Art for Life – Ceramic Totems

Over the past 3 weeks, artist Bill Nybo has been working with residents of Ave Maria Village to create colorful ceramic totems. Eighteen residents participated to create the two 3 1/2 foot collaborative sculptures. These works will be on display in the Ave Maria Village community room.

making the clay cylinder

making the clay cylinder

This project had many steps with Nybo and the Arts Center’s Art for Life coordinator, Sally Jeppson constructing the ceramic forms (essentially super-sized beads), then allowing them to leather-dry for handling, carving and embellishing. That’s where the Ave Maria elders began the process of making faces, flowers, abstract designs or whatever their imagination could  provide. They learned the “scratch and slip” method of attaching additional clay parts to their cylinders. Everyone got dirty and seemed to have a fun once they “took the plunge.” The hardest part for everyone was deciding what to do. It’s every artist’s dilemma when confronted with a blank canvas, sheet of paper or unadorned vessel and for the non-artist its even more daunting.


The clay bead/cylinders were then transported back to the Hansen Studio and fired in a kiln. Once this step was complete, they went back to Ave Maria one week later and elders painted them with low-fire, brightly colored glazes. The beauty of these glazes is, the color you see is the color you get, which is quite different from some of the high-fire glazes, that look completely different from what comes out of the bottle. This allowed elders to control how their final design would look. Their glazed pieces then got a clear top coat and went back in the kiln for their final firing.

IMG_4423During the last day of the project the elders were able to see their finished cylinder and the totem was assembled for all to see. The next step will be some fine tuning to make each section more secure and then installation of the art totem in the community space for the enjoyment of all the residents, staff and their families.

This project is part of the Arts Center’s Art for Life program which is funded by the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

FYI: The totem is supported by a cardboard-sleeved, 2″ pvc pipe embedded in a base of quick drying concrete. This sculpture could also be displayed outside in a sheltered location where it wouldn’t be subject to hail damage.

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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JFAA Annual…and the Winner’s Are…

IMG_432651st Annual JFAA Juror’s Choice Awards

  • Best of Show – Bill Harbort, Love and Fear
  • Painting / Mixed Media – Deane Colin Fay, Roots and Rain
  • Photography – Chad Kainz, Roundabout
  • Hand Craft – Jon Offutt, Winter Out by Davenport
  • Drawing – Jennifer Parker, Roots of Bitterness
  • 3D Sculpture – Susan Morrissey, Armored Trophy Wife
  • Youth – Megan Tichy, Eden
  • People’s Choice Award – Will be determined, based on popular vote, at the conclusion of the exhibit.

Best of Show – Bill Harbort, Love and Fear

About the Best of Show Selection:

This year the show awards were selected by a pair of judges–Art Faculty from Valley City State University (VCSU), Armando Ramos and Karri Dieken. They were attracted to the popular culture aspects of this artwork, its narrative quality and its connection to history. It is the type of work seldom encountered in our region and therefor captured the jurors’ attention. Dieken commented on the process,

“It was an interesting experience working with The Art Center and being exposed to the diverse artworks and mediums from the Region. I feel it is important to expose new emerging artists to the possibilities of what art can be, as apposed to the standard expectation of what art is. Keeping an open mind and encouraging future artists to create art as an ultimate goal.”

The artist, Bill Harbort is a professor in the art department at Minot State University. Bill teaches foundation art, graphic design and illustration courses. He is a co-founder and co-organizer of NOTSTOCK, MSU’s signature live arts event that spotlights the arts at MSU and in the community. Prior to teaching, he worked as a package designer for a major cosmetics company, an art director for a children’s educational software company and built a reputation as an award winning automotive artist. He currently freelances as a graphic designer and illustrator and exhibits as a lowbrow collage artist. (Biography MSU Art Department website).

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Join Our Oktoberfest Celebration!

AC_OktoberfestLooking for something fun to do? Mark your calendar for The Arts Center’s Annual Oktoberfest.

