Poetry Out Loud in Region 2

Brian Madigan poses with the Poetry Out Loud book of poems

As part of the National Poetry Out Loud competition, high school students across the state are choosing to recite poetry this month before a panel of judges.

For some, the goal is to be chosen to compete in their regional competition in February. Others hope to go on to the state competition in St. Paul.  Still others set their sights on the national competition in Washington D.C., while some students prefer simpler goals: understanding  a poem, and learning it by heart.

Eleven students at Voyageurs Expeditionary High School in Bemidji stood up for poetry this year, choosing to present their poems before two judges, Laura Dehler-Seter and Holly Alcott from Region 2 Arts Council.

Cindy Nelson, English Instructor at VEHS has hosted Poetry Out Loud competitions at Voyageurs for the past several years.  This year she was assisted by VEHS staff member Ruth Webb, who coached interested students in practicing their poems.

VEHS Poetry Enthusiasts, their teachers, and R2AC judges

The top three finishers, Ilsa Thooft (1st place, seated in front with the hat), Brandon Madigan (2nd place, standing in the middle), and Maddie Thooft (3rd place, seated front right)will compete at the Regional Competition in Fosston on February 18.

In addition to Voyageurs, other Region 2 schools competing in Poetry Out Loud include Clearbrook-Gonvick High School, Laporte School, and Trek North. Kaija Roy from Trek North was one of 12 state finalists in the 2011 competition.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud, visit PoetryOutLoud.org.  To learn more about the Poetry Out Loud initiative in Minnesota, please go to the Minnesota State Arts Board link http://www.arts.state.mn.us/other/poetry.htm.

The Arts Downtown PR Series: Thursday, May 19th, 5 to 7 p.m. in Downtown Park Rapids

Poet Richard Sederstrom reads from his collection of poetry

Author Jess Lourey promises reading and author roulette (come and find out what that is) at Beagle Books. Enjoy Stu Hoffman playing the piano in the style of his favorite pianist, George Winston, from 5 to 5:30 and 6 to 6:30 p.m. at Bella Caffè. At The Good Life Cafe, Alex Ziemann will play and sing classic rock from 5:30 to 6 and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Richard Sederstrom has returned from Arizona with a book of new poems, “Folly, A Book of Last Summers.” He will read at Blank Canvas Gallery & Education Center from 5 to 5:30 and 6 to 6:30 p.m.

This event is designed to bring audiences to see and hear visual artists, musicians, writers and other artists in businesses in downtown Park Rapids on the Third Thursday of the month year round. The public is invited to attend and encouraged to make a free will donation to the artists. Contact Lu Ann Hurd-Lof at 652-4081, luann47@gmail.com.

This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

BCAC Legacy Destination Weekend Event – Writers Workshop and Public Reading

April 30th, 2011Dr. Mark R. Christensen, poet and nonfiction writer, will read from his work in both genres on Saturday afternoon beginning at 4:00 pm in the Bemidji Community Art Center as part of the Spoken Word Series.  (The Center is located on the upper level of the historic Carnegie building by Lake Bemidji.)  A dedicated Professor of English at Bemidji State University, Mark also has many published works to his credit including a collection of poetry, Faith in Ice Time, and a textbook, The Familiar Essay.  He was a regular contributor to The Bemidji Pioneer newspaper for several years.  His reading is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.

Prior to the reading, he will present a writers’ workshop entitled, Creating Nonfiction: Telling Truths Artfully, which will take place from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on the lower level of the building.  He will work with participants at all stages of writing development, who are interested in improving their creative non-fiction skills.  Advanced registration is required for the workshop.  Fees are $35 per person, $20 for students.  Contact Lori or Cindy at the Bemidji Community Art Center,bcac@paulbunyan.net 218-444-7570 for further information or to sign up.  The number of participants will be limited, so please register early.

This event is a part of the Bemidji Legacy Weekend, a statewide collaborative between MN Citizens for the Arts, Conservation MN and Explore MN Tourism.  Bemidji is honored to have been selected as one of the twelve Legacy Destination Communities for 2011. 


BCAC Hours are 12-5pm Tuesday through Friday, Saturday 10am-2pm with extended hours Saturday for the Legacy Weekend: 10am-4pm (gallery) and 4-5pm for Spoken Word Reading by Dr. Christensen.  For more information on the Legacy Destination Weekend events   http://visitbemidji.com/events/legacy-dest-2011.html 

Bemidji Announces Legacy Destination Weekend Events

Celebrating arts, history and parks and trails associated with Legacy Amendment Funding

Bemidji, April 11, 2011:   Bemidji community organizations are partnering to showcase the treasure trove of the area’s cultural and recreational activities from April 28-May 1, 2011.  While it is not unusual for Bemidji to have an eclectic assortment of events going on, this weekend’s itinerary is designed to increase awareness of visitors to the local impact of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment Funding approved by Minnesota voters in 2008.  As one of twelve cities selected, Bemidji is pleased to highlight the weekend of arts, history and parks and trails activities representative of the quality and variety of opportunities the community offers though out the year.  www.exploreminnesota.com/travel-ideas/legacy

The statewide Legacy Destination program was designed and implemented by the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, Conservation Minnesota and Explore Minnesota Tourism.  “Great things in both the outdoors and the arts are happening in every corner of the state because of the Legacy Amendment” said Sheila Smith, Executive Director of MCA, “and we wanted Minnesotans to know how they can participate.”

