In Focus: Watermark Art Center Prepares For Grand Opening
The Watermark Art Center in Bemidji is unveiling their newest facility to the public tomorrow. For almost 35 years, Watermark has brought beauty to the city with artwork created by local and regional artists.
“A lot of people have given money and supported this project. They’ve given their time, and so it’s really exciting for everybody to finally see this all come to fruition and be able to enjoy the new art center,” says Lori Forshee-Donnay, the Watermark’s executive director.
This new space has been developing for a few years now. The old spot for the exhibit was getting a little cramped, so it was due for an upgrade.
Forshee-Donnay says, “We used to be in a space that was about one or two galleries with a small gift shop and some offices in the Carnegie library building. In about 2012 we purchased this property to be able to grow into a bigger space.”
Several hundreds of art pieces line the walls of the Watermark Art Center. Each piece is special in its own way.
“What really unique about the new art center is historically we had only a couple of galleries. This facility actually has four galleries. We have the Lakeview gallery, we have the Marley and Sandy Kaul gallery. We have the Mikanan gallery which is dedicated to Native American art. Bemidji State University has the Harlow and Kleven gallery, and so anytime that you come there’s going to be anywhere from three to four shows that you can actually see,” says Forshee-Donnay.
Another cool thing is the pieces actually rotate in and out, so you’re bound to see something new every time you come.
“The shows that are here can stay up a little bit longer so people have time to access them and see the work. Some exhibits are up for a few months. Some of them are up for maybe three or four months. So it’s going to vary from show to show, depending on what the work is,” adds Forshee-Donnay.
Somewhere down the line, Watermark hopes to become a regional venue for large art events, expanded gallery shows and enhanced classroom experiences. But right now they’re looking forward to the big day.
“It’s a lot of work by volunteers and the crew that built this! It’s been exciting, but we’re here today and we’re excited to be able to open to the community on Saturday,” says Forshee-Donnay.
The grand opening starts with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 in the afternoon tomorrow. The gallery will then stay open until 4.