May 11, 2019 | By: Malaak Khattab

In Focus: First Friday Art Walk

The first Friday of every month brings new arts to the city of Bemidji for the First Friday Art Walk. This month, local artists put their artwork on display at the Northwest Indian Community Development Center to showcase their designs.

For Deanna Croaker, her handicraft of decorative sewing blankets and quilts is a a form of healing.

“Remembering my mom because we use to do sewing and blankets when I was younger,” Croaker said. “We learned from our family friend and an elder, from the eager way she did her blankets. So that’s what we use to do to make ends meet or just some mom and daughter time.”

For artist Brian Dow, his paintings are culture based. He says he depicts Native Americans in America, and he has painted murals for the juvenile center in Bemidji and for the Water Park in Thief River Falls. He says he paints what he grew up to know.

“Mostly my culture, that’s what I like to share with everybody. There are a few times that I tried to paint scenes of city life but my heart wasn’t in it,” Dow said. “So when I went back to doing this. This is where I felt more comfortable.”

Northwest Indian Community Development Center event coordinator Ivie Roberts says a lot of hidden talents can be found here. People tend to display their best art work.

“We have birch bark baskets, painting, jewelry, and we just now added fun stuff to actually craft that you can come and make and take with you,” Roberts said.

For Kenn Mitchell, making chokers is a tradition he wants to pass on to others so that they’ll know how to make traditional chokers.

Another hands-on arts and crafts corner for kids is the Make and Take where they learn the basics of sewing.

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