Art Park a Finalist for ArtPlace Grant

The Arts Center is pleased to announce that we have been chosen as one of 90 finalists for an ArtPlace America 2015 National Grants Program. The only finalist from North Dakota, we have the opportunity to submit a full proposal to support the Arts Park.

ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration that exists to position art and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.” –  ArtPlace America website

This spring, The Arts Center will be break ground in the next phase of Arts Park development.  A vital space destined to provide a venue for community gatherings and a living gallery complete with sculptural elements, projections, and sound features. The Arts Park will be a place to host cultural events, performances, and community activities. Its programs and features will celebrate the region’s cultural heritage while providing the community with a contemporary public art space like none other.

To be chosen as as an ArtPlace finalist is a great honor for The Arts Center and Jamestown. It recognizes the value of nine years of many contributions, visions and hard work.  Should funding be awarded, the ArtPlace America grant could do wonders to further the community’s vision for the Arts Park.

Fire destroyed the building that once stood where the Art Park will be built. Since the fire, the area was reclaimed and each year volunteers plant and tend the gardens. The space has been wonderful for numerous community gatherings and Arts Center events and programs. ArtPlace funding (if received) will further the vision of a permanent outdoor arts space in Jamestown’s city center.

Representatives from ArtPlace America are scheduled to visit Jamestown and The Arts Center in late February. Your enthusiasm for The Arts Park project is crucial to ensuring that our community is chosen to receive this grant. The Arts Center encourages everyone to show support for the Arts Park. Support can take many forms, grand gestures–like “naming opportunities” are available–but non-cash support is also essential, like creative ideas to generate awareness and time contributed to park efforts. Letters of support from everyone; Arts Center members, families, and local and regional businesses owners are so helpful to letting funders know what the park could do for Jamestown and its residents.

If you wish to help with any means of Park development, contact Cyndi Wish, Arts Center Director at 701-251-2496 or email to find out more details. Send support letters to The Arts Center, PO Box 363, Jamestown 58402, or to Cyndi at the above e-mail.

As the only green or common space downtown, the Art Park and arts programming will reinvigorate a decaying area; tie the community together through shared heritage and pride of place; provide for artistic expression serving as a catalyst for new ideas, innovation and change; and create a community coalesced around a positive vision for development. –from the ArtPlace Grant

ArtPlace project finalists represent communities of all sizes from across the country. ArtPlace’s grantees will be announced in June. For more information about ArtPlace America and the other finalists visit

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
Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wine & Cheese & Art

“Bleu for You” by Javier, oil on panel

To entice you to attend The Arts Center’s Annual Wine & Cheese event I thought I’d share a few appropriate images from Art History.

Still Life by Jose Escofet

Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 7:00 pm – 9:00pm

Tickets $30 available at Cork & Barrel and The Arts Center.

This event provides funding for all programming that occurs at The Arts Center, from classes to exhibits to performances.

Want to see more?

Still Life with Four Dishes and Wine Glasses by Osias Beert

Dishes with Oysters, Fruit and Wine by Osias Beert the Elder (circa 1580-1624)

Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What are your Holiday Traditions?

As I ponder this question, I wonder, “Do I really have any holiday traditions?” I suppose I do, my family always has a tree and the decorating of that tree has been an important time for gathering and reminiscing. Even as an adult I look forward to opening the boxes and unwrapping each precious decoration. I love to see all the old favorites; it’s a time capsule of styles and affinities. It’s like I’m reliving bits of my life over and over again each year and with it an almost childlike enthusiasm for the tree decorating activity.

I see my love of animals and my mother’s love of all things southwestern. I see ornaments that document events, like marriages…even if that marriage no longer exists. I see gifts from friends, now long-since moved far away. I see decorations that document my years in North Dakota like ornaments woven from wheat and barley or rosemaled orbs. And then there are the decorations found in my travels, mementoes of culture from around the globe.

Sadly, I don’t have a tree this year but as I travel will bring something home to adorn next year’s tree and with it all the memories that it will magically recreate when I discover it again.

Whatever your religion or culture, annual traditions can bind family, friends and generations together. Feel free to share your tradition in the comments section I’d like to hear what you do.

For more information on Holiday traditions check out this webpage from the National Endowment for the Humanities: The Gift of Holiday Traditions.

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
Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Give the Gift of Creativity

Looking for the perfect gift?  The Arts Center Education Elves have been hard at work organizing some wonderful classes, workshops and customized art parties that can be terrific gifts for the entire family, business associates or friends.  Gift certificates are available. To register for any of these classes or purchase a certificate call 251-2496 or email

Uncorked Canvas PartyPerfect for a small company holiday or birthday party. Each guest is supplied with paint, brushes, an apron, and an easel for the party. Everyone takes home a 16” x 20” canvas at the end of the night! Feel free to bring your favorite beverages and snacks! $35 member/$45 non-members.  We need a minimum of 5 people to host a party.