Saturday, September 12

5:30 – 9:30 pm 

Fairgrounds Beer Garden

Tickets $25 – Available at The Arts Center, Cork and Barrel, or from an Arts Center Board Member.  Featuring German food, German style beers, music, fun and festivities.

Costumes are encouraged but not required. Must be 21 or older to attend — please enjoy responsibly.

Oktoberfest-Marzen style Beer:

  • Shiner
  • Goose Island
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Paulaner

Non Alcoholic:

  • keg of cider
  • keg of homemade root beer


Bratwurst, french fries, home-made pretzels, home-made gingerbread, German mustard (in the tube!)


  • Beer Boot Relay
  • Hammerschlagen


Accordion music by Victor Wald from Napoleon, North Dakota.

You might ask…”Why is The Arts Center hosting Oktoberfest?” Part of fulfilling our mission is to present and share all art forms, including the traditional arts and celebrations tied to culture. The traditional arts encompass every aspect of cultural traditions; the arts food making, brewing, music, dance, games and merriment.

The home base of all Oktoberfest celebrations takes place in Munich, Germany each year and spans 16 – 18 days running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world’s largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event. As with all Oktoberfest celebrations around the world, quaffing great beer, partying with wonderful, enthusiastic members of the community and celebrating life, German style is what it is all about.





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51st JFAA Annual Exhibit Preview

We’re hoping the Sept/October newsletter hits your mail box in time but just in case I want to make sure you know about the Opening Reception for the 51st Annual.

Saturday, August 29, 2015 • The Arts Center Gallery • 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Jurors’ Comments • 1:30 pm

Here are a few samples of this year’s artwork. Just four pieces that arrived early among the over 85 submissions.:

IMG_4245 (1)

Linda Olson (Minot, ND), Sphinx Moth for Mom, 2014, porcelain, 6″ x 6″ x  7″


Theresa Paul (Edgeley, ND), Orbiters (detail), 2015, handmade jewelry


Mary Craft (Spiritwood, ND), Lioness, 2015, mixed media collage, 12″ x 12″

Megan Tichy (Tower City, ND), Eden, 2015, watercolor, ink, 22″ x 30″. Megan is a youth entry!

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Progress Begins on the Art Park


Former Board member Nick Scherbenske excavating the locations for future park pathways

When driving down 1st Avenue North you might have noticed the space known as The Arts Park is no longer awash with the color of summer flowers but is now the home of heavy equipment and swaths of black dirt. All of a sudden, people are asking, “What’s happening?” Having become accustomed to the pretty green space in the heart of Jamestown, people miss seeing the colorful, living break in the sea of bricks and mortar.

While sadly the flowers are gone, their removal makes way for the final stages of the Arts Park development.

Ever since the Jamestown Fine Arts Association (aka The Arts Center) acquired the adjacent property, once the location of the Orlady Building destroyed by fire in 2005, there have been dreams of an Arts Park. These dreams have been formalized by the input of many people contributing countless hours of input and planning.

“IMAGINE a community gathering space, a living gallery, a place of culture and beauty—the only park of its kind in North Dakota… here in the heart of downtown Jamestown. We envision the Arts Park as an inspirational, destination venue animated by amenities and artworks created by local, regional and national artists. It will be a platform for site-specific installations and ongoing, regular programming including performances, music, movies, traveling exhibitions, food fairs and other events, educational programs, and a community gathering spot. The Arts Park will be a community resource that radiates new energy throughout downtown Jamestown accessible to all citizens, visitors and businesses. It will be an active site day and night in all seasons with programmed and unplanned activities.”

All the dreaming, conversations, collaborations and planning have necessitated a phased approach to the park’s realization. It has taken eight years, and the fundraising and planning will still continue, but thanks to two significant grants, a Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant in 2014 and the recently announced Art Place grant for $240,000 work has begun on the final landscape design. There is an aggressive schedule currently underway to locate designers, architects, artists to create the park’s pavilion (a multipurpose performance, presentation and community gathering structure) and a signature large-scale sculpture. The Request for Proposal on the sculptural feature will soon be on the website but, for now, artists should email to get additional details.

