Lake Region Arts Council (LRAC) celebrated their third artist cohort with a gallery at M State Fergus Falls, organized by ceramics professor and curator of the M State permanent collection, Lori Charest.
“It’s an intensive experience for artists that want to increase their professional skills and usually they want to start marketing their work and look at the business side of being an artist,” says LRAC executive director Maxine Adams. Through the cohort program, artists were able to take individual counseling sessions through Springboard for the Arts as well as take workshops there, network with other artists, create exhibits, get help with media and marketing, and more. “The value of it is probably at least a thousand dollars or more per artist if they had to pay out of pocket for it,” says Maxine. “All that we ask is that you’re committed to your art form and in participating in the program.”
One of the artists featured at the M State exhibit is Fergus Falls fiber artist Torri Hanna. “It was very good for getting some resources and they brought in photographers to take professional pictures of my work and myself,” said Hanna. “They helped me with a video that I can use to promote my work and that they put on the Lake Region website, and then organizing shows like this and working with other artists has just been really exciting and fun and a good way to get to know other people and to get your work out there.” She says they were also able to attend the Springboard for the Arts Work of Art series of business workshops and were helped with their resumes and personal statements.
Another artist, Rebecca Albright, who specializes in a printmaking technique called
gyotaku, or fish rubbing, said, “The cohort program gave me a lot of confidence in going ahead with my artwork, and they are great to help promote the different resources that are available to artists, they help with the networking of other artists in the community, I’ve gotten to meet all these people.” She said LRAC and Springboard for the Arts were instrumental in helping her and as a result of some of the things she learned and the confidence she gained, she has a few shows lined up.
“I have some exciting shows coming up this summer,” Albright says. “One will be a fishing opener, Minnesota Fish, at the Landmark Center in Henning, and that will be starting the weekend before the fishing opener and run through mid-June because fishing opener is in Otter Tail County this year. And then in mid-June through the end of July, I will have a solo exhibit at the Otter Tail County Historical Society and I will be representing the fish part of the conservation that the Fish and Game Club here in town is commemorating with their 100th anniversary.”
The gallery at M State closed on Feb. 6 but Charest hopes that hosting the LRAC cohorts becomes a regular thing. “Part of the mission of the gallery is to give exposure to emerging artists,” she said. “I think we might do this again, I think they have periodic groups, and I think that would be a good group of people to highlight.”
The cohort is funded through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the current group continues through June. Each cohort is made up of 6-10 artists who come from one of the nine counties in the LRAC area (Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties). It’s open to artists of any discipline including visual arts, music, writing, theater and videography