Perspective Drawing WorkshopWhether you draw or paint professionally, or just doodle for fun, knowledge of perspective can make your artwork look more realistic and three dimensional. In this easy, step-by-step workshop, you’ll learn the basics of one and two point perspective, including point of view, vanishing points, and horizon line. Also learn how to make some objects look closer to the viewer and others look further away all the while maintaining correct proportions. Plus, you’ll learn ways to draw objects and corners accurately without using vanishing points. Total beginners welcome, all materials provided, pre-registration and payment in advance is required. Four Sessions, Tuesdays in January 6, 13, 20, 27 6:30-8:30. Instructor: Christine Burchill. $50 member/ $60 non-member for all 4 sessions. 18 years and older or home school 11th and 12th grade.

Jewelry MakingThis workshop is a great introduction into the wonderful world of beads! Students will learn about beads, findings and how to use beading tools.  Students will then apply this knowledge to complete a necklace or bracelet that they can wear home! Beginners welcome, 18 years and older, all materials provided. Sign up for one session or multiple sessions, pre-registration and payment in advance is required. Fridays in January 9, 16, 23, 30 and February 6, 13, 20, 27, 6:00 pm. Instructor: Matt Swearingen. $10 members/each session $15 non-member/each session.

Second Saturday- Rumble in the JungleJanuary 10th, 10:30 am-12 pm. Ant Hill Drawing/Butterfly Printmaking. Instructor Jennifer Wentz. Dance, Create, and Learn about a magical, beautiful part of our earth! Each Saturday we will focus on a different aspect of the Flora and Fauna from the Rainforest. Students will gain appreciation for the arts while learning sculpture, painting, mosaic, printmaking, dance, fiber art and mixed media. Remember – Dress for a mess! Sign up for one session or multiple sessions, space is limited and pre-registration is required. Grades K-2. $5 members/each session $7 non-members/each session.

Introductory Knitting WorkshopTwo Sessions, January 13th & 20th. 6:00-8:00 pm Instructors: Linda Christian and Colleen McCoy. During this introductory class, you will learn casting-on, knitting, and binding-off techniques while making your own infinity scarf that can keep you warm all winter! With the materials fee of $15/student you will receive a starter kit including knitting needles, and 2 skeins of yarn, that you will use in class and can take home after. You do not need to bring any of your own supplies just let us know your favorite color choices when you register. Supply fee $15 * student must supply 1st and 2nd color choice. $30 member/$40 non-member.

Painting Fundamentals and Color TheoryThree Sessions, Mondays starting January 12, 19, 26, 6:00-8:00 pm. Instructor: Anna Jacobson. Learn the proper way of preparing your painting surface, stretch canvas, paint mixing and application. Participants will study how to REALLY see color. We will also explore the drawing behind the paint through the use of acrylic and oil mediums. All materials provided. $90 member/$120 non-member for all 3 sessions. $35 member / $45 non member for 1 session.

Pottery Wheel WednesdaysFour Sessions, Wednesdays starting January 7, 14, 28, through February 4. 6:00-8:00 pm. Instructor: Michael Dietz. $120 member/ $160 non-member. This is a great way to find out if pottery making is for you by trying your hand at the potter’s wheel. This series of classes will offer instruction on learning how to center clay, creating cups, bowls, and various vessels. Then trim and glaze your vessels for the kiln. All materials provided.

Artful Happy HourJanuary 21, 5:30 pm. Paint along with Wassily Kandinsky-Farbstudie Quadrate 1913. Instructor: Anna Jacobson. Scheduled each 3rd Wednesday’s of the Month – come to one session or all of them! Materials Fee $10 each date.

Family PotteryJoin us in creating a Festival of Frozen Figures including snowmen and penguins from the warm environment at the Hansen Ceramic Studio! Bring your child to this fun weekend activity of hand-building with clay. Two Sessions, January 24 & 31,  10 am – Noon. Instructor: Bill Nybo. $25 members/ $35 non-members (1 child & 1 adult).

Introductory Watercolor – Four Sessions, February 2, 9, 16, 23, 6:00-8:00 pm. Instructor: Anna Jacobson. Students will be introduced to watercolor essentials: how to handle the paint, color mixing, proper application techniques and more. This class is designed for beginners and all materials are provided. $120 member/ $ 160 non-member for all 4 sessions, $35 member / $45 non-member for 1 session.

Photography  Level 1 – Four Sessions, February 3, 10, 17, 24, 7 pm-8:45 pm. Instructor: Troy Gunderson. Learn the basics of digital photography, what the terms mean, plus techniques that will improve your compositions. You will learn how to use your camera in manual mode and how to adjust the aperture, shutter speed and ISO to achieve photos not obtainable in automatic modes. The main focus of the instruction will be on using your DSLR camera. (Any digital camera is fine, but cameras with adjustable controls are preferred.) $50 for members $60 for non-members.