Bemidji’s Legacy Destination Weekend is being organized locally through VisitBemidji, the area’s destination marketing organization, in partnership with Region 2 Arts Council, Bemidji Community Arts Council, the Beltrami History Center, the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, the City of Bemidji, Lake Bemidji State Park and the Paul Bunyan Playhouse.

The weekend features a variety of events hosted by organizations that have received Legacy grants but not limited to said funding.  For event details go to www.visitbemidji.com.

  • The Paul Bunyan Playhouse, celebrating its 61st season of professional theater, is hosting a gala fundraising event beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28 to kick off the 2011 Summer Theater season.   Tickets $20 includes food (beverages additional) available at the Box Office or www.paulbunyanplayhouse.com.  Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. This activity funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Region 2 Arts Council.
  • In partnership with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, Nautilus Theater Company from  St Paul, presents: “I Am Anne Frank” a music-drama based on the diaries of Anne Frank. Four performances will be held at the Main Theater of Bemidji State University.  Performance times are:  7:30 pm. Thurs – Sat and 3:00 p.m. Sat.  Tickets $10 adults/$5 students available at the door and in advance at two local sources. This activity funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Region 2 Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board.
  • The Beltrami County History Museum, located in the renovated 1912 Great Northern Railroad Depot, houses state-of-the-art exhibits representing the broad diversity of people who lived  and continue to live in the area.  Currently, the Main Gallery exhibit. Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News’ is a moving exhibition capturing the sights and sounds of early healthcare, while exploring various facets of healing techniques in Beltrami County from traditional Ojibwe healing, concocted home remedies, the tonic fresh air surrounding Lake Julia Sanitorium to early dentistry.
  • For hands-on history, a Geocaching Puzzle Trail activity is available at the History Center.  Pick up brochure and head out to find historic sites in downtown Bemidji.  While a GPS will be helpful to ‘solve the puzzle’, it is not necessary to be successful.  A prize is awarded for correct completion of the puzzle.  www.beltramihistory.org  These activities are funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Minnesota Historical Society.
  • The Bemidji Community Art Center, located in the historic Carnegie building, sponsors 8-10 exhibits per year featuring visual artists from around the country, state and region.  The current show, High School Invitational, highlights student artists from our area. Gallery and gift shop hours are Tuesday–Friday 12-5 p.m. and extended hours 10-4 on Saturday April 30.
  • Dr Mark Christensen, poet and non-fiction writer, will read from his work in both genres beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, as part of the Spoken Word Series.  Prior to the reading, he will present a writer’s workshop entitled, Creating Nonfiction: Telling Truths Artfully, which will run from 1-4 p.m.  Adults in all stages of writing development interested in improving their non-fiction skills are invited to register.  Advance registration of $35 ($20 students) is required and space is limited.  www.bcac.wordpress.com  These activities are funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Region 2 Arts Council.
  • Friday, April 29th, award-winning guitarist, Tim Sparks, will be on stage at the Historic Chief Theater downtown Bemidji at 7:30 p.m.  $12 tickets available in advance at the Historic Chief Theater and Headwaters School of Music & the Arts.  Also at the door.   www.paulbunyanplayhouse.com  These activities are funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
  • Bemidji City Parks and Recreation Department, as part of the Fit City mission of increasing walkability and recreational opportunities within the City, has teamed up with Lake Bemidji State Park staff to bring Geocaching activities to the weekend schedule of events.   Those new to one of the fastest growing sports in the country, can attend a ‘Geocaching 101’ program offered by the Lake Bemidji State Park Naturalist at the Tourist Information Center waterfront area, at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, April 29 and again on Saturday April 30 at 10:00 a.m.   For seasoned geocachers, the Bemidji 10 Cache Legacy Weekend Challenge will run from Friday, April 29 – May 1.   Ten new ‘signature caches’ from some of the area’s clever geocachers will be placed to lead participants on a trail of recreational adventure around town.  Included in the Bemidji 10 are Cache In/Trash Out (CITO) caches and a Breakfast Buddies gathering at The Cabin Coffeehouse at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, April 30.
  • The average date the ice goes out of Lake Bemidji is April 26.  To celebrate this sign of Spring, the Bogs and Logs Chapter of MN Master Naturalists, Lake Bemidji State Park and Headwaters Science Center  are joining together to host the annual ‘Ice-Out’ Ice Cream Social.  The public is invited to join this celebration of spring and Minnesota’s Clean Water Legacy at the Lake Bemidji Waterfront on April 30 from11:00 am- 1:00 p.m. or till the ice cream is gone. Take your turn at cranking the ice cream maker.  www.dnr.state.mn.us/calendar/app?jsp=/templates/event.jsp&id=22117
  • The final event of the weekend is “…. an event not to be missed by anyone who is willing to have his or her life changed forever,” according to Leonard Slatkin, former music director of the National Symphony Orchestra.  Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín tells the story of courageous Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp during World War II who performed Verdi’s Requiem Mass while experiencing the depths of human degradation. This multi-media concert drama will be performed at the Bemidji High School Auditorium, May 1 at 3:00 pm, under the direction of guest Conductor Murry Sidlin. Creator/Conductor Murry Sidlin will be joined by the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, The Bemidji Chorale, the Bemidji State University Chorus along with vocal soloists Carrie Mineck, Janet Hopkins, Nathan Carlisle, and Michael Mayes, with actors from Theatre B of Fargo. The performance is made possible by a generous gift from the Nielson Foundation, the Region  2 Arts Council, and in partnership with Minnesota Public Radio.  Tickets: $20 adults/$15 seniors and children under 18 free. Pre-sale tickets go on sale April 13th  at Village Foods North and Brigid’s Cross Irish Pub and will be sold at the door.  MPR Members receive a $2 discount.  www.bemidjisymphony.org. This activity is funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Region 2 Arts Council.

