Spring Fever

Yes, its not even May 1 and I’ve launched into full fledged “spring fever”. Defined as “a feeling of restlessness and excitement felt at the beginning of spring” we northerners feel this condition more than most. We are anxious to get outside, shed our winter coats and play in the sunshine.

The past few days of rain (while much needed) have dampened my enthusiasm so today I looked to the cyber world to get an infusion of spring. And what better to do this than extraordinary works of art that capture the season. Here are a few that I liked most. Interestingly, four of the artworks I selected were part of an international on-line art show–the work was amazing, check it out: https://www.art-competition.net/Flowers_Of_Spring.cfm

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 or email sjeppson@jamestownarts.com.

Ambrosius Bosschaert (1573–1621), Still-Life of Flowers (1614)

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Ode to Bluegrass

Tickets are still available for Saturday’s upcoming Bluegrass performance, $5 for members/$10 for general admission, 7:00 pm.

Thinking about the show got me thinking about the color blue. A little research provided the following facts.

  •  One of my favorite artists was part of The Blue Rider group (Der Blaue Reiter). A number of avant-garde artists living in Munich. The most important of these were the Russian born Wassily Kandinsky and the German, Franz Marc. In December 1911 the artists held the first exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter group.
    • Picasso's Old GuitaristPicasso’s Old Guitarist

    The Blue Period is a term used to define the works produced by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso between 1901 and 1904 when he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors.

  • Prussian blue was created by accident in 1704 – basically a contaminated chemistry experiment.
  • True blue, royal blue, ultramarine: during the Renaissance, these were all names for the most prized of all pigments, lazurite, derived from the semiprecious mineral lapis lazuli.
  • The blues music is based on a  type of music called ‘the blues’. Blues music expresses the frustration, loneliness and bad luck of folks in trouble. The music is slow and melancholy in which songs often are about difficulties or bad luck.
  • There seems to be a reliable trend of increasingly blue paintings throughout the 20th century.  A Swedish researcher found the hottest color in art over the past 100 years is blue.
Franz Marc's Blue Horses

Franz Marc’s Blue Horses

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Repurposing In Art

Shades of Violet VII

Shades of Violet VII

Next week (Thursday, April 7) brings a new exhibition to The Arts Center. Titled, Nuances, the exhibit features the artwork of Michelle Lindblom who is best known for her monotype prints. Long time faculty member at Bismarck State College, now retired, the artist began experimenting with her discarded prints and “found bits” to create new works.

Using collage and additional printmaking techniques like Chine-collé Lindblom has repurposed her work in a process of discovery that is both conscious and subconscious. She describes the experience not unlike a child playing and naturally interacting with his/her environment.

Picture 1Repurposing is a trend that is gaining momentum among artists, crafters and DIYers (Is this a word? The urban dictionary says yes.). It is a sensible trend as the world grows we cannot continue to fill our landfills with refuse. For creative people, one man’s junk can be the inspiration for a masterwork or on a more basic level and affordable way to create something needed or appreciated.

New businesses are emerging that connect people with used materials. For instance, “The Repurpose Project is a non-profit community based effort to divert useful resources from the landfill, redirect these items to the public for art and education, to inspire creativity, and help us all rethink what we throw away.”

muralFriday, April 22 is Earth Day. The repurposing project I’m working on is wall mural made of saved bottle caps, it will be a work in progress but I have hundreds of caps to get started.  Do you have a repurposed project or artwork you would like to share? We’d love to see it, post it on FaceBook.

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 or email sjeppson@jamestownarts.com.
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Tree of Life: Paper Cutting as Life Review

Sabrina Hornung teaching the art of paper cutting.

Sabrina Hornung teaches the art of paper cutting. Tasty and fun treats complimentary to the weekly theme were created by Ave Maria Village culinary staff.

A six-session Art for Life residency is currently underway at Ave Maria Village and the Heritage Centre. Guided by two artists–master and apprentice, Meridee Erickson-Stowman and Sabrina Hornung, the elders are learning about the art of paper cutting while considering the stages of their lives. Each session, spread out over a 2 month period, will be used to discuss and share specific and significant moments in the life cycle such as birth or marriage, anniversaries and death.  Inspired by those reminiscences, the elders will collaboratively create a large, elaborate 7’ tall “Tree of Life” that will permanently enhance their common room.

il_340x270.602292037_qkoy 3113_bigDuring the multiple sessions, elders will be creating paper cuts that are symbolic of life’s stages. For example, paper cuts of acorns and flowers represent family roots or doves and flowers for weddings. All of the finished paper cut artwork will be added to the tree of life creating a colorful artwork for the enjoyment of all. Time-lapse photography of the process will document the tree’s growth.


