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'A new era for the arts': Watermark Art Center hosts groundbreaking for new center

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BEMIDJI—The Watermark Art Center hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday to commence the construction of its new center, located at 505 Bemidji Ave. N.

"Today marks the beginning of a new era for the arts in our nine-county region," Board President Lorie Yourd said. "The future holds many exciting opportunities including four major galleries hosting different exhibits simultaneously."

Officials at the art center announced the $3 million "Make Your Mark" campaign in July as an effort to reinvent the art center as one of the largest facilities of its kind in the region.

After renovations, the Watermark will feature increased gallery space for exhibit opportunities, including a gallery dedicated to Native American contemporary art and traditional craft, officials said. BSU also will host a gallery at the center to showcase their ceramic art and print collections. The Watermark will also offer enhance classroom experiences, as well as indoor and outdoor space for literary and musical collaborations and art-related events.

When the Make Your Mark campaign was announced, supporters already had raised $1.8 million from donors. Marilyn Miller, capital campaign co-chair, announced Wednesday that they've raised nearly $2.2 million, or 73 percent of the goal.

The center moved to its new location, the former Lakeside Lueken's store, in October 2015 after being in the Carnegie Library for more than 30 years.

The Watermark Art Center is a member-supported nonprofit that has operated in downtown Bemidji since 1982. The center is accepting donations for the Make Your Mark campaign to support the building's transformation. To learn more, visit

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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