Voices of Our Sisters

The Region 2 Arts Council is proud to support the Mask and Rose Theater project Voices of Our Sisters, a Youth Theater Workshop for Young Women grades 7- College.

The Mask & Rose Women’s Theater Collective offers young women ages grade 7- to college age a theater workshop from July 26-30th ( Monday – Friday 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM ) exploring famed playwright Eve Ensler’s essays about young women around the world and a style of theater originating from Argentina and Brazil called Forum Theater . The week will end with the participants creating an original theater work with original media , visual art and music to be performed on Friday the 30th at 2:30 PM .

Additional performances at the Big Tent behind Paul and Babe in Bemidji:

Friday, July 3oth – 7:30 PM

Saturday , July 31st 2:00 and 7:30 PM

Sunday , Aug. 1st , 2:00 PM

Cost $5.00 –  $7.00 pay what you can .  PG

The theater production will be available for touring to regional non profits and schools once completed . The workshop will be held at the Wild Rose Theater 501 Bemidji , MN .The instructors for the workshop are Cate Belleveau artistic director of the Mask and Rose Women’s Theater Collective and Brooke Wichmann peace skills instructor at Schoolcraft Learning Community and Central Elementary.

For further information and to register for this workshop please contact Cate at kayakc2@me.com or 218-243-2685.

This opportunity is  possible in  part by Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the MN . State legislature with money from the vote of people of MN on Nov.4, 2008.

Other important contributors include the Women’s Fund of the Northwest MN Foundation and the tent which is provided by the George Nielson Foundation .

July/August Northern Arts News

In this issue: July/August Northern Arts News

Leaves and Lines by Bemidji artist Malisa VanMaasdam

Upcoming Grant Deadlines
Recent Grant Recipients
Upcoming Grant Writing Workshops
Opportunities for Artists
Summer Arts Calendar
Showcase Artist: Malisa VanMaasdam

Snake by Bemidji artist Malisa VanMaasdam


A writing group for teens will meet for eight weeks through the summer, beginning Tuesday, June 15, 2010.

"Annette's Flower" by Region 2 Photographer Kathy McKeown. Kathy's exhibit will be on display at Gallery North in Bemidji through the month of June!

Teens ranging from 13 to 18 years of age will have the opportunity to share poems, stories and essays, learn writing tips, share ideas, and practice the fine art of giving helpful feedback.

Cost for the 8 weeks of instruction is $60.00.  Scholarships are available through the generous support of the Friends of the Library and The Jackpine Writers Bloc.

If interested contact: Cyndie Ekren at 218-652-4257 or cindiee@hotmail.com (put “teen writing group” as the subject) or call Jennifer Geraedts at Beagle Books in Park Rapids 218-237-2665.

Cyndie Ekren graduated from the University of Minnesota Moorhead with a BA in English and a Creative Writing emphasis.  She studied poetry and Greek Mythology in Greece through Schiller International University.

She has been published in numerous anthologies and quarterlies, has written two novels, and is currently working on a historical novel set in Russia.