Seeking Participants – Artists, Local Farmers and People to Enjoy the Fun!

On July 26 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm The Arts Center will host this summer’s 2nd Art in the Park event–the focus–Local Arts and Foods. I’m so excited about this theme, it is near and dear to my heart. I can think of no better pairing of my most favorite things.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed visiting farmers markets while living in California and more recently I’ve enjoyed summers of Art in the Park events in nearby Gackle, ND and also here in Jamestown.  My favorite farmers markets (and likewise park events) include not only fresh, locally grown and produced foods but recipes, unique crafts and wonderful music.

Here in Jamestown we have a small, but good, farmers market.  I hope you can visit it often to enjoy healthy, fresh food and also help support our local, small farmers. In case you don’t know about the market…it occurs in the Jamestown Civic Center parking lot on Wednesday evenings starting at 5:00 pm and Saturday mornings at 9:00 am.

The event on the 26th will be more sensory, social, educational and festival-like. We plan to close the street between the Art Park and The Arts Center–food vendors, demonstration tables, artists, and organizations will be scattered throughout the park. The afternoon will culminate with the Jamestown Chamber’s Chef’s Challenge. (Contestants must create a dish from provided local ingredients.) If you want to know more about the Chef’s Challenge please contact Lisa Hicks at Jamestown  Chamber of Commerce at 701-252-4830.

If you want to participate as an artist (visual or musical), or if you want to sell your produce, canned goods or flowers you should contact me, Sally Jeppson at 701-251-2496 or email I would also like to hear from anyone willing to volunteer their help during the event.

We hope to make the event on the 26th an annual occurrence, and perhaps as the city evolves, this model of festival farmers market can become a more frequent occurrence. This year’s event is supported by Jamestown  Chamber of Commerce and Jamestown Tourism.

I hope I have something to share from my garden…right now its a bounty of baby squash and multicolored peas…July will be herbs, beans, currants, gooseberries and lots of other options. If we could only have some hot summer nights to get those wonderful ruby red, orange and yellow tomatoes, the jewels of summer, to grow big and strong.

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


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Horseradish, Sauerkraut and Playing the Bones

The summer’s first “art in the park” became “art in the gallery” due to the soggy conditions and wind but that didn’t stop people from attending Saturday’s event. The turn out was terrific! Every time I looked around I saw another familiar face, neighbors and friends. And most people came and stayed almost the entire 4 hrs, it was amazing. The event explored Germans from Russia traditions. GFR desendants are an important part of our community’s cultural fabric and this was an opportunity to gather and share.

Being forced inside worked to our advantage, comfortable seating, no bugs, no wind, good sound and a “closeness” that made it feel especially festive. I’m not sure what got everyone to attend, maybe it was the ever-popular food provided by the James River Chapter of the Germans from Russia, cultural familiarity or the opportunity to have something different to do on a blustery day but I was happy lots of folks turned out.

Processing the roots.








I had a great time. I was particularly interested in the horseradish demo conducted by Thomas Boerger & Jerry Braun. I found them literally by accident, someone overheard me looking for horseradish root and mentioned that these two guys made the BEST horseradish and that I should call them. Turns out the roots are only harvested in the fall but they are available on-line from J.R. Kelly Company, The Horseradish House, located in the Horseradish Capitol of the World, Collinsville, Ill. Thomas and Jerry came through for us and the result was terrific. Many people went home with a sample. If you plan to try this at home make sure you do it outside or in a very well ventilated location as the fumes will literally burn your eyes and lungs – its powerful medicine, good food and good for you.

Another highlight for me was the Sauerkraut Making Demo. I ordered a case of cabbages thinking that would be just the right amount…opps! It was a little overkill. Using a recipe that makes kraut in a mason jar we found that about one cabbage fits in a quart jar depending on the size. I also found out right away that this activity is not for the weak –its a great upper body exercise having to smash that shredded cabbage into the jar. I’m glad I was doing the shredding and not the smashing. But I got my chance and ended up taking nine cabbages home and was able to do my own smashing & mashing.  They are now fermenting in a crock on my kitchen counter. I’ll let you know how that goes…and I now have an even greater respect for all those finished jars sitting in my neighbors root cellars and pantries.

