Recent Grant Recipients & Awardees


Region 2 Arts Council awarded another $$102,104.60 in Arts Access Grants

With support of a community panel review conducted on May 16 and 19, 2022 the Region 2 Arts Council Board of Directors awarded $102,104.60 to arts and non-profit organizations for the creation and production of arts activity that will benefit community members and visitors to Minnesota’s Hubbard, Mahnomen, Lake of the Woods, Clearwater, and Beltrami Counties.

Pride Support Network was awarded $6,000 to host Bemidji Pride 2022, a celebratory, interactive, one day event featuring artists of multiple genres and mediums to enhance the lives and visibility of LGBT2S+ individuals, families, allies and the Bemidji community.

Red Lake Middle School was awarded $6,000 to enable Red Lake Middle School to engage resident artists to work with all seventh grade students to write lyrics to a song, record the song, and create a music video.

Mask & Rose Women’s Theater Collective was awarded $6,000 to produce the original female written musical by MN artist Janet Preus “Water From Snow” in a concert showcase format that engages audience participation.

Lake of the Woods Art Guild was awarded $6,000 to assist Lake of the Woods Art Guild in providing 2 Acrylic Portrait Workshops to the community to build their acrylic painting skills.

Boys & Girls Club of Bemidji was awarded $5,997 to engage teens from the Boys and Girls Club to offer an art and nature experience at the Neilson Spearhead Center that includes drawing & painting of local birds with artist Mary Therese and participation in creating a public mural.

Bagley Area Arts Collaborative was awarded $6,000 to assist the BAAC to produce a puppet presentation that will create ” Ancient Legends and Tales of Norwegian Trolls.”

Watermark Art Center was awarded $5,007 to support the 2022 It’s Only Clay (IOC) event by providing the region a high quality, national art exhibit and community workshop as well as artist presentations.

Northern Light Opera Company was awarded $5,111 to launch a 3-day Film Making Workshop, led by award winning film director David Leidy, that is designed to facilitate a group of community-based filmmakers in the basics of making their own original films.

Bemidji Senior Center was awarded $2,000 to offer 8 sessions of 2-hours each by Les and Kathy Sanders to teach watercolor pencil art and acrylic poured art techniques.

City of Bemidji Parks and Rec Dept was awarded $5,645 to assist the City of Bemidji Parks and Recreation Department along with Bemidji Community Theater to host a Summer Theater Day Camp for youth, also known as BCT JR.

Heartland Concert Association was awarded $2,120 to assist Heartland Concert Association to sponsor a Minneapolis-based brass sextet program for students in Park Rapids and neighboring schools.

Bagley Area Arts Collaborative Arts was awarded $5,258 to host a new watercolor artist and a new pottery artist for workshops in the community.

Bemidji Dance Academy was awarded $5,995.50 to offer a bi-monthly series of family dance parties across multigenerational age brackets focusing on family friendly dance activities.

NordaGonvick Rosemalers was awarded $2,009.10 to host a class on Valdres-style rosemaling taught by Lois Mueller.

Heartland Arts was awarded $6,000 to sponsor Art Leap 2022, a driving tour to artists’ studios and other cultural destinations.

Clear Waters Life Center was awarded $5,900 to host 24 art classes that engage community members to explore their curiosity and untapped potential as future artists, utilizing a variety of art forms and instruction by local artists in a guided, hands-on experience.

Bemidji Symphony Orchestra was awarded $6,000 to host a concert featuring Dr. Scott Sandberg performing Eric Ewazen’ s Classical Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and the BSO performing Duke Ellington’s Black Brown and Beige Suite and A Medley for Orchestra.

Bemidji State University Music Department was awarded $6,000 to assist the Bemidji State University Music Department and the Silent Voices Project to host a chamber music festival featuring recent compositions by womxn composers.

Northern Light Opera Company was awarded $6,000 to purchase lighting equipment to offer a Lighting Design Workshop with Heidi Eckwall to area youth and theater lighting technicians, and for their use in the future.

