High fives for gallery 505: New art space in former Lakeside Luekens first step in move for Watermark Art Center
BEMIDJI--The Watermark Art Center has started the move across Bemidji Avenue, as it slowly prepares to leave the building it's called home the past 33 years.
BEMIDJI-The Watermark Art Center has started the move across Bemidji Avenue, as it slowly prepares to leave the building it's called home the past 33 years.
Starting small, the Watermark has taken over one area of the former Lakeside Lueken's grocery store building. The Watermark Art Center purchased the building in 2012 and still has an area leased to the Alternative Education Center.
The temporary "gallery 505" is currently home to several pieces of artwork created by regional artists, which are available for purchase.
"Part of it is to get them used to coming here; it is much more accessible. Some of our visitors can't get up those steps (at the Carnegie Library) anymore, so this gives them an opportunity to see local art and to see an art exhibit," said Lori Forshee-Donnay, executive director of Watermark Art Center.
"It helps introduce people to the space and it actually lets us show more, which is what people have been asking us to do."
The Watermark began as the Bemidji Community Arts Center, founded in 1982 following a merger between The Bemidji Community Arts Council and the Bemidji Art Center Association. They soon found a home in the Carnegie Library along Bemidji Avenue. As the timeline for the Carnegie Library restoration moves forward, Forshee-Donnay wanted to ensure the Watermark would not cause any troubles.
"We don't want to be in the way when they want to start doing their stuff and we don't want to actually move in the winter," she said.
Plans are underway to move the Carnegie Library back from Bemidji Avenue, as well as renovate both the exterior and interior of the building, which was built in 1910. A local group, the Save the Carnegie Committee, is currently raising funds and planning the project.
After considering several options, the Watermark has decided that it will move out of the Carnegie by October.
"The exhibit (Transitions by the Artists of Studio 10) that is there right now is through the month of September, and then we annually do our member show in October, and so we will open with that (in the Lakeside building) in October," Forshee-Donnay said.
Once the Watermark takes over the entire Lakeside building and remodels, it will allow the center to not only host all of their activities in one location but also show more art, she said.
"We will have multiple galleries, right now I have one," Forshee-Donnay explained. "So the future art center will be able to have multiple things going on. It will be the BSU gallery, our galleries, the Native American gallery, which will be ours but it will be specific to Native American art."
The move in October will also allow the Watermark to expand its hours of operation.
"Right now, we are spread between two buildings and it's just too hard. As popular as it's been, ("gallery 505") has been limited access just because of the hours, we don't have enough staff to staff it right now. Once we do this move, we will really actually have more days and more hours open," she said.
The current hours of "gallery 505" are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Starting Oct. 1, the hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.