12th annual Grand Cities Art Fest opens this weekend
For 35 years, she taught special education, specializing in visually impaired for the Roseau Community School District, and tried to find things to keep herself busy in her spare time. But routine chores, such as doing the dishes, weren’t cutting it for her.
“I had to come up with something to occupy my life,” she said.
So, she bought a pottery business.
At the time, she knew little about pottery other than the little bit she had done as a stress reliever in her spare time.
Fourteen years later, the now retired teacher has transformed her pottery venture into a successful business. Engevik won Best in Show at last year’s Grand Cities Art Fest, and will return this year as the festival’s featured artist.
“I feel like I won the lottery,” Engevik said. “It’s very exciting and very surprising. I didn’t think I’d ever get there.”
About 160 other artists will join Engevik at the 12th annual Grand Cities Art Fest from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Drawing and art have been a passion since Engevik was a little girl. As a child, Engevik said the only thing she wanted to do was draw. Many of those sketches were of horses, much to the chagrin of her mother.
Now, Engevik, 60, is a self-taught potter, who said she has molded clay all of her life. The clay, according to Engevik, allows for a hand’s on activity for her to express herself.
Engevik’s shop, Black Horse Pottery and Tile, located in Roseau, Minn., makes everything from coffee mugs and vases to tiled fireplaces. Many of the items feature drawings of horses that Engevik grew up drawing as a child.
She said designing the pottery is a process, and every piece she makes is a little different. A mug may take Engevik an hour, whereas she may devote a couple of hours a day over the span of a week on a vase.
“If I can’t do something creative, then I feel dull,” she said. “A great thing about clay is that I can rearrange it to tell different stories. It’s a great way for me to get creative and problem solve.”
Engevik has attended all of the previous Art Fests, but never in her wildest dreams did she think she would one day be the festival’s featured artist when she started her pottery business.
“I’ve come a long way since learning everything from trial and error,” Engevik said. “I’m totally, totally surprised that I’ve been honored.”
Art Fest continues to see growth, changes
Despite being in its 12th year, the Grand Cities Art Fest continues to find ways to adapt and grow as a festival.
Marie Striden, executive director for the North Valley Arts Council, said although they have around the same number of artists as last year, the quality of those attending this year’s festival will be the highest in history.
“We’ve done a great job of finding improvements every year,” Striden said. “At this point, we’re a well-oiled machine.”
There will be about 160 artists at this year’s Art Fest. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in downtown Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Admission and parking are free.
One of the major changes at the Art Fest this year will be the addition of more children-friendly activities. One such booth will allow kids to paint a mural that will then be hung up around the city.
“This really is a family event, and we want to try to get as many members of the family involved as we can,” Striden said.
Though rain is in the forecast for this weekend, the Art Fest will continue rain or shine unless the National Weather Service issues a severe weather warning, Striden said.
This year’s festival will also include a cooling tent, as well as some vendors being housed inside the Grand Historic Events Center.
Xcel Energy Stage—Town Square, Grand Forks
11 a.m.: Polish Dancers
12:20 p.m.: Ron Franz
1:20 p.m.: African Arts Arena
4:20 p.m.: Acoustic Smoke
5:20 p.m.: One Team Ride
11 a.m.: Popejoy Strand Duo
12:20 p.m.: Penumbra
1:20 p.m.: Artist awards and “Spring Awakening” performance
2:20 p.m.: Sneaky Wild Oats
3:20 p.m.: The Diers
HB Sound and Light Stage—River Road, East Grand Forks
11 a.m. to noon---Matt Strand Group
12:20 p.m.: The New Hi Fi
1:20 p.m.: Carl Unbehaun
2:20 p.m.: Acoustic Smoke
3:20 p.m.: Ron Franz
4:20 p.m.: Calamity James
Noon: Carl Unbehaun and Lisa Dixon
1:20 p.m.: The Diers
2:20 p.m.: Popejoy Strand Duo
3:20 p.m.: Mudbucket
Performances around the venue
- Grand Forks Greenway
Kathryn the Clown: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday
Greg Herriges: 11 a.m. to noon Sunday
Ron Franz: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
- South Cabela’s Parking Lot
The Lovely Dozen Belly Dancers
Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to noon---Formal Set
Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.---Kids’ Jam
BEST OF CATEGORY
The Best of Category artists will be recognized at the Art Fest awards ceremony at 1:20 p.m. Sunday at the Xcel Energy Main Stage in Town Square, downtown Grand Forks. Best of Show and Runners-Up will be announced. The Best of Category artists are:
Naturals: All Things Herbal
Ceramics: Ulmer Stoneware
Photography: Darren Olson Photography
Drawing/Painting: John Cartwright Railroad Art
Textiles: Blushing Tomato
Recycled: Recollections by Kathy Kirchoff
Wood: Wood Wildflowers
Glass: Becker Art Glass
Jewelry: John’s Very Cool Glass Art
Metal: Swede Steel Works
Mixed Media: Ragged Edge Art Studio
ART FEST INFO
Guests can pick up an official guide to the Grand Cities Art Fest at most downtown Grand Cities’ businesses. The festival will also have a phone app for the second straight year. To download the app, you can scan the QR code in the guide book or visit www.novac.org with your phone.