Northwest Minnesota Arts Council announces 'Of the Year' award winners

Apr. 2—WARREN, Minn. — The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council has announced the winners of its "Of the Year" awards, which recognize artists and arts advocates in this region who stand out in terms of artistry or volunteerism in the arts.

The awards will be presented during a reception, free and open to the public, on April 21 at the Kittson County History Museum at Lake Bronson.

The awards are Artist of the Year, Arts Advocate of the Year and the Star Award, considered to be a lifetime achievement award. The winners were nominated by residents in the council's service area, which includes Kittson, Mahnomen, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties.

Randy Larson, of Gatzke, is receiving the Artist of the Year for Music. He has played with many bands, including Back Behind the Barn Boys and Eagle Creek, and has been a mentor to aspiring musicians in this region.

The award may be given to an artist in any discipline — including visual, performance or creative writing — who is emerging or at a midway point in their artistic endeavors. It includes a $500 cash award.

Romuald (Rom) Ogaard, of Crookston, will receive the Arts Advocate of the Year Award. A longtime radio host on KSRQ-FM 90.1 radio at Northland Community and Technical College, Ogaard is planning to retire this month.

He has partnered with the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council to present a weekly radio segment that promotes artists, the arts and arts organizations. He also hosts segments that feature the East Grand Forks Campbell Library and the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks. These radio programs have disseminated news and information about the arts to this region and beyond.

The Arts Advocate of the Year Award includes a $500 cash award.

The recipient of the Star Award, Betsy Saurdiff, of Grygla, is a retired German and visual arts teacher for the Grygla and Goodridge school districts. A well-known potter in the region, she sells her work at her studio, Betts Pottery, and at art shows.

Saurdiff, who has had a solo show in the NWMAC gallery at Northland Community and Technical College, is a regular entrant and award winner in the annual NWMAC Art Exhibit. She was named the Arts Advocate of the Year in 2018.

The Star Award includes a $5,000 cash award.

The council's annual art exhibit will open at noon April 21 for the public to view the artwork at the Kittson County History Museum. Entertainment and refreshments will begin at 2 p.m., with the awards program set to begin at 3.

Funding for the Northwest Star and Northwest Artist of the Year awards is from the McKnight Foundation. Funding for the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year comes from the Minnesota State Legislature.

For more information about these awards, see the council's website,

. The council is headquartered in Warren.