Giving Thanks

As we move into the Holiday season, a time of giving thanks, I’m reminded of the many people who make a difference to The Arts Center’s continued success.

When I say success, I mean the ability to offer exhibits, community theater, concerts, festivals, artist residencies and classes for all ages, among other things. Through these activities, we are able to touch so many segments of Jamestown’s community with the beauty, inspiration and fulfillment that only the ARTS can provide.

Many individuals and organizations support Arts Center operations and programs.  Private and public grantors like the National Endowment for the Arts, The Bush Foundation, Arts Midwest, ArtsLab, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Haas Foundation, Burlington Northern, Cargill Cares, Jamestown Tourism, Kinder Morgan, Optimist Club, Sanford Health, United Way of Jamestown, and Walmart have provided funding for programs like the Art Park, Culture Festivals, Caravanserai, Midwest Worldfest, Big Read and Arts After School. Sometimes the funding comes in the way of cash, other times its supplies or even manpower and assistance.

We have over 840 members who support us on an annual basis. These members also support us by coming to programs and taking classes. They share the good work we do with friends and family whereby adding to our support base. They turnout to help get things done when the need arises whether it be weeding in the park or grilling bratwursts for Oktoberfest. Every dollar contributed and man-hour donated helps The Arts Center exist and thrive.

We want everyone to know that we appreciate their support and we thank you for recognizing the importance of the arts to the Jamestown community.

 The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email
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Leaping Buffalo, Swirling Clouds & Northern Lights

Last week Arts Center staff met with Steve Dietz, president and artistic director of is a roving, collaborative, interactive media-oriented arts agency from the Twin Cities for the world. It presents innovative art in the public sphere, both physical and virtual, focusing on artists creatively using technology, both old and new, to engender new relations between audience and artwork and more broadly between citizenry and their built environment.

With piles of accolades under his belt and successful projects completed, Dietz came to help us dream up what we could envision for the Art Park. Looking at Public Art through his eyes gave staff, board, JP Cozby of Red Plum Media (the owner of the “Wall”), Mayor Katie Andersen and Jamestown Tourism director Searle Swedlund a look at art opportunities that take advantage of new technologies. In our digital world, new art forms are born daily and we want to utilize them to activate the park in all seasons.

I left the meeting energized, excited and a bit bewildered. Through the magic of video,  3-D digital projection and cutting edge artistry we discussed ways to make the “wall” a virtual canvas. Imagine leaping buffalo, northern lights, community concerts, sporting games, movies, games and more. Even in his short visit, Dietz gave us important input and perspective. Our park plans were beginning to look like a mishmash of incoherent features. Taking into account so many voices we were trying to combine too many good ideas into one plan. We are refocusing our approach with an eye to artistic cohesion–after all we want the Park itself to be a Work of Art.

As of today, the landscape architect is finalizing plans for the hard-scape walkways and defined spaces. We have identified three major artist-designed opportunities (Stage, Fire Feature and Digital Program). Of course there will be many smaller artist opportunities and we also discussed some exciting avenues to engage Jamestown’s residents in creating art for the park.

Here are some videos that will help you dream up what 3-D digital projection mapping can make possible. What do you imagine could be here? Feel free to chime in. Send us your thoughts at:

 The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email
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What is Public Art?

Integral to The Arts Center’s Art Park planning includes the concept of Public Art. Public Art can mean many things to many people. These opinions are informed by age and scope of experience. Some of us think of statues representing historical figures or memorials, others may envision free standing art like you find in Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden, and others will consider the world’s largest Buffalo in Jamestown or Steele, ND’s world’s largest Sandhill Crane as Public Art. All of these share the stage when it comes to public art.

But today, another player is on the stage. It’s you, the “Public” in Public Art. In a recent discussion on this topic, the speaker emphasized to a gathering of city leaders in Grand Forks, that in any public art venture you must look at the relationship ratio of Public:Art as a minimum 50:50. Fifty percent of the process needs to be public and fifty percent art. Doing it any other way risks failure and negative public opinion.

