Moorhead ‘Creatives’ launch first art market

Poet and artist Kevin Zepper and wife Brenda sold copies of his poetry books and original art prints. (Photos/Nancy Hanson.)

Nancy Edmonds Hanson

Back in 2019, tireless Moorhead booster Del Rae Williams cooked up an idea to bring the city’s talents together. She dubbed it Creative Moorhead and took to Facebook to invite those who define themselves as “creatives” to join the movement.

On Saturday, some of the 674 Moorheaders of all ages whom she calls “our creative class” went public with a high-spirited art market in the space between the Rourke Art Museum and the Moorhead Public Library – the first of what may become many show-and-sell events benefiting the local art community.

“It started with a conversation with Emily Williams-Wheeler,” the former mayor recalls. “She has had an event in her studio in the Lincoln Building, the former Lincoln School, and wanted to talk about growing it out to the rest of the community.”

Del Rae bounced her idea off several local leaders. She put together a committee of organizers,including Dennis Krull and Tim Wollenzien of the city Arts and Culture Commission, Su Legatt, Mara Morken, Marina Behm and herself. They bounced around ideas – an art market, musical events and other festive ways to showcase talent. The growing collection of arts enthusiasts had just held their first getting-to-know-you social and was planning its first art market … when COVID-19 struck, followed by two years of restrictions on gatherings.

The loosely organized contingent did come up with one initiative in the meantime – the outdoor art gallery featuring Moorhead artists that was mounted on the sides of downtown buildings last July.

But the art market only slumbered. It came alive late last winter. Recruiting a diverse and somewhat unexpected roster of art creators, it held its triumphant debut Saturday.

On hand were artists ranging in age from 5 to somewhat grizzled. The youngest creator was 5-year-old Ole Francis, whose imaginative clay monsters and other creations sold briskly. The son of Matt and Greta Francis confided that he was planned to donate half the proceeds of Ole’s Creations to the local food pantry and then, he added, “spend a bunch of the rest” himself.

Another young entrepreneur was 14-year-old Yuri Orth, whose exquisite prints of dogs, birds and other natural subjects were available as limited-edition cards and prints. Nearby, Bizzy Burslie displayed her striking prints of flowers, greenery and butterflies. The loosely collected group called Fargo Moorhead Rocks had an area set aside where children could paint messages and designs on rocks they chose themselves, then – if they wished – hide them along paths and byways, as the sponsoring group does, to surprise and delight those who pass by.

Poet and artist Kevin Zepper and his wife Brenda sold copies of his poetry books “Moonman” and “I Bring You Dead Things,” along with prints of his original artworks. Across the lot, Martha Wheeler’s popular Gnomistry booth was stocked with her own tribes of gnomes – gardeners, bees, Moorhead Spuds and more.

“I think it went very well,” Del Rae observed. And, she suggested, its success means it’s only the beginning. She and her committee envision variations on the show – perhaps a Creative Moorhead Wee Market this summer for young artists like Ole and Yuri, or more specific occasions such as markets dedicated to fragile or fiber creations. A pole barn behind the Lincoln Building is being turned into a headquarters for the group, enabling it to sponsor future markets and events out of the wind and rain.

“We were pleased at the turn-out Saturday. But the best part, I think, was what the art market did for the people who took part in it,” she notes. “I heard many say they had a fabulous time.

“Moorhead has an incredible collection of creatives and an incredible amount of potential and opportunity. We want to support and encourage those creatives … but also help them connect with the public in a fun, informative, and inclusive way. This event is our way of bringing the people together to encourage exploration, provide a quality arts experience and connect with each other.”

To join Creative Moorhead, search for it on Facebook or go to

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