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Region 2 Arts Council: Area students get arts grants

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What would you do with $600? Trek North sophomore Raven Clark plans on using the $600 awarded to her through the 2011 Legacy Funded Artist Mentor Grant to expand her strength in visual arts. Clark will work with visual local artist and mentor Malisa VanMaasdam to improve her technical artistic skills in various mediums. She seeks to raise awareness of the conflict in Tibet through her artwork.

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Clark and eight other awardees received mentor grants from the Region 2 Arts Council of Minnesota.

The Region 2 Arts Council aims to promote the growth the local artistry in all of northern Minnesota. One of the 11 regional art councils in Minnesota, Region 2 serves five counties in northern Minnesota: Beltrami, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, Clearwater and Mahnomen.

""We aim to help artists in a variety of different disciplines," said program assistant, Laura Dehler-Seter.

The Region 2 Arts Council offers grants for individual artists, art organizations, schools, non-profit organizations, and government offices.

The Artist Mentor Program in Region 2 has been revived last year and provides students in grades 8-12 opportunities to study art with practicing professional artists, attend an arts workshops or classes.

"These students get to work with a mentor one-on-one," Dehler-Seter said, "They meet with each other at least 20 times, and set goals together. The students see what it's like living an artist's life."

The program stretches from visual art to musical talent, performing arts and literature.

This year, 26 applicants came to the Region 2 Art Council to present their passion for the arts.

"It's a competitive application process," said Dehler-Seter, "Students must write an artist statement, answer questions, consider who they want as a mentor and present their art to the panel of Region 2 members."

From the 26 youth that applied, nine were awarded the Artist Mentor Grant. The youth are presented with $600, which is divided into material costs and mentor payments.

"It's great, because we can give students the opportunity and satisfaction of to growing creatively, while also supporting local artists," Dehler-Seter said.

Young artists in the Bemidji area will work this summer with mentors to strengthen their compositions.

Jordan Williams wants to make a living as an artist. From Cass Lake-Bena Middle School, Williams will be working with visual artist Jake Baggenstoss to improve his shading skills and proportional accuracy.

Bagley High School Senior Analisa Huschle will heighten her musical talent with professional guitar instructor Lou Samsa. Together, they will widen her range of chords and picking progressions. Huschle aspires to make music part of her future career.

Rachel Washenberger is a Kelliher High School junior with a passion for drawing anime style cartoons. She will study under graphic designer and visual artist Nicholas Jackson to improve her drawing techniques, and gather expertise on creating art on a computer.

A junior in Bemidji High School, Kiah Hartung will study acrylic painting techniques under visual artist and TrekNorth art teacher Kristin Gustafson. She plans to find her creative source and improve on it.

Saxophonist Aaron Schnackenberg wants to cultivate himself musically under the guidance of Russ Peterson when he attends Concordia College in Moorhead this upcoming fall. A Bemidji High School senior, Schnackenberg wants to improve his sight reading skills, and increase his knowledge of improvisation.

Also learning under the mentor Nicholas Jackson, Bemidji High School Junior Zoey Schlemper, who sees his artwork as reflective of himself and his experiences. Under Jackson, Schlemper wants to better understand the creation of mood in visual art, the collaboration of different colors, and how to build a successful art portfolio.

Budding metallurgist and TrekNorth Junior Ivan Smith combines abstract painting and sculpture of recycled materials to create unique sculpture art. Smith has paired with Bemidji sculpture artist Al Belleveau to hone his metal sculpturing technique.

These opportunities are funded by a Region 2 Arts Council Grant, through the Minnesota State Legislature Arts and Cultural Fund.

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