Northwoods Friends of the Arts–

Welcome to our Art World!

THURSDAY, JUNE 3 – SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 2021       

Spring greetings Northwoods Friends of the Arts members and friends. Time is fast approaching for the 2021 Spring Art Expo (SAE) and what a grand opportunity it is to exhibit your arts or crafts in Cook Minnesota.

From June 3 – 26, art will be exhibited at the NWFA Gallery. All proceeds from art sold will go directly to the artist.

The SAE entry fee is $15.00 for NWFA members and $30.00 for non-members.  Membership information is enclosed.

Each artist will have approximately 4x8 feet of wall space to hang work.  Sculptures and other crafts that do not hang on a wall will have approximately 6 feet of table space.  Artists who have their own display unit may use it if it fits within the allowed space.  All artwork or crafts need to be delivered to the gallery on June 1 or 2.  Contact Alberta Whitenack, 218 666-2153, to set up an appointment.

Attached are SAE registration forms HERE which need to be returned to NWFA by May 13.  Artist biographies are requested and should be e-mailed to Shawna Kishel at

For additional information, contact Alberta Whitenack, 218 666-2153, or Shawna Kishel, 218 780-6510, or click on to  

Additional forms are also available at the NWFA Gallery, 210 River Street in Cook, Mn.


Happy 2021 Spring NWFA Members! 

Gallery open on Wednesdays beginning in May.  

210 S. River Street in Cook,

Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wed., Thurs., and Fri.  Saturday mornings the hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.



“Finding Light” photo contest  

  • This is the final week to enter, ending May1, to enter the photo contest.

  • Visit the gallery or see the website, for instructions and entry forms NWFAMN.ORG or Also, here is a link for entry form: 

  • This is also an opportunity to sell your photos!


“Finding Light” photo contest EXHIBIT

  May 6th until May 29th with quilt display

Gallery visitors will view, purchase and vote for their favorite photographs making the contest a “people choice” contest/sale.  (10-4) Wed., Thurs. Fri. & (9-1) Sat.


May 6-29  Quilt Display by  Barb Schroeder as well as the photo contest.  Open (10-4) Wed., Thurs. Fri. and (9-1)Sat. 


Spring Art Expo registrations are due May 13th, Thurs.

Exhibit Dates: June 3rd-26th 

          Open (10-4) Wed., Thurs. Fri. and (9-1)Sat.

          All exhibits only in NWFA Gallery this year


Spring and Summer plans are sprouting at Northwoods Friends of the Arts.  Schedule available soon.  


  • The Curious and Creative projects will still be in the “North Country Free Press”  and new placemats and projects have been delivered to the Cook library to share.


  • May 1-29  Quilts Display & “Finding Light” photo Contest/sale.


  • April is time to seek donations for “Music in the Park”, 13 performances on Wednesday evenings June 16 thru August, 6-8 pm.

  • June 3-26 Spring Art Expo in the gallery Wed, Thurs., Fri. & Sat.

  • June Timber Days in Cook, June 11, 12 & 13th.  NWFA will have their own tent providing an activity table and NWFA will also participate in the parade. Gallery hours will be extended from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm on Sat., June 12th.

  • 50/50 raffle tickets on sale beginning June 11th.  Win half of the proceeds of the ticket sales or a painting by artist, Sue Rauschenfels.


  • Summer“Curious and Creative” free classes for kids begin June 17th through July.  Calendar to be public soon.


  • Summer Writers Group—6/22/21-Tuesday, 1-3.  A Gathering for Writers with Ellie Larmouth:  A time to share writings.


  • July begins Summer Curious &Creative Art EXPERIENCES.   The Fee is $10 for NWFA Members; $20 for non-Members


  • July 13, 2021, Writer’s Workshop. Sheila Packa, Instructor.   Tuesday, 1-4:00.  $30.00 members, $45.00 nonmembers.


  • August 19th CONCERT “Monroe Crossing”  tickets are $20 .


  • September 9 & 10, Watercolor Workshop -  “Fracturing: Formulating a Design Strategy” by MaryBeth Downs, Instructor. $60.00 members, $75.00 nonmembers Thursday and Friday, 9-4:00




FYI                                  OPPORTUNITIES FOR ARTISTS


The Little Big Show is an open art exhibition at the MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids MN:

   Submissions must be received no later than Friday, April 30.

One submission per artist

No more than 12" in any dimension including framing

Priced at no more than $100 (or listed Not For Sale)     


FYI  Call for Artist in Cook MN

“Its stARTS on River St.:  Contact Crystal Phillips at Cook Library before May 1 2021 for a chance to fund your art project for River Street for up to $1000.  Projects can be performing arts, temporary or permanent art installations or interactive demonstrations and classes.  There is a one month planning time.218-666-2210


FYI Changes to Minnesota State Fair Registration Dates to enter in the fine arts competition:


“Planning is underway for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair, and we're moving forward with hope, caution and care. We missed seeing you last year and are looking forward to welcoming you back to the Great Minnesota Get-Together! 