Michael Murnane with Kevin Kling, Under Ice, Main Street, Northern Spark, 2012 – Imagine Red Plum’s wall “alight” with imagery… describes that “contemporary public art is not simply an aspect of the landscape, [but] expanding to examine the ideas of personal and community engagement, the context and recontextualization of place and fomenting the exchange of ideas and identity within a community.”

The Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant received by The Arts Center recognizes community engagement as essential to the development of the Art Park. Involving the community in the process of art selection and art creation will be ongoing activities during the development of the Park and long into the future.

Next week we’ll explore community engagement projects from around the country and what Public Art can do for a community.

The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email


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“Pheonix-Like” The Art Park Takes Shape

In the past year, much work has occurred on the Arts Center’s Art Park development. The goal is to have a site plan in place so “dirt” work can begin in early spring 2015. The construction of the park has always been envisioned as phased–the core “floorplan” with infrastructure created first, followed by filling the space with art and programming. Think of it like any house building project, build the house but its just a house until you fill it with life (art, personality and people) and it becomes a home. In this case a home for outdoor creativity, contemplation and conversation in the heart of Jamestown.

Even though the Park is technically owned by The Arts Center by its very nature (outside, open and accessible) it becomes public and the aim is to have the space become part of our community fabric–hence the community has a say in what happens there and to some extent its content. The Park’s location and purpose has great potential for defining (or rather redefining) the character of our community and informing subsequent development of downtown Jamestown.

Having witnessed community development activities in other North Dakota towns, there seems to be a strong need for beauty and uniqueness that is found in other parts of the country. Perhaps it is our harsh winters and conservative roots that have hindered this aspect of community evolution and conversely these attributes make us yearn for more. Today, city-scaping with unique, creative, public spaces, can be very attractive to potential developers and businesses. Our Park plans are already capturing attention as they reflect vibrancy and forward thinking attitudes–tipping points for the attracting newcomers–particularly a creative class–so essential for economic development today.

“Even at this early planning stage, I have already been able to use the art park project as a highlight when swaying a potential developer to consider a downtown location. I am very excited about The Arts Park and what it means for our downtown.” —Katie Anderson, Jamestown’s Mayor during park development meeting on 10/22/14.

So far, we’ve breathed life into the site plan based on lots of community input and planning meetings. We’ve contemplated some of what we can hope to do in the space–scratching only the surface. We wrestle with trying to imagine all the programming possibilities so we can provide the necessary infrastructure in the initial site construction–this is no easy task. Creating programming spaces is a brave new world–eons beyond what it would have been 10 years ago–the technological advancements in audio, visual and virtual are countless, exciting and expensive. How to choose? How do we make sure we provide enough flexibility and opportunity to allow for projects/programs yet to be imagined. Fortunately there are people to help.

In the next month, further community, artist, staff and technical experts will meet and finalize the basic site plan. This document will inform the bidding process for backhoes and earth moving to begin this spring. This plan will also be the basis for discussion about which features can be artist-designed or embellished–opportunities for public art both permanent and temporary–features that will define our community’s shared heritage and pride of place.

Next week look for a discussion on Public Art and I’ll share some insights on how Grand Forks, Bemidji and other regional communities have added public art to their neighborhoods, streets and buildings. This stage of the process is a journey that will reinvigorate Jamestown–so grab a backpack, some sneakers and lets make history–the key to success will be your input and enthusiasm.

The development of the Art Park is funded in part through a Community Innovation Grant from The Bush Foundation with additional support from ArtsLab, a program of Arts Midwest.

The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email
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Share Your Artful Pumpkin – Win a Family Membership

Its that time of the year–mornings are crisp, wood smoke is in the air and we are heading to the pumpkin patch. At The Arts Center we love any kind of creative fun, especially opportunities for the entire family, so we’re launching a Fall Pumpkin Challenge.

We encourage you and your family to create wonderful, artful pumpkins. They can be traditionally carved or painted or whatever you can come up with to make your pumpkin stand out.  All we ask is you email photo of your creation to The Art Center at  We will then post them to an album on our Facebook page. There you can comment on what you think of the pumpkins and by October 31 vote on your favorite.

If you aren’t a Facebook Friend of The Arts Center please “LIKE US”.