Beltrami County Historical Society was awarded $3,062 to produce Depot Days!, their annual meeting and history celebration, showcasing local musicians.


Region 2 Arts Council awards 2022-2023 Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Fellowships

On April 13, 2022 the Region 2 Arts Council’s Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Council awarded two $5,000 Fellowships through their Anishinaabe Arts Initiative (AAI) program. This AAI fellowship program is made possible by the generous support of the McKnight Foundation, and aims to assist the region’s most talented Indigenous artists in their work by awarding financial support to fund creative time and/or arts experiences. This award is for Indigenous artists residing in Minnesota’s Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Lake of the Woods, Becker, Roseau, Cass, and Itasca counties. 

Meet the 2022-2023 Anishinaabe Arts Fellows: 

Doyle Turner is a Northern Minnesota singer/songwriter who mixes elements of folk, rock, and americana into songs that seek connection. Growing up in Naytahwaush, Minnesota, he is a proud Anishinaabe person and a member of the White Earth Nation. Firmly rooted in Cash and Kristofferson, Doyle’s songs feature lyrics that find you where you are with a warm voice that guides you back home. Doyle has produced or performed on over nine recordings and collaborates with artists state-wide. His latest single “Star Gazing” was released March 7, 2022. Doyle is working on a new album for release September 17th, 2022. 

Grace “Waawaate Ikwe” Roberts was born during “Waatebagaa-Giizis”, The Leaves Changing Colors Moon on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Gakaabikaang (Minneapolis) with her eyes wide-open and subtle strands of white hair. Her parents Gary Roberts, of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and Myrna Benjamin, of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, raised her and her older brother in the Twin Cities. Grace has been artistic since her early years, helping with drawing pictures for school newsletters and taking on many roles in her theatre classes. She began practicing Ojibwe arts in 2012 at the White Earth Tribal and Community College. In 2015, Grace received her Associate Degree with a focus on Native Studies. In 2017, Grace enrolled at BSU in the Indigenous Studies program, with a focus on Ojibwe Culture and Language. Grace is an Anishinaabe multidisciplinary artist and designer. She is mainly known for her beadwork and quillwork.  She has taught numerous theatre workshops around White Earth, and quillwork workshops around Minnesota. She enjoys old style jingle dress dancing and working on regalia. Grace inspires to design her own clothing line. 

The Region 2 Arts Council Staff and Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Council members would like to thank each of the Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Fellowship applicants and congratulate Doyle Turner and Grace “Waawaate Ikwe” Roberts as the 2022-2023 AAI Fellows! 

The Region 2 Arts Council Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Fellowship Award is made possible through the generous support of the McKnight Foundation.


Region 2 Arts Council Awarded $18,000 in Individual Artist Grants

With support of a community panel review conducted on February 22, 2022 the Region 2 Arts Council Board of Directors awarded $18,000 to individual artists from within our five-county region. These grants provide financial assistance to artists in any arts discipline or in any stage of their career as an artist residing in the counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods and Mahnomen.

Cynthia Hamilton of Williams was awarded $2,000 to assist the purchase of a digitizing program to change her original Ojibwe digital designs into embroidery designs to adorn traditional native wearable art and to purchase supplies.

Diamond Knispel of LaPorte was awarded $1,830 to assist in the travel and shipping expenses for exhibition of her latest body of work, “Wild Whimsy of the Northwoods”.

Tawnee Corning of Bagley was awarded $2,000 to assist her arrangement of photographing of still life references to create seven 24×30” still life oil paintings in classic renaissance style, paired with vivid colors, textures, and psychedelic patterns and backgrounds.

Kathy Gustafson of Bemidji was awarded $1,700 to assist the creation and publication of a wildlife coloring book for both children and adults which will also include drawing options.