In order to provide you with the most accurate information possible as you begin to register your artwork, we are pushing back registration opening dates later into the spring. We’ll continue to be in touch as plans are finalized and the outlook for the State Fair becomes clearer. In the meantime, please note the important dates below, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.”

Registration opens

  • Monday, May 17

Registration closes

  • Monday, July 12 at 4:30 pm

Minnesota State Fair Competition Department: | 651-288-4417 |




FYI "Art Around the Lake” in Tower MN   Evening Gala Art Sale


Date: Fri. July 23, ticket prices  $30-$35.  Proceeds are to go to the completion of Tower’s Cultural Center, hopefully to be finished in 2021.  On Sat. the exhibit/sale will be free to the public.  They will accept the work of artists but preferably not jewelry.  The contact person in Tower is Julie Bailey  at 706 581-3584.


FYI Writers/authors


Check out the statewide author contest, APRIL 1-MAY 31, 2021 by Arrowhead Library Systems, for Adult and Young Adult category:

For the “Communities Create” category link…add “-create” 


Next Bulletin in May!  

Thank you members & volunteers!











To access the contest information and registration form please select the "Classes and Events" section of this website or click the photo above.

Ten Years After Art in a Small Jim DeVries

Click here to watch video


Hand made masks in adult and children's sizes are on sale at NWFA gallery



NWFA closed on Holidays.

210 S. River St., next to Dream Weaver Salon


Welcome and thanks for visiting the Northwoods Friends of the Arts (NWFA) website, we’re the Heart of Art in the Northwoods!

Since our inception in late 2010, we’ve established a vibrant, contemporary, regional arts center providing arts education, exhibition, performances and community outreach, through our mission to…



The NWFA board of directors has had to meet via internet.  Planning is focusing around virtual classes and exhibits.  Directors are seeking experienced  advisors at this point.

The membership drive for 2020/21 begins in June and memberships and donations may be mailed to NWFA, PO Box 44, Cook MN  55723.


Call 218 780-7130


Winter Gallery Hours

Thurs. & Fri. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sat. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

closed on Holidays.

210 S. River St., next to Dream Weaver Salon





Weekly Summer Concerts On Wednesday Evenings In Cook



Welcome and thanks for visiting the Northwoods Friends of the Arts (NWFA) website, we’re the Heart of Art in the Northwoods!


Since our inception in late 2010, we’ve established a vibrant, contemporary, regional arts center providing arts education, exhibition, performances and community outreach, through our mission to…



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Poster designed by Andrew's Cameras

photo by Carol Bowman

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The photo contest, Take Your Best Shot" was in progress but now, sadly, is canceled for 2020. 


The board of directors of Northwoods Friends of the Arts have discussed at length what to do about the agenda of events planned for the next few months.  Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, some events must be canceled but we want to tell you, first, what will continue in the next few months…we hope….

Spring Art Expo…and..The registration deadline right now is April 18th..check the website for schedule changes and registration forms...NWFAMN.ORG



“A Canvas and You”, a small works project, is in the future when we get the go ahead to gather together to distribute the canvases….

In the meantime, if you have a canvas, go ahead and start since you may have time while you are practicing social distancing ….


Grab a canvas (or two).   Paint it, draw on it,  weave on it, glue on it, slash or “felt”  on that canvas. ! The art work is your choice, your medium and your subject. 


The show requirements are:  

  • The subject is your own and the medium (glue, paint, fabric, objects, etc.) is your choice.  

  • All artwork must be completed on each 8 x 10 inch canvas at $10 per.,

  • Each Canvas must be signed and dated by the artist on the back.  

  • The canvas must not be altered in size or shape and must be wired for hanging.  

  • All edges of the canvas must be “finished” but not framed.  

  • All art will be for sale for $50 each during the exhibit time.  NWFA will collect taxes and retain 50%, with 50% going to the artist.  

  • Mailing or shipping canvases will be at the expense of the artist.  

  • Art left after two weeks of the exhibit conclusion will become the property of NWFA and may be used for future fundraisers.  

  • Artwork deemed inappropriate will not be accepted.  

  • NWFA may use an image of the art to promote NWFA at its discretion. 


The 8 X 10 canvases will be available for purchase at NWFA Gallery as soon as the gallery is safe to be open.  You will be notified in advance when that is possible. The timeline to be announced via radio, newspapers, bulletins and website ( or



The canvas sale and exhibit is tentative for July 8 until August 28th with a grand reception at the gallery honoring artists on July 10th from 5 to 7 p.m. at 210 S. River St. next to Dream Weaver Spa and Salon.  It is a fundraiser.

Register and take your canvas(es) home from Northwoods Friends of the Arts Gallery in Cook, MN at a time depending on the global pandemic guidelines for social gatherings. 



when this is over….”show us what you’ve been creating during your radical sabbatical….

Don’t quarantine creative genius”…Lisa Simensen

Programs Canceled for March 25 thru April 

  • The NWFA Gallery in Cook is closed now and for the month of April unless notified..

  • Thursdays’ woodcarvers group canceled for now.