The Winner–the creator(s) of the pumpkin with the most votes–will receive a one-year Family Membership to The Arts Center.

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Remember, you can use gourds and other squashes if you wish. I’ve got a fat, little yellow squash that will be my “canvas” its too big to eat and this is a perfect way to use it.

The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email


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The Rise & Return of Handmade

The Arts Center has a new “tool” in its arsenal of art-making equipment. I say new but in actuality it is vintage–a original Heidelberg Platen (the “Windmill”) Letterpress.  In its day it was revolutionary, automating sheet feed and delivery. The beauty of the press’s productions comes in the form of its crisper impression into the paper, giving greater visual definition to the type and artwork. Letter-pressed invitations, posters, labels and artwork are increasingly sought these days as elegant and sophisticated alternatives to mass-produced printed materials.

The future of handmade is not simply about an aesthetic or a set of tools or practices, then, but a system of beliefs, or an ethic about ways of working that upholds quality, craftsmanship and innovation. The handmade in design is bound up with wider cultural changes relating to consumption.

The rise in book arts, all things vintage and handmade makes The Arts Center’s new press a wonderful addition. Installed in the basement of the Hansen Arts Studio its ready to make its first print. To help educate staff and those interested Todd Thyberg of Angel Bomb, a full-service design and letterpress studio located in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis will demonstrate print-making with the Heidelberg. Several of the activities are open to the public and visitors are welcome to come and see the press in action and receive a freshly printed souvenir.

Letterpress Demonstration and Instruction

  • October 2nd and 3rd at 1:00 pm open to the public,
  • $ No Charge
  • Want in-depth knowledge? Attend the training on October 4th and 5th from 9:00 am-5:00 pm. Please call 701-251-2496 if you wish to participate.

A Grand Opening event will occur this winter once the press is fully operational and several trained technicians are in-place. After that, look for new classes and programs to occur.

Thoughtful Links:

Letterpress Printing

Letterpress on Pintrerest

Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Rise of Craft

Future of Handmade Design

The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email 
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JFAA 50th Annual Art Show Awards

Best of Show, Sue Morrissey, “Exposed”

If you missed the reception for the 50th last Friday there was a great turnout of people and many positive comments about the exhibit. The highlight of the festivities was the announcement of the Jurors Choice Awards and the commemorative art give-away that generated much excitement with over 20 people receiving a piece of art.


Best of Show – Sue Morrissey, Exposed

Mixed Media - Sabrina Hornung, Dance Me to the Moon

Photography – Lynda Thronsedt, Progress and Preservation

Printmaking - Brian Paulsen, Revenna Reply

Painting Award, Karen Bakke, “Pazazz”

Painting - Karen Bakke, Pazazz

Drawing - Jennifer Parker, Frame Rotation

Sculpture – Deane Colin Fay, Reeds

Honorable Mention

Theresa Paul, Embrace

Jon Offutt, Out West of Here

The Juror, Linda Whitney discussed each of her choices and mentioned that she was particularly moved by pieces that “had a narrative quality”. She noted that many mediums were under-represented and therefore could not give a prize in these categories. Because of this Whitney selected two honorable mention prizes that highlighted commendable pieces in glass and jewelry.

2014 Annual Show Brochure

Thanks to all the artists who participated in the exhibit and especially to those who donated a commemorative artwork. Thanks also to Ottertail Power for sponsoring this 50th year exhibit.

Thanks to Ottertail Power for supporting the 50th Annual Exhibit.

The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email
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Celebrate The JFAA Annual Exhibition’s 50 Years

Come Celebrate and if You’re Lucky            Receive a Commemorative Piece of Art

Next Friday, September 12 at 5:30 pm we are asking you join us to celebrate The Arts Center’s JFAA Annual Art Show becoming 50 Years old! This is an amazing accomplishment for a community art show and definitely worthy of a party!

There will be good food, beverages, fun conversations and … wait for it…. the opportunity to have a chance at receiving a piece of art to take home.  Some artists have generously agreed to donate a small artwork in commemoration of the 50th event. Some of these artists are exhibiting in the Annual but some are just willing to celebrate with us.  I won’t know how many “chances” for artwork will be available until the last minute but we encourage you to attend.