Papercutting is a traditional art found in many cultures of the world.  Simply, this is an art form where different kinds of designs are cut into paper and arranged on a different colored background for contrast.  Sometimes the paper is folded to help quickly create an image as it is cut and unfolded, much like in the making of paper dolls.  German papercutting is called Scherenschnitte and often involves black on white color contrast.  Polish wycinanki paper cutting involves the use of many colors of paper layered upon one another in ever decreasing size using contrasting colors.

Meridee learned the folk art of wycinanki (Polish paper cutting) from Leona Wojcik Barthel as an apprentice in the North Dakota Council on the Arts’ Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program and she has now passed her knowledge to Sabrina in the same program. The two artists are collaborating with Troyd Geist, ND State Folklorist and The Arts Center to bring this activity to Jamestown. The Tree of Life: Papercutting as Life Review project is just one of many similar activity plans based on the publication Sundogs and Sunflowers: Folklore and Folk Art of the Northern Great Plains.  Complied in a soon-to-be-published booklet, these activities will be perfect for activities professionals, care center staff, care givers and family members, anyone who works with elders.

Each week, staff, volunteers and artists will gather the elder residents’ words-of-wisdom,  their unique stories and contributions to a dialogue about life’s milestones. These reminiscences will be compiled and shared in association with the Tree of Life artwork and, if all goes well, in a documentary video.

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 sjeppson@jamestownarts.com.



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Art for Life–Intergenerational Fun

Recently, I had a terrific visit to the Heritage Centre to conduct a creative storytelling activity called TimeSlips. This is our third Timeslips activity but what made this visit unique was the pairing the elders with a group of homeschool students.

Presented with a photograph, all participants were asked open-ended questions about the image like “What do you think is going on here?” “Who are these people?” “Where are they?” All their responses are written down and as the process evolves a simple story emerges and often times also a lively discussion of personal histories.

We used photographs from the book Sundogs and Sunflowers:Folklore and Folk Art of the Northern Great Plains, in particular, one depicting cowboys roping a calf. To get the “story-creating” group in the mood, we listened to nostalgic cowboy music and passed around hanks of horse hair and leather for everyone to smell and feel. Engaging all the senses opens up memories to past experiences–a goal of the TimeSlips activity.

The children were enthusiastic providing lots of input which kept our note taker recording furiously! Everyone was so active I wasn’t even able to pose questions as everyone was contributing so freely. They created this story:






Granted the story is not a piece of great literature but it’s value is measured in the creative engagement all those involved–everyone contributing to the whole. The process reveals tidbits of information that allows participants to find common ground, opening avenues for dialogue and conversation. This is particularly important for the elders who often experience isolation and depression in institutional settings.

The TimeSlips activities are part of the Arts Center’s Art for Life program funded through the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

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 sjeppson@jamestownarts.com.
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Boost Your Creative Pursuits in 2016

Just back from a long holiday break I was reading the latest Arts Center newsletter and see that there is no lack of “artsy” offerings for the opening of 2016. If you have resolved to take in more creative pursuits with the new year then The Arts Center has you covered.

In the upcoming months there are numerous classes, concerts, performances & parties to help lighten the winter and provide enticement to get out of hibernation mode (an easy trap during the cold days). These arts activities are always better when shared with friends and according to the latest medical news — socializing with friends and doing creative activity is important to a long and healthy life, on par with exercise! I can’t argue with that rational for enjoying arts activities. Here are just a few highlights but check the website and Facebook for more on classes and additional concerts.


FluddFriday, January 15th
7:30 pm at The Arts Center

Arealeius “Lion” Fludd is a charismatic performer who specializes in theatrical mind reading and sleight of hand magic. He has amazed fans all over the globe and works with various celebrities in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas. Now Lion comes to Jamestown to entertain our community. Prepare to be amazed! Tickets at the door: $15 /$10 for members & students.


Friday, January 22nd
7:00 pm at The Arts Center

Johnny is a modern-day crooner: smooth, romantic, charismatic, with a classic gentleman’s style. He renowned for his ability to blend jazz, swing, pop, country, gospel and rock to bring back a bygone era experience. Learn more about Johnny: http://jamestownarts.com/music/. Tickets at the door: $20 /$15 for members & students.


Wednesday, January 20th
5:30 pm at the Hansen Arts Studio

Meet people, mix drinks, make art… Join us after work for a creatively good time. In January artist David Dobbs will be guiding the group through the creation of an acrylic still-life painting. $10 materials fee. RSVP required to info@jamestownarts.com or 701-251-2496.

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 sjeppson@jamestownarts.com.
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En plein air

Missouri Valley Gold

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The exhibition opening this week features an artist who works En plein air a phrase borrowed from the French equivalent meaning “open (in full) air”. It is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. We often think of Plein air painters working in the parks of Paris or seashores of California not the banks of the Missouri River or the Badlands of North Dakota. But artist Greg Walters does just that.

