The Fargo-Moorhead metro had another successful and busy year for the arts in 2019.
There was growth, travel, awards, milestones and new opportunities across the sector.
Here are just a very few of the successes in no particular order.
Three luminaries in the arts stepped down from their roles and left big shoes to fill:
- Linda Boyd, executive director of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, retired after 12 years. She was replaced by Paul Hegland.
- Laura Youngbird, director of the Native American Art Programs at Plains Art Museum, retired after five years. She was replaced by Joe Williams.
- Lucy Thrasher, a local vocal legend, wrapped up her fabulous career with the Fargo Moorhead Opera in the production “Three Decembers.”
Many businesses stepped in to #supportlocalart this year, but these three chose to do it in particularly creative ways to both work with artists and to enhance their brand:
- Vinyl Taco funded artists to paint guitars and auctioned them off.
- InterOffice funded artists to submit original artwork to be vinyl wrapped on Eames chairs by Office Sign Co.
- Christianson’s Business Furniture funded artists to submit original artwork to be vinyl wrapped on to a massive utility box outside its business on 13th Avenue South in Fargo.
Several arts organizations in the community celebrated major milestones in 2019:
- FMBallet turned 40 and celebrated founders Eddie and Kathy Gasper’s contribution to dance in the community with “Tribute.”
- The Fargo Moorhead Area Music Club turned 125 years old.
- Art was created throughout town to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote.
Several artists received national and international acclaim this year:
- Davies High School clarinetist Joanna Lin was accepted to the National Youth Orchestra, one of only three clarinetist accepted from across the country.
- The Fargo-Moorhead Youth Choir performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City to perform John Rutter’s “Mass of the Children.”
- Photographer Dan Francis placed fifth with his photograph “Passing Time” in the World Photographic Cup.
The Jade Presents Arts Partnership grants assisted in funding these full-length recordings:
- The Max Johnk Quartet, “Allweather.”
- The Knotties, “The Knotties.”
- David Allen, “Regrets and Retribution.”
- The Human Element, “Reflections in the Dark.”
- The Lake Agassiz Concert Band commissioned, along with 24 other institutions across the country, James Barnes’ "Ninth Symphony."
The arts were on the grow:
- The Fargo Moorhead Area Youth Symphonies grew so much they added a third orchestra and now have more than 200 students enrolled.
- PLACE: An Arts Community, a new multi-campus student organization dedicated to helping students learn about and enjoy the arts, launched College Arts Fest with more than 35 submissions from area students.
- The Creative Plains Foundation found a new, forever home inside Plains Art Museum’s Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity.
Art for all
The arts continued to think about and program how they can be more inclusive to everybody:
- Flutist Tiana Grisé performed a sensory concert inside Plains Art Museum’s exhibit “The Other Four.”
- The Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre continued its sensory friendly productions with the family favorite “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (although, sadly, they had to cancel some performances due to having to move the production out of their facility after a structural issue was found). Several local theater troupes scheduled one performance with audio descriptors and sign language interpreters to open the doors to as many community members as possible.
This list could go on and on, but in the interest of time and space, I’ll wrap it up here by saying this is truly just the tip of the artistic iceberg.
The local art scene isn’t just surviving, it’s thriving. Here’s to all the art that gets made — and all the ways that you #supportlocalart in 2020!
Dayna Del Val, president and CEO of The Arts Partnership, writes a monthly column for Life. For more information on the arts, go to http://theartspartnership.net.