New year, new art and new exhibit space at Northwest Arts Center

The Northwest Arts Center at Minot State University will showcase contemporary art from across the country and a solo exhibit by an internationally recognized North Dakota artist to kick off the new year and a new exhibit space beginning Tuesday.

“Americas 2018: Paperworks,” the 47th annual edition of a juried art competition sponsored by the center, and “Regalia,” an exhibit of mezzotint prints by Linda Whitney, Valley City, will be the first exhibits to hang in a newly renovated exhibit space in the lower level of the Gordon B. Olson Library at MSU. Whitney served as juror for the Paperworks competition, and earned her solo show as Best of Show artist in last year’s competition.

“Americas 2018: Paperworks” features 40 contemporary artworks “on or of” paper, representing artists from 19 states and one from Australia. Juror Whitney selected the works and designated awards from a field of 272 submitted images.

Best of Show artist is Jenny Freestone, Takoma Park, Md., for her print, “Aqua 1, First State.” Merit Awards went to Christine Alfery, Lac du Flambeau, Wis.; Mia Cinelli, Lexington, Ky.; Jayne Reid Jackson, Madison, Wis.; Amy Pirrotta, Allentown, Pa.; and Cleo Wilkinson, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Sarah Serio, Neosho, Mo., is the recipient of the Awagami Paper Award, sponsored by Awagami Factory, Tokushima, Japan.

Whitney’s exhibit, “Regalia,” draws its inspiration from the Native American powwow. “The beautiful regalia is a testament to the history and creativity of the people,” writes Whitney in her artist statement. “The dance itself, whether traditional, fancy, or jingle, is a demonstration of athleticism and the dancers’ indomitable spirit.”

Whitney describes her images as portraits “not of the individual, but of the culture moving back into the light.”

Whitney is professor emeritus from Valley City State University where she taught art and was the chair of the department. Her award-winning mezzotints have been exhibited throughout the United States and in Armenia, Serbia, Russia, China, France, Mexico, Poland and Iran.

Visitors to the two shows will get their first look at a new 2,100-square-foot exhibit space – the Walter Piehl Jr. Gallery – as well as a public reception area, office and workrooms of the newly renovated Northwest Arts Center.

“Our official grand opening will be April 19, but we are moving in now, hanging our first exhibits, and getting to know the new space,” said Northwest Arts Center director Avis Veikley. “We are open and ready for visitors.”

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Parking and a visitor entrance are on the south side of the library.

Whitney’s solo exhibit will be on display through Feb. 16 and “Americas 2018: Paperworks” runs through Feb. 21. A public reception for the two exhibits will be Feb. 16 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the gallery.

Exhibits and reception are free and open to the public. Parking in campus lots is unrestricted after 5 p.m.

This program is funded in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the North Dakota Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.