50th Commemorative artwork titled, “Opening,” a collage. Donated by Vicki Kessler and Donna Kjonaas. Some lucky ticket holder will take this piece home.

Maybe you are wondering … tickets required…$10 (member) or $20 (non-member) to attend an opening preview? Why pay when you can see the show anytime?  Ok, first, I think you should attend regardless of the perks, ’cause, well, its just good fun to hang out at the Arts Center! But here is my pitch….In addition to getting a chance to take home an artwork by purchasing a ticket you are actually helping the artists. Artists who donated an artwork had their entry fees waived. These entry fees help support the Juror’s Choice awards that will be given on Friday night. Your ticket fees will help offset those fees.

Another “perk” for ticket holders.  You get the first pick to purchase art. There will be some choice pieces exhibited and this is a great opportunity to purchase original artwork. There is too much mass produced, over priced junk in the marketplace – why not, purchase something “real”.

  • 5:30 pm Preview Begins
  • 6:15 pm Juror’s Comments and Awards Announced
  • 6:45 pm Commemorative Piece Drawing

Ok, we know there are other events in Jamestown Friday evening (University of Jamestown is having a kick-off for the Performing Arts Series) Don’t miss either event…attend them both, double your fun and support community arts.  Just remember the drawing for the donated mini artworks will be held at 6:45 pm.

Thanks to Ottertail Power for supporting the 50th Annual Exhibit.

The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email


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Glass Blower Coming to Jamestown – Come see Jon Offutt

This year with the help of Jamestown Tourism we are able to host long-time Fargo artist Jon Offutt as special, featured “entertainment” during tomorrow’s community block party.

Thursday, August 28
1 pm demo
2 pm demo
3 pm demo
5-8 pm continuously blowing

Every year, The Arts Center contributes some kind of arts activity to the event. Past years we have allowed the community and Jamestown College students to play in the mud (a.k.a. play with clay and try their skill at the potters wheel). This year we wanted to do something special as we celebrate the last Art in the Park gathering of the summer.

Offutt will be set up in the park adjacent to the Arts Center on the corner of 2nd Street SW and 1st Avenue SW (281).  Look for our tall, new, colorful banners flags.

Don’t like crowds? You don’t have to wait until the block party to see Offutt at work. To be hot enough to blow glass by Thursday afternoon Offutt will fire up the furnace on Wednesday night.  Rather than waste time and fuel with a hot furnace, Offutt will be able to do several demonstrations at 1, 2 and 3 pm for anyone to enjoy.

A bonus, Offutt will also bring some of his finished glass vessels – they will be on display and for sale in the Arts Center’s Lobby all day Thursday.

Even though Offutt is a glass artist working with materials heated to temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit he isn’t apprehensive about having visitors in his workspace; he is very comfortable creating beautiful glasswork in front of an audience. Jon has been working at his art for over 30 years and to watch him create vessels from molten glass is a unique, not to be missed experience. 
Everyone who visits the demonstrations should leave their name, address and phone number to be entered in a drawing for one of Offutt’s glass art pieces. 
When not touring the country in his Mobile Glassblowing Studio, Jon Offutt is busy as the owner and operator of the House of Mulciber Glass Studio. – you can find him on Facebook.
The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email 
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Like Quilting? Have Lunch – Meet the Artists

The current exhibit in The Arts Center’s gallery is titled Land, Sky, Water. The artwork provides a look at new and different ways to approach textile art-combining quilting, fiber and found objects. There is hand sewing, machine sewing and embroidery combined in each piece. The colors are vibrant and the textures are rich. The pieces emerge from many collaborative hours between two artists, Donna Kjonaas and Vicky Kessler.

Read more in the Jamestown Sun article.

Tomorrow, August 21 at NOON the Arts Center is hosting a lunch and an opportunity to meet these two artists.

The lunch is free – sponsored by Jamestown quilt shop, Comforts of Home. Call the Arts Center immediately, 701-251-2496 to RSVP if you would like to have lunch with the artists. Everyone is welcome and Sally’s making Curried Chicken Salad.

The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email



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