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Dance, Drama, Literature, Music, Visual and Traditional Arts
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Musical instrument
Walter Piehl Painting
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Literary Arts pen
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Featured Artist Works Displayed in the Offices of the Governor

January, February, March 2009 - Ellendale Area Arists: Jessica Jenkins, Roberta Johnson, Ruth Redlin, Lana Schlecht, Ken Schmierer and Barbara Steinwand

Jessica Jenkins: Jessica was born in Ellendale, North Dakota, 18 years ago. She draws real life things with her own little twists to make the drawings more interesting. She said that she draws because "it expresses emotions, and each one of my drawings means something to me."

Roberta Johnson: Roberta was born and raised in Ellendale, and she graduated from the North Dakota State University. While attending NDSU, she worked at the Sports Information Office. Part of her job was helping to make brochures for the various sports, which included taking and choosing photos for the publications. She also kept score for the Bison baseball team and took pictures for the NDSU newspaper. Following graduation, Roberta moved to St. Paul, where she worked for the University of Minnesota for the next 15 years. She began taking photos at the college sports events, as well as the Twins and Vikings games. She learned by doing, realizing that she was lucky if she could get two or three good shots from one roll of film. When she moved back to Ellendale in 1991, she began covering the American Legion baseball games and, a few years later, all of the Ellendale High School sports. She became part of the newspaper's staff in 2000 and, recently, became editor of the paper. Despite her expanded duties, however, she continues to snap pictures at most of the sporting events in Ellendale. "Pointing the camera at the right time toward the right spot is the challenge of taking action photos," Roberta said, "but thanks to digital cameras, I can take more pictures and choose the best ones to publish."

Ruth Redlin: "When I was a child, the only interest I had in art was painting paper dolls and their glamorous clothes," said Ruth Redlin. Her interest grew into a lifelong love that has produced dozens of beautiful paintings. After she was married and moved to Ellendale, Ruth kept busy with her children until they started school. She enrolled in the local college to learn conducting, filling her morning schedule with classes that included art studies. Her teacher, Mrs. Randolph, ordered paints for the students - cobalt blue, alizarin red, yellow, white, burnt umber and ivory black. "She told us to mix our own colors and that we could paint whatever we wished," Ruth said. That was Ruth's initiation to painting. Her advice to other aspiring artists? "Buy a brush and some paints and get busy. Time is fleeting," she said. "Enjoy it."

Lana Schlecht: Lana is a wife, mother and grandmother who was an art major while attending the University of North Dakota. Although she majored in art, she took up dentistry, a profession she describes as "very artistic." She has practiced in Ellendale for 22 years. Lana is a very active member of the Ellendale Area Arts Council, having organized this year's Arts in the Park event. Through her efforts, Lana said, she hopes to increase arts events for people who live on the prairie, particularly for children. She believes that "children who take arts classes and visit art galleries will develop a life-long appreciation of art."

Ken Schmierer: Current and former residents of Ellendale are familiar with Ken Schmierer's striking photographs of the area's scenery and buildings. From Ken's perspective as a former resident who has returned to Ellendale, the city's buildings and surrounding farmland are captured as reflecting the true spirit of America. Using computer manipulation, Ken adds and shifts the colors of the digital photographs, creating haunting, and memorable images. After attending college in Ellendale, his childhood home, and graduating from Northern State University, Ken moved away to work as a corporate manager for Payless Shoes for 25 years in Topeka, Kansas, and then for Stored Value Systems in El Paso, Texas. He returned to Ellendale and now lives on Main Street near where he grew up. Ken said, "I moved back to enjoy life and do what I want." He began producing his unique photographs as a hobby during the 1970s. "They're different from what I actually photograph," he said. "I turn them into something they're not. Adding another dimension to the photo is where the challenge comes in and makes the process enjoyable." A series of Ken's farm photographs hangs in The Agraria Restaurant in Washington, D.C. He also creates photographic CDs with musical soundtracks to commemorate birthdays, weddings and other special events.

Barbara Steinwand: Since she was a child in Berlin, Germany, Barbara Steinwand has enjoyed drawing. She began painting with the watercolors she received as childhood Christmas gifts and has rarely put down her brush since that time. Barbara moved to Ellendale in 1975 and continued her painting, employing water colors and oils as well as acrylic paint and pencil. She also completes intricate needlepoint tapestries. Most of her art ends up at the homes of her friends and relatives, according to Barbara. She estimated that she has given away over 100 pieces over the years. Classical music accompanies her, Barbara said, as she sits at her kitchen table and paints. "I paint what I see in my vision," Barbara said. Most of her works are landscapes and flowers along with a few seascapes. Whatever subject she chooses, Barbara is a perfectionist. Barbara stresses the importance of continuing to encourage young people to explore art and to learn about famous paintings along with allowing them to develop their own creativity.

Ellendale Area Artist photos and images
Photo of Jessica Jenkins
Artwork by Jessica
Jessica Jenkins
Jessica's art
Photo of Roberta Johnson
Photo by Roberta
Roberta Johnson
Roberta Johnson's art
Ruth Redlin image
Image by Barbar
Ruth Redlin's art (artist photo unavailable)
Barbara Steinwand's art (artist photo unavailable)
Photo of Lana Schlecht
Lanas artwork
Lana Schlecht
Lana Schlecht's artwork
Photo of Ken Schmierer
Kens artwork titled Phantom of the Opera
Ken Schmierer
Ken Schmierer's artwork "Phantom of the Opera"
NDCA blue art footer with typed arts disciplines listed