I also learned about “spoons” or “bones.” The bones are a musical instrument (more specifically, a folk instrument) which, at the simplest, consists of a pair of animal  bones, or pieces of wood or a similar material. My neighbor Harlin brought his bones (made of ebony and belonging to his grandfather) and stepped in to perform with the scheduled accordion players. Through his almost indiscernible hand movements the tapping of the bones created a wide variety of percussive sounds which added to the performances.

This is the first of three days this summer where we will gather in the Art Park (weather permitting) to share in the Arts. July 26 is the next gathering – it will be a farmers market-like atmosphere with sales of fresh, locally grown and produced foods and the sharing of recipes, unique crafts and wonderful music. The afternoon will culminate with the Jamestown Chamber’s Chef’s Challenge. Contestants must create a dish from provided local ingredients. If you are interested in participating as an artist or sharing your produce please use my contact information below.

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

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Sharing the Joy

Last week we finished up Clay in May, an Art for Life activity, that took place at Jamestown’s Heritage Centre. During three sessions, local ceramic artist Bill Nybo worked with residents to create clay “flower pockets.” I dreamed up this project last winter when I was wishing for spring flowers and warming trends.  It was a great project because it had many steps and multiple days. Everyone, including myself, looked forward with anticipation to the transformation of the art pieces with each firing, glazing and retiring. The finished projects were amazing! Some were traditional and some very sculptural.

It was so much fun we are already thinking about the next project. Here’s a look at the process and some of the finished projects.

The Art For Life programs are made possible with a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts. This on-going program allows The Arts Center to share art and artists with residents of Jamestown’s Ave Maria Village and Heritage Centre.

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

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The latest Art for Life Program was a poetry reading by Madelyne Camrud. I’m still processing her presentation– a powerfully emotional reading of poems from her latest book Oddly Beautiful. Through both graphic and beautiful metaphor these poems share Madelyne’s journey of losing her husband to Alzheimer’s. I was disappointed that more people weren’t able to attend her reading. We are given few opportunities to hear an author read their own work and poetry especially should be read out loud. The imagery comes to life with inflection and who better to read it than the original writer.

Madelyne’s subject matter may have scared some people away–too depressing, too dark, too sad–but that wasn’t the case. There were highs and lows–tears were shed by audience and reader–but there was intense beauty and an understanding of a love story between husband and wife of 51 years. The art of poetry provided the author the means to share their love and cope with her husband’s illness.

This reminded me that Art is Cathartic. Catharsis or the purging of emotions or relieving of emotional tensions can be effectively achieved by doing art. Release through art can take the form of writing like Madelyn has done or it could be painting, sculpting, drawing, or music. There are not many things we can use to release tension and stress that can also tell a story. Some people take medication which doesn’t cure the issue, some people exercise but not everyone can do this, but with the ARTS it can be done by any age, cognitive or skill level. Unlike any other activity the ARTS are truly for LIFE.

Copies of Madelyn’s books are available at The Arts Center. Whether you are a poetry lover or are losing a loved one to demensia or Alzheimer’s the book would be a valuable resource. The book itself is cathartic.

Madelyn gave two readings, one for elder residents of Heritage Centre and one for the general public. Her time in Jamestown was funded through an Art For Life grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts. This on-going program allows The Arts Center to bring artists to Jamestown’s Ave Maria Village and Heritage Centre to improve their wellbeing.

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

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Some Projects Just Shine

I shudder when confronted with projects that I know are going to test my patience. I don’t often get grouchy but when I was approached to hang 205 individual wood assemblages I was dreading it.  All the usual questions were swirling around in my head: where will I install this, how am I going to hang these simply, what will support their weight (after all they were created from a bunch of wood blocks), they’re all painted white, will they look decent on our cream walls? And the list goes on!  To top it off there was only one day to get them installed. Yikes! With the help of lots of velcro and many, many, many trips up and down the ladder the installation is complete and its AWESOME!

