Three awards are given each year to recognize artists and arts advocates within our seven-county region who stand out in terms of artistry or volunteerism in the arts. Of the Year Award winners were nominated by area residents. 

Of the Year Award Winners include:

Randy Larson of Gatzke is the Northwest Artist of the Year for Music.

Larson has played with many bands, including Back Behind the Barn Boys and Eagle Creek. He’s been a mentor to aspiring musicians in our region. Our Artist of the Year award can be given to any discipline artist including visual, performing, or creative writing who are emerging or at a mid-way point in their artistic endeavors. It is a cash award of $500. Congratulations, Randy!

Randy Larson

Rom Ogaard of Crookston will be awarded the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year Award

Ogaard has been a longtime radio host at KSRQ 90.1 radio at Northland Community and Technical College and will be retiring in April. As Ron West, he has partnered with the NWMAC to offer a weekly radio segment that promotes artists, the arts, and arts organizations. He also hosts segments that feature the Campbell Library in East Grand Forks, and the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks. These radio programs have brought news and information about the arts to our region and beyond.

Our Arts Advocate of the Year award is $500 and includes arts from all disciplines. Congratulations, Rom!

Rom Ogaard

Betsy Saurdiff of Grygla will receive the Northwest Star Award.

Betsy is a retired German and visual arts teacher from the Grygla and Goodridge School Districts. In 2018 Betsy was named Arts Advocate of the Year. She is a well-known potter in our region and sells her work out of her studio BettsPottery and at art shows. She’s had a solo show in our gallery and is a regular entrant and award winner in our annual NW Art Exhibit. The NW Star Award comes with $5,000. Artists can only receive our Northwest Star Award once as a lifetime achievement award. Congratulations, Betsy!

Betsy Saurdiff

These awards will be presented on Sunday, April 21 in Lake Bronson at the Kittson County History Museum. The NW Art Exhibit will be open that day for viewing artwork starting at Noon. A reception with light refreshments and music will start at 2:00 PM with the awards program at 3:00 PM. The exhibit and reception are open to the public and free to attend. The reception is a wonderful day of celebrating the arts in our region. Please join us!

For more information about these awards, visit

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