Greg Walters was born and raised in the Mississippi River Valley region of La Crosse, WI. He has been teaching art and design since 1998, and has been at Dickinson State University since 2013.

SeptSoybeans3Walters paints on site, outdoors, directly within the landscape environment, and only finishes the paintings in his studio when time and weather do not allow him to do so on location. Plein Air artists insist that this is the best way to get the truest light, color, and atmosphere of a landscape.

Walters does not typically pick places to paint which are widely considered to be scenic or popular such as waterfalls, sunsets, etc, because he prefers to show people beauty in places that are usually walked past and overlooked. His intent is to show people the beauty in the more mundane or commonplace, beauty which many do not see until it is shown to them. Many more examples of his work can be found at http://www.gregwalterartwork.com.

The exhibition will open to the public on December 18 continuing through January 16. Please note that the gallery will be closed December 24 – January 3 for the Holiday week.

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What Makes Me Happy…

I was reminded this past weekend about essentials for great fun and happiness. These things give me fuel for creative thought. I think disconnecting from the routine, in good company, can give an artist, writer and musician lots of new material. Try it sometime.


  1. the company of friends – true friends that bring out the “real you” whether you see them everyday or once a year you can always feel comfortable just being yourself
  2. good music – the kind that transports you to another time, that can move you to tears, that can cause your feet to tap and your heart to beat
  3. good stories – the kinds that make you laugh, the kinds you’ve heard 100 times, the kinds you know are tall tales
  4. good food – the kind that tastes incredible because it was all you had at the moment and you were so, so hungry from fresh air and hard work or play
  5. reminiscence – memories of times past, either your own history or the history that surrounds you
  6. spontaneity – dropping everything and going in a completely unplanned direction
  7. fresh air – getting away from traffic, busy life
  8. exercise – moving outside, no path, breaking trail
  9. exhilaration – the thill of the unexpected flush of a pheasant–holding tight, or the doe–ears pinned back, neck stretched long and low running like it was her last moment only to disappear over the hill
  10. beauty – the change of light and shadow as twilight approaches, captured snow in the plowing–purple in the evening’s light, fresh snow on the railing, sunsets over the buttes–better than the desert, the kaleidoscope of color trapped in a pheasant’s plumes
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 sjeppson@jamestownarts.com.
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Turkey Time

In honor of the holiday I decided to share a few examples of how artists have depicted the mighty symbol of Thanksgiving. I can say from personal experience wild turkeys strutting their stuff is an awesome sight. Whether you plan to travel or stay home, eat turkey or not, The Arts Center wishes you a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

monet-turkeysClaude Monet, The Turkeys at Montgeron, 1877, oil on canvas, Musee d’Orsay

920x920John James Audubon, Wild Turkey (New-York Historical Society Edition), watercolor



Pieter-Claesz-Still-Life-with-Turkey-PiePieter Claesz, Still Life with a Turkey Pie, 1627, oil on panel

Screen-shot-2012-05-08-at-12.43.39-PMHans Heysen, Bronzewings and Sapling, 1921, watercolor on paper

James Ward, Study of a Turkey 555px-James_Ward_-_Study_of_a_Turkey_-_Google_Art_Project





Norman Rockwell, Freedom from Want, 1943, oil on canvas

40955Lionel Lindsay, Heysen’s Birds (Turkeys), c. 1923, wood engraving

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 sjeppson@jamestownarts.com.
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Gift Giving – Make Art and Avoid Stress

Handmade gifts are always more meaningful. The Arts Center is offering a series of classes to help you make your own special gifts. If you would like to take any of these classes please call 701-251-2496 or go to The Arts Center website.

Print Your Holiday Cards with Cyndi Wish 

13. Colors one and two onlyUsing relief printmaking techniques you will make two-color unique cards for the holidays (or any other kind of cards). Come with a 5” x 7” design in mind. Inks stain, so dress for a mess. We will go over how to make an edition as well as mono printing. Three Sessions: Nov. 9, 16, 23 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Hansen Arts Studio • $70 / $60 for members.

Crochet with Tracy Middaugh

crochet-flowers-small1Students will learn how to read a crochet pattern, basic stitches/abbreviations, chart reading, and symbols. Students will have the opportunity to complete five separate projects that can be used in their home or would also make beautiful gifts. Students are asked to pick up a supply list and provide their own materials. Five Sessions: Thursdays, Nov. 5, 12, 19 & Dec. 3 & 10 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Hansen Arts Studio • $80 / $70 for members.

IMG_4572Jewelry Making with Matt Swearingen

This workshop is a great introduction into the wonderful world of beads! Students will learn about beads, bindings and how to use beading tools. Students will then apply this knowledge to complete a necklace or bracelet that they can wear home or use as a gift. Beginners welcome, 18 years and older, all materials provided. Friday, Nov. 20 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Hansen Arts Studio • $20 / $10 for members.

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