Please come see this monumental undertaking–through mid June

This project has all the bells and whistles that make it perfect example of Culture Builds Community. It started with an art exercise but became much more. It required donations of materials all which were cast offs (so this was a reuse and recycle project). It required volunteers to assemble project kits (a bag of miscellaneous sizes and shapes, enough to create each student panel). It included youth, seniors, teachers, and staff. The finished sculpture will delight students, families and everyone who visits The Arts Center. The project taught students Art History, the Principles of Design and the lessons of working together for a common goal. It taught me, once again, that oftentimes it is the most difficult of tasks that become the most rewarding. Just to see the progress of the sculpture as it grew with each individual panel becoming part of the larger whole was enough to make me forget sore hands (stapler fatigue) and tired legs (an endless day of climbing and squatting)!

How did this project occur? During April and May, Artist in Residence, Bonnie Tressler worked with elementary students to create a final project that incorporated the cumulative creative, design and artistic concepts they’ve learned over the year. After studying the work of Louise Nevelson, each student created their own 8 x 10″ wood assemblage. All of these individual projects were collected and are now installed as one large group wall sculpture on The Arts Center’s stage wall.

  • Participants: All 5th grade elementary students plus St. John’s 6th graders and The Arts Center’s Arts After School kids.
  • Total Number: 205 individual projects
  • Donations received: Wood pieces from John Steiner and Progress Enterprises
  • Volunteers: Phyllis Ibes, Vicky Bossart, Verna Mae Leno, Dina Laskowski and Sandy Barnes.

Thanks to everyone who made this project possible and the ongoing support of the North Dakota Council on the Arts which provides The Arts Center with on-going institutional support and funding for its resident artists.

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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Don’t Miss Out on Summer Arts for Kids

The Arts Center’s youth art classes don’t end with close of the school year, in fact, they increase. The summer 2014 offerings are many and available to a broader age group than arts after school.

As I look at the schedule I’m wishing I was a kid–there so many fun classes planned. Master ceramicist Memo Guardia returns to teach the first June session called Clay Figurines. If you remember his exhibit you know how talented he is in creating sculpted clay figures and in this class he’s sharing his expertise. He returns in July to “get magical” with students to create staffs and wands.

“Printing a fish” during the Days of Culture in 2011. This activity called Gyotaku was a highlight of the festival.

Koinobori or fish kites

Arts After School instructor and Artist-in-Residence Anna Jacobson will be teaching Plein Air Painting and a Fish Art Camp. One week kids will learn to “paint like the masters” out-of-doors and the next week they’ll travel to Japan to explore the traditional arts of Koinobori and Gyotaku.

For the Drama, Music and Dance kids there will is a Musical Theatre Dance Camp, Junk Yard Band, So You Think You Can Dance, and Spanish Dance Fiesta. We finish the summer with a Missoula Children’s Theatre and the production of the Pied Piper.

With the exception of Missoula Children’s Theatre, each camp has 2 sessions–morning 10am-noon or afternoon 1-3pm depending on age. Registration and prepayment for camps is mandatory and early signup is strongly encouraged as these classes are very popular. Call 251-2496 to register.

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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Art For Life Update

Spring is a busy time for Art For Life activities at the Heritage Centre and Ave Maria Village. Funded by the North Dakota Council on the Arts, the Art for Life program brings artists and arts activities to senior living centers. Designed to be both fun and therapeutic, the activities aim to alleviate boredom, loneliness and helplessness which can be prevalent conditions for the elderly.

On May 14, artist Bill Nybo will kick off “Clay in May” with Heritage Centre residents to build simple, ceramic plant containers. They will make a pot, vase or wall hung container. Participants will use slab techniques to create their vessels. The following week, after the first “firing”, their projects will be glazed. And one week later we’ll enjoy a planting party to fill the vases and pots with spring blooms.