Alyss Mountain of Bemidji was awarded $2,000 to assist in jumpstarting a collection of beaded portraits of historical leaders from her community as a way to make beadwork more appealing to younger generations.

Les Sanders of Bemidji was awarded $1,629 to reach adults and youth in the public setting to have access to art, access that is not restricted by time, but can experience art growth beyond the beginner level and continued growth and development to intermediate and advanced skills.

Mary Overlie of Bemidji was awarded $1,000 to assist in the recording and production of a debut album with her new band, Augmeanted.

Joan Kauppi of Park Rapids was awarded $2,000 to further her skills and purchase framing materials for an invitation to exhibit some of her collage pieces at Watermark Art Center in the Spring of 2023.

Charles Alberti of Bemidji was awarded $2,000 to support the creation of a 40-60 page booklet depicting imagery that embraces the relationship of music to wavelengths and/or frequencies of color.

Nicholas Jackson of Bemidji was awarded $1,841 to assist the creation of art videos that explore artist life, talk about techniques, explore creativity, and encourage fellow artists.

Region 2 Arts Council Individual Artist Grants are made possible with funding from the McKnight Foundation


Region 2 Arts Council Awarded $14,342 in Arts Project Grants

With support of a community panel review conducted on January 18, 2022, the Region 2 Arts Council awarded a total of $14,342 through the Arts Project Grant program to support capacity building activities and arts project programming for non-profit organizations across the 5-county service area.

Bemidji Symphony Orchestra was awarded $2,500 to hire a consultant to assess the BSO’s current fundraising and advise the BSO on fundraising ideas, methods and new tools.  

Bemidji Symphony Orchestra was awarded $2,500 to stage a concert featuring Bemidji’s own Brass Quintet on Eric Ewazen’s Concerto for Brass Quintet and Orchestra titled “Shadowcatcher” and the BSO performing Florence Price’s Symphony No. 4 in D Minor.

Bemidji Community Theater was awarded $2,500 to engage a professional puppeteer to work with children to create a performance piece using puppets to represent the children’s viewpoints during the covid crisis

Northern Artist Association was awarded $2,500 to host art workshops in a variety of genres for young people aged 8 through 18 at its Gallery North Art Gallery during the summer months. Workshops and classes will begin in early June and run through the end of September (Bemidji)

City of Park Rapids was awarded $1,918 to work with the Culture Advisory Commission to  update the city’s Arts and Culture Plan.

Bagley Area Arts Collaborative was awarded $2,424 to host a three-day workshop with watercolor artist David R. Smith in August 2022.

Region 2 Arts Council Arts Project Grants are made possible by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s general fund


Region 2 Arts Council Awarded $7,703 in Anishinaabe Arts Initiative (AAI) Grants

On January 12, 2022, the Region 2 Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Council awarded a total of  $7,703 through the Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Grant program to support Indigenous artists across the 9-county service area.

Doyle Turner of the White Earth Nation was awarded $1000 to travel to the Steve Seskin Nashville Songwriting Seminar January 28, 29,and 30th (2022) at the Bluebird Cafe, granting access to education from Nashville songwriters and producers.

Nancy Beaulieu of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe was awarded $913 to produce handcrafted soaps in larger quantity and provide alternatives for health and earth

friendly packaging options

Deanna Croaker of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe was awarded $1000 to photograph lakes within Ojibwe territory, printed to canvas and custom cabochons, to complete 3 beaded jewelry collections that showcase our lakes during the seasons.

Flora Jones of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians was awarded $1000 to further her sewing with, and teaching of, Star Quilts with younger people.

Clem May of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians was awarded $1000 to purchase materials to keep making art and further his drawing and painting.

Jerilyn Graves of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians was awarded $800 to promote her love for beadwork and establish her market to businesses that would like quantity and quality items.

Nancy Kingbird of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians was awarded $990 to assist with supplies and equipment needed to work with local Native Women in creating culturally-based art projects to instill the depth of who we are as Anishinaabe people.