The work now underway, the hardscaping–sidewalks, utilities–is the infrastructure that will allow the park to be more than just a pretty space. Flexibility to do many types of programming is essential to the park’s and what you don’t see underground is key to its future success. The goal for completion of the Arts Park installation is September 2016.

For an additional news on the Park see today’s Jamestown Sun article.

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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Need a Break from the Sun? Chill Out with Art this Week

I don’t know about you, but the 90° weather these past few days has drained me of all energy and left me wanting some “inside” time. Back at the office, I’m marveling at the many opportunities The Arts Center offers to provide some relief from weeding, mowing, fishing, boating, picnicking, canning, repairs, etc., etc.

If you are an artist, you need to get busy preparing (or creating) your artwork for the JFAA Annual. Registration materials are due on August 1. You can submit up to three artworks to this exhibition. “Don’t have a piece ready yet?” Send in your form – label the work “untitled”or “TBD” and get busy creating something. The exhibit is a great way to share your creativity and be part of a 50 year old community celebration of art and artists. If you would like more details on the show click here, 2015Brochure and 2015Form.

11755714_10153468481289281_5817533082270262150_nOn July 31, drop by The Arts Center after work (5:00 pm) to hear 2015 Pulitzer Prize winning author, Elizabeth A. Fenn, reading from her book Encounters at the Heart of the World. “The book focuses on the Mandan Indians, whose Plains culture flourished for centuries on the upper Missouri River…Elizabeth A. Fenn retrieves their history by piecing together important new discoveries in archaeology, anthropology, geology, climatology, epidemiology, and nutritional science. Her boldly original interpretation of these diverse research findings offers us a new perspective on early American history, a new interpretation of the American past.” Read more at

2110924On Thursday, July 30 Monroe Crossing returns to The Arts Center. The show starts at 7:00 pm. A perennial favorite, these world-class bluegrass entertainers are coming back to Jamestown with their newly released album “Because You Asked”. Named in honor of Bill Monroe, Monroe Crossing dazzles audiences with an electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and heartfelt originals. Their airtight harmonies, razor sharp arrangements, and on-stage rapport make them audience favorites across the United States and Canada. More about Monroe Crossing. Tickets are available at The Arts Center: $30 for members / $35 non-members.

19a434a73e34a3a4d6b20df30e236116Finally, there are a variety of art classes offered in everything from Origami to Pointillism, Ceramic Beer Mugs (to use for Oktoberfest on September 12th) to Color Pencil drawing, the full list, descriptions and registration can be found on the Arts Center’s website.



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Mini Art Hunt – Clue Set #2

FullSizeRender-150x150Wow, there are some good hunters out there! Hope you are having fun!

Buffalos 1, 8, 9, 10 and 12 have been FOUND.

Here is the Art Hunt Clue Set 2.

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Let the 2015 Art Hunt Begin!

Here is the 1st set of clues for the Mini Art Hunt. Art Hunt Clue Set 1

MiniArt_ImagesmallCreated by visual artist William Hessian, these little guys are hiding in the Jamestown parks and the Frontier Village, just waiting to be found!

More about William Hessian and his Mini-art hunts:

Remember all mini art pieces are hidden in plain sight – no need to dig or move anything to find them.

If you find a mini art piece please email so we can mark it as found.

Good Luck! At 3:00 pm the second set of clues will be released.

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Hello July, Hello “Artsy” Summer Fun

I can’t believe I’m looking at the calendar and seeing the words July. The Arts Center’s children’s summer arts program is moving along with Week 5 starting on Monday. There are still openings available and selections are varied from Mixed Media Works with Sarah Gamble to Music with Sephra Puffe to Eric Carle Explorations with Jennifer Wentz to Fashion Design with Bonnie Tressler, dance, theatre and more with Sarah Johnson and finally Missoula Children’s Theatre will finish off the “season.”

oboeToday in Jamestown you can not only experience popular culture with the County Fair but also refined culture as The Arts Center we will host The New York Kammermusiker, a double-reed ensemble presenting their 9th Annual Winds of Change Festival Tour. The performance will occur at 6:00 pm at the Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Those 18 years of age and younger can attend for free.  The performance is preceded between 3-5 pm with an opportunity for the public to interact and converse with these talented musicians. Tickets available at the door.