On May 28, at 2:00 pm, Madelyne Camrud will read from her publication Oddly Beautiful. This collection of her poems was inspired by her husband’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. She leads readers through a meditation on love, reflection, loss, and grief. Her poems reveal light in unexpected places, from graffiti-splashed walls to a lone bird perched on a winter branch. These images bring hope to dark times, showing us life is oddly beautiful. Her experiences and the discussion will be benefical to residents who are experiencing similar senarios.

Camrud’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Kalliope, Painted Bride Quarterly, Descant, Soundings East, Water-Stone Review and in the anthologies Prairie Volcano and The Talking of Hands. Camrud is the author of “The House is Filled with Cracks,” a “Minnesota Voices” prize winner in poetry, published by New Rivers Press in 1994. Two of her poems were chosen to airon Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac. In the spring of 2004, North Dakota Poet Laureate Larry Woiwode named Camrud an associate poet laureate of North Dakota.

Hear Madelyne recite from Oddly Beautiful.

Camrud will also do a luncheon reading on Thursday, May 29th, 12:00 pm at The Arts Center. RSVP by May 23 to ( if you would like to purchase lunch for $3.00, or you can bring your own lunch.

On June 4, Sally Jeppson will facilitate a TimeSlips activity with Heritage Centre residents. This is a group storytelling method that utilizes compelling photographic images to create a story. A facilitator asks open ended questions about the photo and all responses are recorded thus creating a story. For our stories we will use images from the publication, Sundogs and Sunflowers: Folklore and Folk Art of the Northern Great Plains. Here is a TimeSlips story that was created at Maryhill Manor in Enderlin.

Foxing Around in the Snow

Playing Fox and Goose in the snow at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. This is a one room schoolhouse with outhouses. It’s a hazy, cold, snowy day–they are running fast to stay warm. Poor girl has to play with all those boys. Its recess, they are strategizing how to win game and having fun outside. They are wondering if grandma and grandpa will give them hot chocolate and wondering about potato and lunch on the schoolhouse stove.

Teacher is watching and she’s cold. If she were inside she would watch from the window. Cherie goes out and rings the bell to come in. The kids say, “Not Yet!”

The girl is Persilla, she is running “slowly” away from the boy, maybe she wants him to catch her and kiss her. Tomorrow they will play Red Rover, Red Rover Send Persilla Right Over. Jim Bob will call her over; he wants her to be his wife with 10 children—that’s why she is running!

The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson. Jeppson is also the Arts Center’s Art for Life Coordinator. She would love to hear your comments here or email

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Best Laid Plans–Thinking Ahead in the Digital World

I’m not sure whether this is a bad thing or a good thing. You may remember my #EmbraceWinterMovement Challenge. The idea was to get people outside and moving despite the cold weather and to document that “movement” with a artful photographs that I could then utilize to create a small exhibit/installation.

We had 32 participants, some active and some passive. There was a core group who were dedicated “documenters” but in the true fleeting fashion of cyber world projects, photographs were taken, posted and trashed to make room on phones and tablets. This left me with tiny resolution digital images that couldn’t be reproduced in anything larger than a thumbnail–thus the “wall-hung” version of the exhibit won’t happen.

I can share the digital version and I thank all those hardy participants who logged their efforts which included winter running, snowshoeing, snow shoveling, farm chores, dog walking, roof raking and ice fishing. Some of the photographs made me laugh, like the picture of a hand with a blister forming from too many shovel scoops of ice and snow–how many times have I been in that same situation. I enjoyed all the images of the canine exercise partners who are so dedicated to accompanying us on our outings. The charming photograph of the boots all lined up after a spring romp in the mud is one of my favorites and another image which shows a participant inside a grain bin with the caption, “Cleaning bins is a good workout, using the grain vac. Sure beats the days when we just used shovels and the air would be thick and choking. Love farm life!” is so appropriate to living in North Dakota.

From what I can tell there were participants from North Dakota, California, Indiana, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado. Even the Californian had to bundle up to get the job done–our unseasonable cold weather meant that the EmbraceWinterMovement Challenge went into months typically reserved for spring.

