Editor’s Notebook: More chances to meet the creative community

By now, many of you are probably aware of our Meet the Artist feature in the Arts section of the Minot Daily News Thursday edition. Over the past six months or so, we have been able to feature dozens of visual artists and the work they’re producing. From high school students to retirees, it’s been quite a survey of the spectrum of artists in our region. The response has been humbling and we have all enjoyed being able to bring attention to some very interesting and eclectic artists.

Possibly the greatest comment to have been repeatedly offered is “I didn’t know there were so many artists around us!”

Well, we are bringing some changes to the Meet the Artist feature. For one thing, I am running out of visual artists who have submitted all the materials needed to feature them. If you or someone you know has been in touch with us about featuring you and your art, and it hasn’t yet appeared in MDN, please email me. The odds are there was a technical glitch with submitted images and I haven’t been able to reach you about substitutes. Also, if you have intended to participate but haven’t gotten around to it, we would still love to feature your work.

There are some changes coming to the feature. Effective this week, we are expanding the definition of “art” in regard to Meet the Artist. In addition to featuring visual artists as they submit, we are also looking to profile musicians, vocalists, actors, directors, filmmakers, theater tech people, writers and poets. Please send an email to me at msasser@minotdailynews.com and I will send you the easy instructions on how you too can be featured in the weeks and months ahead.

Additionally, keep your eye on the #Living section of the newspaper on Saturdays. Regional Editor Eloise Ogden is launching a similar feature to spotlight hand craftsmen – from knitting, quilting and embroidery to carpentry, design, repurposing, candlemaking, stained glass, metalwork and numerous other creative crafts. Eloise thought those who practiced crafts would make for interesting profiles as well. If you fall into this category or know someone who does, drop Eloise a line at eogden@minotdailynews.com for easy instructions.

Interestingly, with everything going on in and around our part of the world here, it was our arts coverage that seemed to inspire the majority of calls and comments I received last week. There might have been an initial reason for the call, but it then segued into reader appreciation for the arts coverage. At the end of the week, I had lunch with a prominent businessman who wanted to share ideas on how to further expand our arts focus – via shows, publishing, partnerships with major institutions in towns, etc. Why shouldn’t this be a step in the direction of Minot developing into an artist colony or a destination with constant programming featuring regional arts and artists?

Who knows? Maybe there is enough interest in and support for the arts for the community to come together behind some renewed vision. It would take a lot of cooperation and a number of steps, but it is certainly not impossible. It’s really a matter of desire. If there is one thing we’ve learned over the past six months, it is that there is plenty of artistic talent right here at home.

Meanwhile, we are probably not done with adding interactive features to the newspaper. This has been one of my primary objectives and I have written about it frequently in this column. From sharing readers’ photography and recipes (we’ve solicited both for publication) to adding fun new contests, we’re planning on upping our degree of two-way exchanges in 2018. We’re certainly open to your ideas!

Calling all artists (of all stripes) and handcrafters! We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your stories, passion and works. All you need do is reach out to your Minot Daily News!