  • Saturdays' Open Studio Art canceled until May. 

  • The last Winter Writers Group meeting scheduled for April 11 canceled.  Look toward the “Summer Writers Group” due to begin June 9th, Tues., 6:30-8:30. Fingers crossed!

  • A slate of "Curious and Creative" classes planned by Alberta Whitenack and her volunteer instructors is canceled.  New classes will be rescheduled at a later date.


Until then, NWFA encourages artists who might own an 8 X 10 canvas to work on their entry project or any other project during this time…

Let's start a "tell us your art ‘Stay In Place’ story”. 

Send to….Lois Garbisch

see Face Book and website: ..we “try” to keep uptodate !!




It  stARTS on River Street

Creative Place making Workshop for Artists

Visit:  Cook Public Library or Northwoods Friends of the Arts

Call:  218-666-2210 (Cook Public Library)

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March Artists of the Month, Pajari and Musto


“Sunlight and Shadows” by Laura Pajari and Kris Musto is the newest exhibit in Cook, MN at Northwoods Friends of the Arts opening on Thursday, March 5th until the 28th. The exhibit consists of three-dimensional art using mixed media. The reception will be held on March 20, 5:00 – 7:00 pm at our Gallery in Cook. Come meet the artists, see the work, and enjoy food and friends.


Both of these artists are long time members and volunteers at NWFA. Pulling from both extraordinary and mundane experiences, Laura and Kris explore the duality and metaphor of the moments of sunlight and shadow we all encounter moving through life. By creating three dimensionally with jewelry, beads, found objects, stitches, quilts, dyes and fabric they are also creating tangible connections with the viewer through objects infused with magic that can be taken home.


Laura Pajari grew up in Cook on a farm acquired 120 years ago by her maternal great grandparents (the Homestead Act 1862) and has lived in Cook all her life. Making art, in Laura Pajari’s words….

“My art is an important tool. I use (creating art) to battle my demons of depression and PTSD.

From sun catchers to silverware art, bird feeders to blogging, candle making to canning and tarot to talismans, I’m always searching for new tools to balance the darkness and the light.

I strive to create sacred spaces in which to meditate and create. I’m inspired by these great North woods, the moon, Halloween and sunshine. I hope you find hope, humor, and honesty in my work. “


Kris makes art about what she is thinking and feeling. “It’s a tricky thing to translate into visual images”…Kris Musto.


Musto has extensive experience working with paint, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography, collage, fiber, fabric, printmaking, text and anything else within reach. She holds a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. As a volunteer for NWFA she has contributed, over years, teaching classes in (Collage, acrylic painting, handmade books) and co-created exhibits “Aprons In April” (Lyn Reed) and “The Adventures of Jeanne & Kris” (Jeanne O’Melia).

" Take Your Best Shot Winners"

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Winners of the Best Shot Photo Contest 2019 Announced at May 24th Reception.



Student,  Kristin Cook, "Cottentail"  add photo KCookPeoplesChoice19


Student category---1st place Xavier Mitchell, untitled. add photo XMitchellS1stPlace19
Judges comments: 
Great color Good composition, foreground in focus with background out of focus.  Illusion of movement of plants in the background.


Student Category--2nd runner up,  Zoe Trip, ”Look Me In The Eye” add photo ZTrip1stSRunnerup19


Student Category--3rd runner up Katy Hartwig, “Make a Wish” add photo KHartwig3rdS3rdRunnerup19



Adult Category--1st place, Carol Bowman, "Icy Artwork Along the Shore" add photo CBowmanA1st2nd19
Judges comments:
Good balance and color of rocks.  Vibrant rainbow of color in the ice.  

Dramatic view.


Adult Category--2nd Runner up,  Carol Bowman, “Chilly Sunny Morning "


Adult Category--3rd Runnerup, Sue Minten, “Poppies” add photo SMintonA3rdRunnerup19



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The Northwoods Friends of the Arts Writers' groups are open to all who enjoy the writing process.


 These writing experiences are led by Ellie Larmouth.


Summer Wriers Group: Meets every 2nd and 4th Tues each month" at 6:30Located at NWFA Gallery



There’s an ART for everyone here at NWFA!


You’ll find listings for painting classes, pottery, weaving and special youth painting and crafts classes offered on a regular basis in our classroom area. We also feature a summer writing class, concerts throughout the year, dance and drama performances and literary readings, too.

Classes and workshops are taught by our members as well as from instructors out of the immediate area.


Look around our site to discover all we offer and learn how we can make your art blossom! We hope you will consider membership in our organization.

Literary readings and book signings are held here too. So there’s always something of interest taking place in the gallery along with the lovely display of “Up North” artwork, prefect for your enjoyment and gift ideas.

Volunteers are the backbone of this organization and are needed to staff the gallery, can you lend a hand?

And of course, donations are always appreciated to support NWFA and the quality programs we present for the residents and visitors in Cook and the surrounding area!

Ten Years After Art in a Small Jim DeVries

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Certain activities by NWFA are made possible in part by a grant provided by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC) and is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

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