I liked this project and even though it didn’t turn out exactly as planned, the camaraderie of the shared experience (remember the term Creative Engagement) had people interacting (albeit in cyberworld) to accomplish a shared goal.

Thanks again goes to Honey Stingers for their very generous contribution of prizes.  Their products are all natural foods designed for athletes and great for anyone looking for a healthy snack. Honey stinger is pure natural energy derived from honey harvested in North Dakota!

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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Spring Fever, Pen Pals & Art For Life

Hopefully this week we will finally be rid of winter. I think the fact that my first plant order arrived yesterday is a good sign. Of course, my much anticipated purchase of the Over-the-Top Dahlia Extravaganza Collection, was left on the doorstep for, who knows how long, in below freezing temperatures. The thought of these 8″ plus blooms has me dreaming of summer so I hope they weren’t damaged!

I mention the flowers since I know everyone is thinking about warming trends and spring fever is making everyone feel a little happier. I see and feel peoples’ spirits lifting and I’m confident that there is definitely a connection with the changing season.

Spring means the school year will soon come to an end. Yesterday I stopped by the Heritage Centre, our Art For Life partner site, to see over 40 Roosevelt School 4th graders visit their pen pals. The youngsters have been writing to their “pals” since the 3rd grade. As the end of the school year approaches they wanted to do something special for their adopted grandparents. They sang three songs and played their recorders for a fourth song. The gathering’s energy was infectious and happiness was abundant. The singing was terrific and it was clear that the students prepared long and hard for the performance.

Roosevelt 4th Graders perform for their Heritage Center Pen Pals.

The Pen Pal program has been emensly successful and far exceeded its goal to get kids writing and provide creative engagement for care center residents. Funded by the North Dakota Council on the Arts, the Art For Life programs, here in Jamestown and in 10 other state communities, brings artists and art to eldercare centers to help alleviate the loneliness, boredom and helplessness.

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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This & That @ The Arts Center

There is always something happening at The Arts Center. I touch on some of those activities in this blog and tell you about projects that are in-the-works. What you miss is the follow-up. The “what happened with this or that project?” So here are a few updates.

The 2nd ACT Community Theater group is hosting the production of Relative Values this week. The opening performance was on Thursday evening (March 27). I haven’t seen the show yet but those who have say its great and very different from previous productions. Lasting over 2 hours, the cast has done an amazing job of learning the demanding script. This all-volunteer group has rehearsed for three months for three shows–that shows amazing stamina and dedication. Their work and the proceeds from the ticket sales help support Arts Center programs. We appreciate their hard work!

The FM Ballet Company is the only professional ballet company in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Some of the dancers took a break from rehearsal to pose with Flat Stanley.

Remember Flat Stanley? I almost want to say that Flat Stanley fell flat. There was a ton of response to this blog post but I have only received one photograph. Here is a reminder and I encourage you to get involved. Its a fun way to share what’s happening with the Arts in North Dakota.

Carmen Rath-Wald (Logan County Extension Agent)
Who needs a stair stepper when we have ladders to climb?

#EmbraceWinterMovement Fitness and Exhibit Challenge is coming to a close on March 31st. The 32 participants have worked hard and I’ve received some fun photographs relating to people’s activities out and about getting their winter workouts done. Here are a couple local examples from the project. 

Sherry Niesar: Flying through the field with my dog, Zeus

Andrea Carper’s work on display at JRMC

The Arts Center continues to work with Jamestown Regional Medical Center to feature regional artists in their Rotating Artist Gallery. Jamestown artist Andrea Carper’s is now showing through May. Her paintings explore abstraction in both portraiture and landscape-like imagery.

If you would like to be considered for display please contact me at the email below. In June, the work of Doc & Caroline Hagen will be displayed.

Happy Hour with Gordy Pratt

The Art for Life Program continues at Jamestown’s Ave Maria Village and Heritage Centre. After a winter slow down we are planning lots of fun arts activities for the upcoming months. We kicked off the “spring” with a Gordy Pratt’s performance during happy hour–it was great to see such terrific attendance at over 85 people! 

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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