Watermark Art Center has hired Mahnomen resident Karen Goulet as Program Director of the art center’s Native American Gallery, thanks to an Arts Access grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Goulet recently completed her role as the program coordinator of Gizhiigin Arts Initiative, a tribal entity serving artists on the White Earth reservation. In addition to her work as an arts leader, Goulet is also a multi-discipline artist who has been showing art both nationally and internationally for twenty years. She creates a variety of textile art, including needle art, quilt making, surface design, weaving, mixed media, and knitting. Her hand-quilted Star Quilts were recently exhibited at Watermark during last year’s Pine to Prairie Fiber Arts Trail.

Goulet has longstanding ties to the region, with both her parents growing up and attending school in Bemidji.

“After several collaborative events with Karen in the past, we are delighted to finally be able to work with her in a more permanent role,” said Watermark Executive Director Lori Forshee-Donnay. “Her professional experience and enthusiasm for artistic development in our community will help Watermark continue to bring art opportunities to everyone in our region. We are fortunate to have her as part of our organization.”

As Program Director of the Native American Gallery, Goulet will be responsible for the development and orientation of Watermark’s Native American Gallery and related programming. She will also act as community liaison to cultivate relationships with Native American artists and tribal members.

“The creative expressions in our Indigenous communities are vibrant and diverse,” said Goulet. “Bringing an art gallery to the region that is dedicated to exhibiting Native American art is a coming home of sorts, as Bemidji has always been part of our Anishinaabe world. This is particularly exciting to me, as my mother’s family were the first Anishinaabe to own property in Bemidji, over seventy years ago. A lot has changed since then. The Native American Gallery is part of a greater vision for enriching and expanding the arts in our region. I feel very fortunate to be joining the Watermark Art Center staff and look forward to meeting everyone supporting this endeavor.”

Goulet earned her BA in Fine Arts and Cultural Education from The Evergreen State College, her MFA in Sculpture from The University of Wisconsin – Madison, and her M Ed from University of Minnesota Duluth. Throughout her career, she has worked primarily in education, most often with Indigenous institutions and programs.

Goulet is an enrolled member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation. She currently teaches art at White Earth Tribal and Community College and Leech Lake Tribal College.


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.