Crookston businesses to hold market featuring Native art

The market will feature approximately 10 artists from the Anishinaabe Artisan Market, an artist collective from the Bemidji area.

Wendy Roy Beaded Keychains.jpg
The work of Wendy Roy, who specializes in bead work, will be among the products for sale by approximately 10 artists at the Anishinaabe Artisan Market in Crookston.
Contributed / Wendy Roy

CROOKSTON, Minn. – Sistas Corner and Sweetlight Gallery in Crookston are hosting the Anishinaabe Artisan Valentine’s Day Market, an event that will feature the work of Native artists from north-central Minnesota, on Saturday, Feb. 12.

The market will include approximately 10 artists from the Anishinaabe Artisan Market, an artist collective from the Bemidji area.

Sistas Corner opened in Crookston in November. The store features vintage items, gifts and the work of about 20 regional artists. It also regularly hosts pop-up shops, at which local makers can display and sell their products.

In an effort to diversify the artists featured in the Sistas Corner pop-up shops, co-owner Shirley Iverson connected with Sharon Nordrum, who leads the Anishinaabe Artisan Market.

“It started out to be sort of small, and then it grew,” said Iverson.


As the event grew in number of artists, Iverson reached out to Andy Hall, owner of next door Sweetlight Gallery, to help host the event. The collaboration allows more space for artists to display their work.

The Anishnaabe Artistan Market currently has around 40 Native and non-Native members who are artists from the Red Lake, Leech Lake and White Earth Reservations and Bemidji area. Nordrum, an artist herself, started organizing the collective around four years ago. Artists from the collective usually sell their products at events near Bemidji, and the market in Crookston will be the collective’s farthest from home yet.

The artists sell a variety of products. Nordrum specializes in folk-style painting and sells items like cards, coffee mugs and tote bags with her artwork on it. Jessica Thompson, a new artist to the collective, will be selling pucker-toe moccasins and beaded jewelry. Carla Cunningham, a non-Native artist in the collective, will be at the market with cutting boards and woven baskets.

“We’re a very creative group of people and we’re always trying new things,” said Nordrum. “I have people that do acrylic pours. I have people that work with clay, woodworking, diamond willow, basket weaving, birchbark, all those different mediums that people use.”

But despite the variety of art created by artists in the Anishinaabe Artisan Collective, Nordrum says that at many events in the area, Native artists are excluded.

“We’re not told about events and we can’t get on lists for them, so having our own collective and putting on our own shows gets our art out there to the community. Through art, I think that we can bridge some of the racial tension that is felt throughout most communities,” said Nordrum.

The Valentine’s Day market will be Sistas Corner’s first big event, but Iverson hopes to connect with more small creators for pop-up shops in the future.

“I think that our region has far more cultural diversity than you can sometimes see, and I also want to support locally made, small entrepreneurs,” said Iverson.


The Anishinaabe Artisan Valentine’s Day Market will be from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12, at Sistas Market and Sweetlight Gallery in Crookston. More information on the event and artists in attendance is available on the Anishinaabe Artisan Valentine’s Day Market Facebook page .

Related Topics: CROOKSTON
Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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