Mikeal Archambault of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe was awarded $1000 to better his skills as an artist and build an artistic career that leads to having his work in galleries and museums.

The Anishinaabe Arts Initiative grants program is supported by a grant from the McKnight Foundation

Current AAI Council members are Debra Warren, Genny Lowry, Bernice Mitchell-Diver, Delana Smith, Mary Ringhand, David Ben White, and Kent Estey


Blair Treuer, a current Region 2 Arts Council Fellow, is one of two 2022 McKnight Fiber Artist FellowsCONGRATULATIONS BLAIR!

Master Beader Thomas Stillday (Red Lake Nation – Obaashing Community), a Region 2 Arts Council 2018 Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Fellow, is a recent recipient of the 2022 First People’s Fund “Cultural Capital Fellowship” which is awarded to artists and culture bearers who are deeply rooted in their communities and are committed to passing on ancestral knowledge and cultural practices within their tribal communities. Their work exemplifies the rich cultural diversity and highly sophisticated nature of Indigenous art practices today. CONGRATULATIONS THOMAS!


Creative Support for Individuals

Charles E. Alberti, Bemidji$  6,000
Alberti will create a body of painting, drawing, and graphics utilizing the Fibonacci Sequence and Golden Ratio to illustrate the connections between mathematics and visual arts creations. Alberti will also create a booklet of the work to explain and inform participants.
Amy R. Beaulieu, Mahnomen$  6,000
Beaulieu will present teachings of beading to the youth and community.
Tawnee G. Corning, Bagley$  6,000
Corning will create a new body of paintings that will in turn be used to publish her first book.
Howard W. Hirdler, Cass Lake$  6,000
Hirdler will finish his musical, KING JAMES’ CHRISTMAS, and record instrumental and vocal tracks using members of the Bemidji and Walker theater and musician communities.
Nicholas J. Jackson, Bemidji$  6,000
Jackson chases his artistic path by engaging the community with a gallery show of oil paintings, and online videos exploring painting techniques and artist life.
Monika D. Lawrence, Bemidji$  6,000
With her Memory of the Land photography project, Lawrence invites the public to have conversations about the hidden, forgotten, or ignored stories and histories that lie beneath our feet in northern Minnesota landscapes.
Eric E. Olson, Bemidji$  5,805
Olson will present public string quartet performances in northern Minnesota.
KellyJo Schultz, Bemidji$  6,000
Schultz will advance her skills in the art of millinery by learning from master milliners and use these skills to create new styles of hats and fascinators to share with her Minnesota clients.
Lyman R. Weaver, Waubun$  6,000
Weaver will travel to powwows throughout Minnesota where his beadwork will be on display and for sale. He will also create a web page where his beadwork will be displayed.

Creative Support for Organizations

Bagley Area Arts Collaborative, Inc, Bagley$  24,500
The Bagley Area Arts Collaborative will create a variety of events aimed at bringing the people of its community together after two years of very limited arts activities.
Clear Waters Life Center, Clearbrook$  23,175
Clear Waters Life Center will host regular art programming with open studios and guest artists showcasing their art mediums in rural Clearwater County community.
Manidoo Ogitigaan, Bemidji$  25,000
Mandioo Ogitigaan will connect Minnesotans with Ojibwe artists and storytellers by providing seasonal art and cultural activities that are part of the Anishinaabeg way of life.
Mask and Rose Theater, Puposky$  24,900
The Mask and Rose Theater will serve as the leader in initiating a distinctly rural celebration of arts in the culture shed of northern Minnesota called Taste for the Arts, a fall tour to take in the arts in all genres at fifteen designated stops.
Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference, Bemidji$  25,000
The Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference will continue to provide Minnesotans a high quality and affordable literary arts experience with a talented and diverse group of award winning writers in a safe and inclusive setting.

Operating Support

Headwaters Music and Arts, Bemidji (Group 4)$  17,341
Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Bemidji (Group 4)$  31,616