North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) has awarded two artist fellowships each in the amount of $3,500. The Individual Artist Fellowship recipients in Visual and Media Arts are Pieper Bloomquist of Grand Forks, and Jon Offutt of Fargo. Bloomquist and Offutt were recommended by a review panel whose selections were approved by NDCA’s Board of Directors.
Pieper Bloomquist, Visual Arts
Bloomquist will use the fellowship to produce artwork with traditional materials, in Swedish dalmålning/ bonadsmålning styles, for two invited gallery exhibitions: Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center, Moorhead, MN, fall 2021, and Swedish American Museum, Chicago, IL fall 2022.
“Because of its story telling component, this particular folk art is inherently community based. Although it is a Swedish art form, I believe it makes a wonderful vehicle that anyone can use to do what humans naturally do: tell stories. My background growing up in a rural upper midwestern town inspires me to paint scenes from rural life, featuring a community and culture which are identifiable among the North Dakota audience. People from sparsely populated areas do not get many opportunities to be exposed to lesser known folk arts, much less the use of natural materials. Using hand-made paints is an unusual technique, and one that is not readily available to many audiences.” ~ Pieper Bloomquist
Jon Offutt, Visual Arts
Offutt will use the fellowship to learn how to kiln-form images of the prairie landscape and exhibit these “Dakota Horizon” glass pieces around North Dakota.
“I discovered my fascination for the vessel form while throwing clay in a school basement art studio, and I began undergraduate school studying ceramics and pottery. An elective class introduced me to a material and process perfectly attuned to my personality—glass. My undergraduate years focused on the technical aspects of making a vessel—its quality of form and symmetry. My research in graduate school concentrated on the traditional processes of the discipline, including cane work, hot casting, and equipment design and construction. In the ensuing years I’ve built a studio and a career. As my technical skills became second nature, I began exploring surface textures and color reactions. Long hours in the studio and a willingness to explore have resulted in a body of work that is progressively more precise yet imaginative, sophisticated, and emotive.
A satisfying aspect of my work is the outreach and advocacy that also serves to help market my glass. I’ve spent a significant amount of energy encouraging the arts community in my region and in my city—its social fiber, educational prominence, and economic vitality. This work is very relevant to those audiences that live on the prairie. It’s about their environment and my interpretation of it. This grant provides an unusual opportunity for these rural areas that don’t always have access to STEAM experiences like glassblowing. I am their only prospect for this experience.” ~ Jon Offutt
The Individual Artist Fellowship program recognizes practicing artists residing in North Dakota with a monetary fellowship award. This program is designed to support professional artists with outstanding talent and ability to improve their artistic skills and enhance their career opportunities. Fellowships for Music and Literature artists will be awarded in 2022.
For more information on NDCA’s grant programs please visit http://www.nd.gov/arts/grants or call 701-328-7590.
The North Dakota Council on the Arts is the state agency responsible for the support and development of the arts throughout North Dakota and is funded by the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.