconvenience but are looking forward to celebrating Friends of the Arts in our new space!

Friends of the Arts award and banquet  

Instituted in 1989, this event honors a local individual or couple who has given generously of their time to promote the arts in the Bemidji area. These individuals have made significant and sustained contributions to the linguistic, performance, and visual arts of the greater Bemidji area. They are nominated by Bemidji area citizens and then selected by a community panel.

To honor their legacy, a photo of each recipient is displayed in the Bemidji Public Library Community room. Recipients are also recognized at our annual banquet and award ceremony held in their honor in the spring. The awards banquet is open to the public and with advance tickets available at Watermark.

Friend of the Arts nomination forms are available here or by contacting Watermark at (218) 444-7570 or

Watermark would like to recognize the Bemidji Public Library, photographer Monte Draper, writer Patt Rall and Butch Holden, professor of visual arts at Bemidji State University, for their assistance in recognizing our Friends of the Arts honorees.

Previous winners include:

1989 Helen Gill, Arts Patron
1990 Phil and Betty Sauer, Arts Patron
1991 Roewna Deweese,
1992 Betty Rossi, Literature
1993 Paul Brandvick, Music
1994 Nancy and Fulton Gallagher, Music
1995 Mary Lou and Lou Marchand, Arts Patron
1996 Sally James Lehman, Visual Arts
1997 Ione McIntyre, Music
1998 Pluma Kenfield,
1999 Marlon Davidson, All Arts
2000 Ken Wold, Music
2001 Sandy Kaul, Visual Arts
2002 Becky Lueben, Theatre
2003 Roberta Sellon, Music
2004 Ann Hayes, Music
2005 Wayne Hoff, Music
2006 Karen Bradley, All arts
2007 Marie Luoma, Music
2008 Dr Beverly Everett, Music
2009 Greg Gasman, Theatre
2010 Janet Brademan, All Arts
2011 Jim and Marilyn Heltzer, Arts Patron
2012 Patricia Mason, Music
2013 Al and Cate Belleveau, All arts
2014 Ernie and Patt Rall, Arts Patron and Theater
2014 H.B. and Ina T. Roholt, Arts Patron

Logo with PartnershipThe Watermark Art Center would like to thank First National Bank for  their partnership and support of the Friends of the Arts Celebration.