New Exhibits to start the 2021 year at Ridgewater College 

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The Fine Arts Gallery in Willmar presents an Alumni Exhibit celebrating 60 years at the College.

Artists from each decade are represented, with past Ridgewater College instructors also present, as both alumni and honored faculty. Robert Mattson, a graduate of Willmar State Junior College in 1963, went on to receive degrees from St. Cloud State University, and came back to Willmar to teach at the College from 1967 to 2001. Marjorie Nilssen, instructed Willmar classes from 2001-2021. After studying at Willmar Community College, she transferred to the College of St. Benedict and then went on to St. Cloud State University.  The two present new abstract works in their signature styles; Nilssen investigating encaustic wax processes, and Mattson intersecting the picture plane with marks and dashes that create and energize space. Roger Laux Nelson studied at Willmar State Junior College before going on to St. Cloud State and Mankato State Universities, shows his wonderfully executed landscape paintings that exhibit an exquisite sense of color handling. Roger Lived in New York City as a professional artist for many decades until recently coming back to the Willmar area. He recently had a solo show at the WEAC building in Willmar.

Minneapolis sculptor Kyle Fokken presents a sculpture titled “Jack in the Pulpit”, a work of surreal storytelling carved and sculpted with his typical precision. Kyle, from Montevideo, also transferred to St. Cloud State from Willmar.  He recently had work displayed outdoors at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson as part of the sculpture walk the city hosts. In addition, he installed two large metal bulls on the Mankato State Campus as part of a permanent commission for the hockey arena.  Photographer Carissa Johnson has 3 pieces on display as a current art instructor and alumni illustrating her regard for the small things in nature that get overlooked. Carissa studied at the University of Minnesota Duluth and Mankato State University. Eva Margaret, from Willmar, has wall relief works and a free standing sculpture showing mixed media techniques exploring the human figure. Eva recently finished a large mural for the Willmar VFW honoring Veterans. After being at Willmar Community College, Eva studied art in Oklahoma.

 Anna Serrano has a tableau of pen, watercolor, and colored pencil portraits that showcases her masterful use of drawing techniques and reverence for pop culture. Her work is well known to visitors of downtown Willmar.  Deb Shriver recently enrolled in studio courses in Willmar and is presenting mixed media works inspired by her explorations of form.

Ridgewater College’s Hutchinson campus is also represented, with artists Shelley Caldwell and Matt Reimers, who are exhibiting their works that explore the tension between representation and abstraction. Reimers completed his education at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and makes works with a painterly finish and stunning color. Caldwell completed degrees at Mankato State, and exhibits throughout the state of Minnesota. Meticulous pen drawing is contrasted with flourishes of watercolor mark-making in her nature based works.

 This exhibit is curated by Andrew Nordin, who studied at Willmar Community College, St. Cloud State University, and San Jose State in California. Andrew was recently hired as the Willmar Art Instructor after teaching courses for many years at the Hutchinson campus. His work is on display as a solo exhibit in the Hutchinson Campus Gallery until September 25th, when it will then visit the Willmar campus for the month of October. Titled “Kandiyohi County Baroque”, the abstract works on plywood and linen explore form building and repetition of shapes found in rural architecture.

The Ridgewater Alumni display can be seen until September 25th, where it will then travel to Hutchinson. The Willmar Gallery is located near the Theatre in the Fine Arts Building, and is open from 8 to 5 pm. Masks are required for any visitor entering the campus buildings. For more information, contact Andrew Nordin at

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