Dirk Nelson – RAA Member of the Month

Dirk Nelson is a local sculptor, draftsman, and printmaker and is a member of the River Arts Alliance Board of Directors. He also serves on the Winona Arts Center Board of Directors where he chairs the RiverBed Press committee.

RiverBed Press is an etching press with a 24” wide by 48” long bed that was purchased by the Winona Arts Center in 2014. Nelson has been helpful in instituting “Free Ink” events at the Arts Center where the public is invited to come in to learn about various kinds of printmaking processes and make a print or two for free.

Nelson says that Family Art Day is the reason he became involved with River Arts Alliance: “I like that it makes the art experience available to families outside of the school setting; that parents and children are having this experience together and reinforcing the importance of creativity to the family bond.”

His experience in fishing and printmaking made it natural for him to offer the fish printing station at RAA’s Family Art Day.  He explains, “I learned the process from a Japanese fishing friend, Motomu Kuroki, using real fish and sumi ink. What we do at Family Art Day is far from the traditional form, but it’s a lot more fun and expressive for the kids. Their personalities really come out in how they choose to color the fish with stripes and dots and splashes of color. It’s a fun and busy day from start to finish.”

Work that Nelson has created at RiverBed Press will be on display in a two-person show at Lanesboro Art Center in October of 2019 along with Ian Hanesworth. Other activities at the Winona Arts Center that he is involved with includes the Winona Film Society which presents independent and international film screenings, public sing alongs, music concerts and a variety of art classes.

Photo courtesy of Anna VanDemark.

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