MiniArt_ImagesmallAnnual Mini-Art Hunt will occur Saturday, July 11th and ends when all 12 art works are found! Visit our booth in McElroy park Saturday & Sunday during the White Cloud festivities. 12 unique mini-artworks by visual artist William “Mr. Billy” Hessian will be hidden throughout the Jamestown parks. Four Sets of Visual Clues (photos) to each artwork’s hiding place will be made public: Saturday, July 11th at 10:00 am & 3:00 pm and Sunday, July 12th at 10:00 am & 3:00 pm. The first clues will be the most challenging with the final clues being the most revealing. Clues and details will be posted here and on on the Jamestown Sun website under Area Voices. The Artist will also post the clues on his website: Finders keepers. This original piece of miniature artwork is yours to keep. But Please! keep only one and leave any other artwork you find for the next hunter.

2110924On July 30 The Arts Center will host the ever-popular Monroe Crossing. Named in honor of Bill Monroe, “The Father of Bluegrass Music,” Celebrating their 15th year together in 2015, Monroe Crossing dazzles audiences with an electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and heartfelt originals. Their airtight harmonies, razor sharp arrangements, and on-stage rapport make them audience favorites across the United States and Canada. Don’t wait to get your tickets. Space is limited. Tickets in advance only. Available at The Arts Center beginning July 10th:  $30 members / $35 general admission.

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Meet Our Intern – Cassy Gilbertson

DSCN0676_floatHello Everyone! I would like to introduce myself and provide some brief background information. My name is Cassy Gilbertson. I have been a resident of Jamestown North Dakota for several years and I am currently a junior in the Art Education program at Valley City State University. As a young adolescent growing up in rural North Dakota, opportunities to learn and exercise various types of art techniques were at a dreadfully low quantity. I took it upon myself to research and experiment with different mediums and I realized just how passionate I am about art and art history. Undoubtedly, I became addicted to the research and study of artworks, I couldn’t absorb enough information and I was never satisfied. This ongoing thirst I had developed became an outlet for my emotions also, it prevented me from making horrible decisions that would impact the rest of my life.

Currently, my desire for knowledge is resilient and my abilities have improved in a variety of mediums. I have been referred to as Jack of all trades, Master of none. Nevertheless, I always find myself going back to my favorite medium, painting. I receive a sensation of freedom and relaxation when creating various marks with a paintbrush. However, I do have a new love in my life, ceramics. Thanks to my professor Armando Ramos encouragement, I pushed my skills. I could spend all day, everyday in a ceramics studio throwing clay on a pottery wheel; all I want to do is get my hands dirty. Working with clay sends me into a tranquil state, when I throw I’m at peace. One might say I have an out of body experience.

This summer, I accepted a summer internship working with the staff and artists of the Jamestown Fine Arts Association (The Arts Center). It was suggested that I share any thoughts and experiences that I have encountered at The Arts Center. The staff working at JFAA makes everyone who walks through the door feel welcomed and appreciated. They all strive to make the community stronger through the power of art and enhance art through the support from the community. As a future art educator, I share the same passions and interests and believe that having a strong supportive community will help strengthen art awareness and the benefits an art experience may provide.

I have accomplished various tasks, such as, researching possible art park projects and assisting in the summer art camp for kids. Recently, I helped in the Art for Life program, which was a mobile painting project with artists Jeff Nachtigall and Margreat Sam (a Bharatanatyam dancer). Everyday I am ready for any task the staff has in mind and I set out with a determined, positive attitude. I am grateful for the past and future experiences here at The Arts Center. I would like to say thank you to Cyndi, Angela, Sally and Miranda for letting me in your world and sharing your knowledge.

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