Fused Glass – Saturday, February 7th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm; Sunday February 8th, 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Instructor: Jaci Trefz. Create two fused glass projects! This informative, fun and rewarding 2 day introduction to fused glass art will walk you through the basic processes dealing with glass compatibility, studio safety, fusing temperatures and glass cutting.  Prior experience not necessary. All materials provided. $35 for members / $45 for non-members.

Introductory Mosaic – Monday, February 9th and Wednesday 11th, 6:30-8:30. Instructor: Bonnie Tressler. I invite you to explore this timeless art-form by studying classical principles and techniques handed down through the centuries by mosaic masters. The class caters to those who wish to learn the beautiful craft of Mosaic and create your own works of art! The class is very informative in all areas dealing with mosaic projects including, design, choosing appropriate substrates, cutting glass and ceramic, mortaring, grouting, and finishing.  A materials list will be provided for you to purchase items ahead of time and bring to class. $30 member/ $40 non-member.

Calligraphy – Friday, April 17th, 2 pm – 6 pm. Instructor: Anne Kaese. This class starts at the very beginning, covering the basic tools and preliminary knowledge of modern, pointed-pen calligraphy and giving you a solid understanding of how to compose a truly unique alphabet! We will learn and practice the rules of letter construction, as well as discuss how to choose the right pens, inks, papers, and other materials necessary for calligraphy. Also, we’ll go over assembling your pen, dipping your pen in ink, understanding ink flow and pressure, basic script lowercase letter forms and developing your own lettering style. $40 member/$50 non-member. With the materials fee of $25/student you will receive a calligraphy starter kit that you will use in class and can take home after, you do not need to bring any of your own supplies.

Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Director’s 1st Week

Challenges & The Promise of Change

Last week we welcomed Cyndi Wish as the new director of The Arts Center. She had to hit the ground running. She judged the Holiday Dazzle parade, had a radio interview with Let’s Talk About It on Monday afternoon, a meeting with superintendent of schools and principals, a park planning and a finance committee meeting. With former director Taylor Barnes helping with the orientation process, there were numerous lunches to meet the people of Jamestown and long hours at the computer going over how things operate.

I’d like to say all this activity is unusual but its close to a typical week. Unlike the rest of the staff who wear 3-4 “hats” in a given day the director wears a dozen or more. Running the Center is a big job, its not a bureaucracy like large arts institutions where everyone can stay in their nitches–here, whatever is needed, the staff or the director steps in to get the job done.

For Cyndi it must be a daunting, yet exciting, to come 1700 miles to a totally new and foreign community where the landscape is different, the values are different, the art is different, not to mention the harsh weather. She has a staff of four to get to know and an already successful Arts Center to lead into through its next milestone–completion of the Art Park and building an endowment to help sustain the whole operation.

She comes with new ideas and a fresh set of eyes that can offer new perspective to make The Arts Center even more successful. It will take time while we get used to each other and Cyndi becomes part of the Jamestown community. We welcome her and look forward to working together with her to make The Arts Center, Hansen Studio and the Art Park the hub of community creativity in Jamestown.

Cyndi Wish, Watching Citizen Kane on 9/11, 2014, collage over reduction print

Cyndi is also an accomplished artist. A small selection of her mixed media collages and a couple of paintings are installed in the Lobby Gallery through January 13. Her collage work is deeper in content than they may appear at first glance and I find them particularly edgy and fresh. Hopefully in the upcoming weeks, we can take a moment to hear what she has to say about these unique artworks.

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 
Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


I can hardly keep up with the designations that been given to the days surrounding Thanksgiving. There is Black Friday, Cyber Monday and today I see there is Giving Tuesday. Joining the pack for frenzied shopping in the stores or online gets us a good deal but I think maybe we are driven to engage in this insanity because it makes us feel like we are part of something big. Even though many countries don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (an American tradition) Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now global happenings with expected spending for the weekend at $36.69 billion!

Just think if that much could be spent today on Giving Tuesday–what wonderful possibilities this would offer the world. Last week I thanked all who have contributed time, money and support to The Arts Center. In the upcoming months we will ask for your continued support in many ways. You could give today and join a global happening called #GivingTuesday. We make this easy on our website Support the Arts. You will also receive an opportunity to help support The Arts Center at the year’s end–look for a letter in your mail box. February 12, 2015 is Giving Hearts Day, a 24-hr giving opportunity for regional non-profits. On this day, gifts of $10 or more to The Arts Center are matched one:one so you are doubling your gift.

Everyone has their favorite causes, organizations, and missions–I encourage you to support them in anyway you can. It’s an exciting time for Jamestown as the community reinvents itself–looking to creative strategies as it transitions for future growth. The Arts Center is a key player in this paradigm shift endeavoring to make the arts central to a healthy 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
Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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


Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“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
Posted in Arts, Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment