The bad news: Colleen is leaving us for the big city. The good news: She’s giving us lots of lead time, up to October. She’s done amazing things for Plains Art Museum, and we are grateful. Definitely a “glad for her/sad for us” kind of day. Here’s the official story:
Plains Art Museum Director/CEO Colleen Sheehy has accepted the role of president/executive director of Public Art Saint Paul, an arts organization that guides public art projects and programs in Minnesota’s capital city.
The appointment starts July 1 and will initially be part-time until early October, allowing Sheehy to complete projects and lead through this transition period at the Museum. Following Sheehy’s departure in October, Museum CFO Mark Henze will assume the duties of interim CEO until a new leader is on board. Sheehy started with Plains Art Museum in 2008, and previously was the education director at the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
“I care deeply about Plains Art Museum and the Fargo-Moorhead community. It’s been a wonderful journey for seven years, working with our board, staff, donors and supporters, artists, and other area organizations,” Sheehy said. “Over the next few months, I’ll be preparing for the Museum’s upcoming 40th anniversary in October, opening a major show of Picasso ceramics.”
Under Sheehy’s leadership, the Museum completed a major capital campaign, installed a newly commissioned mural by famed pop artist James Rosenquist, and opened the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity in 2012, a 25,500-square-foot addition. The Museum was recently named 2015 Not-for-Profit of the Year by the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.
“Colleen has been a stellar CEO for the Museum and we’re going to miss her greatly,” said Carol Rogne, Museum board chair. “Plains Art Museum has gained so much under her leadership, from expanded facilities and programs, to major foundation grants and heightened recognition as a progressive arts organization. We wish her the best in her new role.”View Event
We’re thrilled to announce two new members of our team: Melissa Sobolik (shown at right) as development director and Laura Youngbird (shown at left) as program director for an outreach project with Native American artists.
Melissa will lead fundraising efforts for donations and grants, membership, corporate partnerships, and legislative outreach. She was previously director of agency and client services at the Great Plains Food Bank where she directed programs statewide for food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens. She is also a member of the Fargo City Commission, and has served on the boards for Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity, Metro Youth Partnership, and Theatre B. Melissa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Concordia College, Moorhead. You can reach Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org, 701-551-6122.
Prior to this role, Laura taught at Circle of Nations School, an inter-tribal, off-reservation boarding school for grades 4-8 located in Wahpeton, N.D. She is a visual artist based in Breckenridge, Minn., who works in clay, collage, and printmaking. Laura is president of the Three Rivers Art Council, and has served as president of the Red River Indian Association and on the board of Lake Region Arts Council. She will direct the Museum’s Creativity among Native American Artists program, which offers expanded exhibition, professional development, and programming opportunities for Native artists in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin through a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. Laura graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead where she received a Bachelor’s of Fine Art degree, a Master’s degree in Drawing and Printmaking, and a Bachelor’s degree in Arts Education. You can reach Laura at email@example.com, 701-551-6119.View Event
We’re pleased to welcome Jessica Hoppe, relationship manager at Alerus Financial, onto our board of directors. Jessica is known for going the extra mile in her work and her community support. She has served as a member at large on the Museum’s finance committee for many years and is now joining the board in the role of treasurer. She is also currently on the board of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and has served in various capacities with the March of Dimes and United Way of Cass Clay.
We thank outgoing board member and treasurer Jim Hambrick for his dedicated service to the Museum. Jim, a senior vice president at Cornerstone Bank, was instrumental in guiding us to the completion of our ten-year capital campaign and in fundraising for the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity.View Event
We are pleased to announce the election of Carol Rogne as the new board chair of Plains Art Museum. Carol is the founder and president/CEO of DFC Consultants, Ltd., which marked its 25th anniversary in 2014. She has grown DFC into a leading business software sales company with three offices throughout North Dakota.
Carol is an art collector and an artist, and since joining the board in 2012 has brought great energy and keen insights to the Museum governance. She also serves as vice president of the Sanford Health Foundation.
We are grateful to former board chair Julie Burgum for her service, and her continued participation as a board member. We also extend a heartfelt thank you to Joan Justesen for her contributions and service to our board. While Joan is officially retiring from the board, she will continue to take part in special projects.
Cheri Schoenfish and Brian Halverson both joined the board this summer for three-year terms.
Cheri is a human resources director at Microsoft, where she oversees the Skype learning and development team with members in six countries across seven locations. She also currently serves on the Dickinson State University Foundation board.
Brian is a trust officer and board member at Heartland Trust Company. The Fargo native graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Business and a minor in Art Studio. Brian’s service on our board brings together his avid interests in the arts and finance.View Event
It wouldn’t be a Spring Gala without a stellar silent auction populated by the works of regional and adopted artists of comprised of a vast majority of each artistic endeavor and discipline. Housed on the third floor of the Katherine Kilbourne Center for Creativity, in the Starion Financial Gallery, the works that reside in the auction relate a playful duality in keeping with the theme of the optical illusion. Inhabiting two or three contextual realms or dimensions at once, the contributing artists have outdone themselves in this regard.
Rendering pieces that stun and inspire with a wild mark, a steady hand, a smile, or a wink and a nod, they are invariably expressing dense suppositions or capturing the essence of their subjects and evoking polarizing emotions and ideas that are so humorous, raw, and ready to be discussed with a glass of champagne and a glow stick in hand.
Projected imagery, glowing wands and bracelets and lights one can utilize to scribe a tiddle or spell out that grand, supercilious ultimate truth you’ve been keeping to yourself all these years will abound on the evening of the 3rd thanks to the laboring of quite a few innovative museum members and experienced Plains staff.
Having seen the plans first hand, and the tireless efforts they’ve put forth, I have to say that I will be wowed if Gala-goers aren’t. More wowed than the time you realized you could totally afford switching to from a 3G to a 4G network and car insurance? Yes, ya dingus! You will be able to write your name in light! Something Alexander the Great never got a chance to do. Think about that.
Think about it.
The Plains is honored and excited, sometimes one before the other- and then both simultaneously- to have The Carluster Crumplebee Orchestra playing its Gypsy Jazz melodies on the Museum’s third floor from 7 to 9:30PM and Diane Miller and the Silver Daggers playing in the Museum’s first floor Atrium from 10PM to Midnight.
As you probably know, the show the Daggers put on is nothing short of elating, untamed and deeply resonant. There is no band in Fargo more mercurial and nourishing on that refreshingly playful and potent sort of vibration than Diane and her Silver Daggers. And if only Haley E. Rydell, of The Johnson Family Band and her own talented accord, could join in the fun. OH WAIT! She can! Ms. Rydell will be present to blend her crystal whispers and commanding quality of sounds to the Dagger fold and help the night shimmer and shine!
Gala Gala Back Y’all.
Y’know, since gaining employment at Downtown Fargo’s very own accredited artistic institution, the Plains Art Museum, I’ve been letting individuals who visit the area from out of state know that they are free to consider the Plains “Fargo’s Backyard.” A place that mom and dad keep ready to adventure in and explore- where you can romp in the sandbox and swing set of the imagination. It’s a spot in town where you could meet some quirky, offbeat friends who might be new to the neighborhood or perhaps some of the jokey locals eagerly searching for those creative Comrades in arms.
The Plains Art Museum Spring Gala on May 3rd is an event that totally encapsulates this notion, transcending any old ordinary Saturday night party to become, in the words of my tremendous, great and really nice Museum director Colleen Sheehy, “an extraordinary evening of fun and music, fine drink and food, good company, and incredible works of art.” Something of Fargo, in Fargo and for Fargo. Something of which I’m very proud to be a part!
See you there!View Event
Join us for a fun, informal gathering with Becky Dunham, curator at Plains Art Museum, and learn about her outreach with area artists, her thoughts on future exhibits, and how her professional road led her 1,300 miles straight north to Fargo-Moorhead from her prior curatorial role at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Meet the Curator
Thursday, January 23, 5:30 to 7:00 PM
Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar
FREE and open to the public
Prior to joining Plains Art Museum in October 2013, Becky was on the Houston museum’s curatorial team for five years. She pursued Ph.D. studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia, earned her master’s degree in art history from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and worked at the museums associated with both universities. She received her bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to her curatorial experience, she was an adjunct professor of art at Houston Community College.
Plains Art Museum is located at 704 First Avenue North in Fargo. To learn more about upcoming exhibitions, events, and art classes, visit www.plainsart.org.View Event
We are delighted to welcome four dynamic new members to our Board of Directors. Mike Allmendinger, Brian Hayer, Susan Mathison, and Sam Wai bring great enthusiasm and business expertise, and we are grateful for their participation. Read on to see what drew them to the Museum.
“To locate the Museum in downtown Fargo was a visionary move, and it’s had a tremendous impact on our culture in Fargo and Moorhead. I’m especially excited to support the experiences that the Plains Art Museum creates for our region, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to support this vision.”
Mike is the founder of Land Elements, a landscape architecture company with a team of landscape architects who focus on concept design to create a unique sense of place in the outdoor environment. In 2006 he also joined the Kilbourne Group as general manager. Kilbourne Group is a catalyst of inspiration and action for vibrant downtown communities. Mike is an active board member of Fargo’s Downtown Community Partnership and a hockey coach with Fargo Youth Hockey.
“I have been interested in art since I was a child. I collected artwork over the years and became even more interested when I won an auction item at the Plains Art Museum Spring Gala a few years back for a trip to New York with a guided art tour from the chief curator. It was an awesome experience. I chaired the Gala in 2013, and I’m excited to get more involved.”
After joining Warner and Company Insurance in 1986 as a business marketing trainee, Brian worked his way to leadership positions and was named president and CEO in 2007. In 2012, Brian and his company received prestigious recognition as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Family Owned Business of the Year, and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. He is an active member of several education, arts, and civic groups, and holds current leadership roles with the United Way of Cass Clay, Fargo Kiwanis, and the Downtown Community Partnership, among others.
“I have been interested in art from an early age when I won a contest for drawing a bunny. My mother and aunt are skilled artists and I loved watching them work. I’ve enjoyed supporting local artists and have filled the walls of my office with regional color.”
Dr. Susan Mathison is the founder and medical director of Catalyst Medical Center & Clinical Spa in Fargo. She specializes in Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), head/neck surgery and facial plastic surgery. A passionate advocate for total wellness and a skillful entrepreneur, Susan is a sought-after speaker, a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, a popular blogger, and the author of an upcoming book, Positively Beautiful: Loving the Skin You Are In. She also serves on the board for Dakota Medical Foundation, and has established a family fund through DMF that supports health initiatives with an emphasis on women and children.
Treasurer, American Crystal Sugar
“I enjoy art and have collected art for decades. I feel that art reflects who we are, our time and place, and ultimately, the human spirit.”
Sam Wai is the treasurer at American Crystal Sugar Company, the largest beet sugar producer in the United States, which generates nearly 20 percent of the nation’s sugar. He has worked in various financial roles at the company since 1979. Sam is a keen expert on wine who teaches Fargo/Moorhead Communiversity courses that provide meaningful insights on a region’s wine, history, and culture. A classical music devotee, he is also on the Board of Trustees for Minnesota Public Radio and served many years on MPR’s Regional Advisory Council for Fargo/Moorhead.View Event
We are pleased to announce an exciting addition to our Museum team with the appointment of Curator Becky Dunham. In this leadership role, she will organize museum exhibitions, direct the development of the Museum’s permanent collection, and serve as a key liaison to artists, scholars, and other museum professionals regionally and nationally. “Becky brings extensive experience in organizing exhibitions that are solidly grounded while also appealing to the public, and she excels at working with a permanent collection,” says Museum Director and CEO Colleen Sheehy. “She is excited to join our community engagement work, too, and is already getting to know many artists in Fargo-Moorhead.”
Prior to joining the Museum in early October, she was on the curatorial team for five years at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, working in the departments for Prints and Drawings, and for Modern and Contemporary Art. She has also worked at the Museum of Art and Archaeology in Columbia, Mo., and interned at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Fla.
Becky pursued Ph.D. studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia and earned her master’s degree in art history from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and her bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to her curatorial experience, she was an adjunct professor of art at Houston Community College and also taught courses at the University of Missouri and the University of Florida.
“I am honored to be joining the talented and enthusiastic team at Plains Art Museum, and I’m excited to explore and become an active member of the Fargo-Moorhead arts community,” Becky said. As a works on paper specialist, she admires the Museum’s history and commitment to collecting and displaying prints, photographs, and drawings as well as works in all media. “I hope to contribute to this and cultivate the innovative spirit of the region by programming stimulating exhibitions reflecting a wide variety of contemporary art practices,” she said.
“The Museum’s state-of-the-art educational and studio facilities will also be a daily inspiration as I collaborate with PAM staff to engage the public and foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of the visual arts. With such exceptional universities in the F-M area, I look forward to working closely with professors and art students both inside and outside of the Museum.”
A “Meet the Curator” reception will be held in mid-January.View Event
We are pleased to announce the election of Julie Burgum as the new board chair of Plains Art Museum. A dedicated and enthusiastic advocate for the arts and education, Julie joined the board in 2007. ”Plains Art Museum is such a wonderful resource and gathering place for the community and the entire region,” Julie said. ”As a former teacher, I greatly appreciate the creative inspiration and education the Museum offers, especially for young people throughout the surrounding area.”
A resident of Casselton, she is an active leader and volunteer in other non-profits and educational institutions. She is president of the Casselton Heritage Center, and also serves on the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Development Foundation Board of Trustees, the NDSU BisonArts Board, and the NDSU Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Advisory Council. Previously Julie was a family and consumer science teacher at West Fargo Middle School and a past board member of North Dakota 4-H Foundation and Rural Leadership North Dakota. The Bradley J. Burgum Skybridge connecting the Museum to the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity is named in honor of Julies late husband.
We are grateful to former board chair Arlette Preston for her service in this role, and her continued participation as a board member. We also say goodbye and extend a heartfelt thank you to Lisa Sluke for her contributions and service to our board.
Being an intern for the museum, one of my job duties will consist of writing posts for the blog! My name is Savanna and I am interning with Nicole Ellis, the museums Communication Manager. I will be spending my Spring Semester doing a Cooperative Learning Experience here at the Plains Art Museum. I am a senior at Concordia College, majoring in Communications – Public Relations, along with a minor in Business.
I am so excited for this opportunity to expand my classroom knowledge through a real world experience! Throughout my internship, I am hoping to get a strong understanding of how the Communication Department promotes visual arts and education to the public.
I have been employed at the front desk of the Plains as a staff of Visitor Services since May of 2011. To have the opportunity to get involved and learn more about the organization and the impact creativity has on our community will be such a valuable experience.View Event