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Kelliher grad to display art at Blackduck Area History and Art Center

Diana Jones-Collison will have an artist reception from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12 at the Blackduck Area History and Art Center. Submitted photo.

Diana Collison-Jones found her desire to be an artist in the sixth grade.

She can recall her art teacher at Kelliher Public School, Paul Norman, telling her that he would provide her with any medium that she needed for her work.

“He knew that with our poverty status out there in the boonies I’d never be able to buy anything so he just set me up with tons of stuff,” Diana said. She and her family grew up in Shotley, Minn., on a small farm.

Eventually, Norman moved to Alaska and left her with all of his materials and it didn’t take long for her art to take off and her stepfather began selling her items on the Iron Range, where he worked.

Diana’s artwork came to a standstill when she graduated from high school. She became a registered nurse, started a family, moved to Roseau, Minn., and eventually to Texas.

“It was so much more difficult,” Diana said. “It was 30 years and then it became 35 years.”

Then, five years ago, Diana and her family moved back to Bemidji. She said that it was partly for medical facilities but mostly to join the Northern Artists Association.

The group meets on Mondays at the Bemidji Eagle’s Club. “They’re a very social group and they’re very good at constructive criticism,” Diana said.

Diana has had art shows around Bemidji and has been involved in the First Friday art walks. She does everything from photography to copper tooling to wood burning and also oil painting. Currently, she said she’s been working with a lot of copper tooling.

Now, through the beginning of May her artwork will be on display in the Tin Pan gALLEry at the Blackduck Area History and Art Center. An artist reception for Diana will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12 at the History and Art Center.

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

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