Artists Open Their Studios, Share Their Stories

Charly Haley, MSUM Multimedia Journalism

Paint in Paul Allen’s downtown Fargo studio.

FARGO, N.D. – Artists of the Red River Valley showed their colors this past weekend by opening their studios to the public during the ninth annual Studio Crawl.

A variety of mediums were showcased at 40 studio locations, some of which featured multiple artists. The art mediums included stained glass, painting, ceramics, photography, drawing and more. Many of the artists also displayed works in progress.

She ‘paints everything’

Painter Kim Jore explains her community paint project to studio-crawlers visiting her Moorhead, Minn., studio.

One artist who displayed a work in progress was Kim Jore of Riverzen Art Studio in downtown Moorhead, Minn.

Jore, a painter, had a partially completed mural of a Fargo skyline on the back wall of her studio for art-crawlers to see.

“I paint everything,” Jore said, “from abstract, to landscape, to portraits.” She said she’s most complimented on the range of her work.

Paintings at Kim Jore’s studio in Moorhead, Minn.

There was also a painting station for visitors at Jore’s studio to try their own hands at the artist’s craft. She had a large sheet of paper for people to “make their mark” with the paint and brushes that were available. As an art teacher, Jore likes the idea of people adding to a community painting.

“I guess my mission is to teach people what I know and show people what I can do,” Jore said.

This was Jore’s sixth year in the Studio Crawl.

Mark Bratlie (left), a stained glass artist, explains the Studio Crawl brochure to two visitors at his downtown Fargo studio.

He ‘wandered into it’

Across the river in downtown Fargo, Mark Bratlie works with stained glass at Turtle Shell Stained Glass Studio. He’s participated in the Studio Crawl for three years.

“I don’t really have an art background, so I kind of just wandered into it and fell in love with it,” Bratlie said. His first stained glass project was a window for his sister’s house.

A workspace in Mark Bratlie’s downtown Fargo art studio.

“The first one took a long time because I wasn’t familiar with it,” Bratlie said. He’s been making stained glass panels for about 30 years now.

Bratlie recently retired from his job as a school teacher and as a result has even more time to spend on his art.

Student studios opened

Another downtown stop on the Studio Crawl was North Dakota State University’s Renaissance Hall.

Matt Moeckel, an North Dakota State University student, fuels the fire of NDSU’s recently completed wood kiln.

The NDSU art building featured the former NDSU Student Art Society, now known as A.R.T. – an acronym that NDSU art senior Dave Savageau said doesn’t stand for anything specific, but rather whatever people want it to stand for.

Art studios throughout Renaissance Hall were open. The NDSU art students and faculty were also debuting a wood kiln, complete with demonstrations for studio-crawlers.

NDSU art graduate Meg Roberts said the kiln had been under construction for the past seven or eight years, and was finished this summer.

He regained energy

While painter Paul Allen may not be studying art in school like the NDSU students, he says he’s always learning.

Painter Paul Allen discusses his work with two visitors at his downtown Fargo art studio.

Allen has been part of the Studio Crawl since its inception in 2004. He only skipped one crawl in 2007 when he was taking a break from painting to create ink drawings.

“I kind of ran out of steam painting,” Allen said. He explained that as he experimented with drawing, he regained energy as an artist.

A painting in Fargo painter Paul Allen’s workspace.

“You don’t always know what’s truly important to you until you do something that shows you,” he said.

As a product of that one- to two-year break from painting, Allen now has 25 ink drawings to add to his vast artists’ collection. Much of his art collection was displayed at his downtown Fargo studio during the art crawl.

Artists appreciate the crawl

In addition to the open art studios, there were also many events during the weekend associated with the Studio Crawl, like a beer tasting, a brunch and a book signing.

Glass in Mark Bratlie’s downtown Fargo studio.

Many artists are appreciative of the Studio Crawl.

“It just gets people thinking about art in the F-M area,” Bratlie said.

The Studio Crawl is organized by Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists and has many sponsors.

Pinterest board curated by Charly Haley

Photos by Becki DeGeest and Charly Haley


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