Midwest Music Montage
Story by Jon Bennett
Photography by M. Schleif Photography
Dr. Mary Aaland came to Fargo a little over 10 years ago on the search for the perfect place to call home. After contemplating different style homes, as well as downtown condos, she chose the historic Hector home on north Broadway. This stately home was built in 1890 and has been featured three times on HGTV's "House Hunters." Dr. Aaland chose this home because it felt right, and she had a grand vision for it. It was not only a wonderful place to call home, to restore and to love, but a place to entertain.
A Curation of Midwest Culture
Story by Alyssa Nishek and Tessa Beck
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
Mark Weiler and Tessa Beck spent the last two and half years curating the eclectic art collection found throughout Jasper Hotel. The pair's goal was to “showcase world class work that came from within 300 miles of Fargo,” explained Weiler, owner of Ecce Gallery in Fargo, North Dakota.
As they sought to create familiar experiences while also pushing boundaries, Weiler and Beck built a collection full of diverse imagery. Great thought was put into incorporating pieces that would showcase the authentic history of our region, including its Native American origins, early settlers, and the dramatic backdrop the landscape offers to its evolution. The collection includes notes of symbolism, realism, landscape, abstraction and thought-provoking nudity, produced by artists of various demographics.
Plains Art Museum
Story by Sarah Anstett
Photography by Plains Art Museum, Jeremy Albright, Skyloft Photography, and Milestones Photography
Are you ready for Summer Gala: Take Two Déjà Vu? After the cancellation of its biggest annual fundraiser, Plains Art Museum’s Summer Gala makes its triumphant return on Friday, August 13, 2021 from 7 p.m. – midnight. The museum and presenting sponsor, Bell Insurance, invite guests to surround themselves with food, music, wine and of course art.
Plains Art Museum’s Spring Gala has raised over $1 million since its inception in 1997 – all in support for the museum’s ongoing initiative to support its arts education programming and free admission. The museum’s largest annual fundraiser directly enables arts access for all in the region. And each year the museum raises its bar for attendees, delighting their senses and offering an outlet for their creativity.
Story by Alyssa Nishek
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
Born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Audra Mari has always called the F/M area and lakes country home. However, for the past seven years, since her career took off in 2014, Mari has bounced between life in Miami and Los Angeles.
Mari moved to Miami at 20 years old, shortly after competing in the 2011 Miss Teen USA competition, where she represented North Dakota and received first runner-up.“I still remember packing up all my stuff in my family’s old suburban and my dad driving me cross-country!” she recalled of the experience.
In 2014 she was crowned Miss North Dakota USA, from which she went on to place first runner-up at Miss USA. Then, in 2016, Mari won Miss World America and represented the United States at Miss World. As Miss World America, she spent a year traveling internationally doing philanthropic-based work.
[11th Annual Unglued: Craft Fest]
Story by: Ashley Morken
Photography by: M. Schleif Photography
If you would have told us at our (February) 2020 10th Annual Unglued: Craft Fest that in early 2021 we’d be hosting the 11th Fest in a spaced out, half-the-vendors, face-masked, sanitizing pandemic world we would have dropped our hot glue guns right into our naive early-2020 morning coffees in shock and awe. But now we are here for it! And look at how beautiful it turned out, thanks to West Acres Mall and M. Schleif Photography pivoting right along with us to make the 11th Fest one for the (sanitized) books!
On March 12-13, 2021, the 11th Annual Unglued: Craft Fest took place at West Acres Mall, following COVID safety guidelines, with 45 makers and a huge pile of all-virtual workshops and demos. A full Virtual Fest day followed on March 14 with 55 makers!
Makers were spread out throughout four main mall hallways with plenty of space between each, and showcased their handcrafted wares Friday and Saturday. This year brought about makers who started their business while quarantining, to makers who had really grown into all kinds of new products while stuck at home! From hand-dipped beeswax candles and glass-dipped pen art to dry domed floral arrangements and your new favorite ceramic mug, the creativity was bursting at the seams to be discovered by (masked and distanced) shoppers.
Pay What You Can
Story by Leola Daul
Photography by Heart-n-Soul Community Café Volunteers
Heart-n-Soul Community Café Mission: We are committed to addressing food insecurities, building community and providing delicious food to nurture body, heart, and soul.
Heart-n-Soul Community Café Mission
We are a nonprofit, social entrepreneurship that serves locally grown fresh food and operates under a pay-what-you-can model. We value a place where everyone is welcome and provide creative payment solutions for all.
Since our first café in June of 2016, we have continued to grow in cafes, volunteers, partners, and most importantly, community members served. We believe that everyone, regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat healthy food with dignity. We have no prices on our menu.
The “pay what you can” pricing model used by the café gives individuals and families who may be experiencing chronic, seasonal, or temporary food insecurity an opportunity to enjoy a local and nutritious meal with a price that is affordable to them.
Story by Jenny Schuster
Photography provided by Mia Schuster
When asked to write an article about my own daughter, Mia (West Fargo native, now Los Angeles singer/songwriter), to be honest I panicked a little.
How does one go about writing an article about their own child without sounding biased or boastful? Honestly, how do you do it? So, just like everything else in life, you begin and know that - just like everything else in life - somehow it will work out.
Believe it or not, there are more F/M graduates currently living in major U.S. cities trying to land a spot on the national music, dance or theater scene than you could imagine. These talented kids from all over the Red River Valley are digging in, doing the work and achieving what most people only dream about!
[A Passion for Photography}
story by Jon Bennett
photography by Jared Eischen
Local photographer Jared Eischen realized his passion at a young age. It all started with his family and family videos. While some people shy away from the camera, Jared was drawn to it, whether it be on vacation, at school events or holidays. He fondly remembers his mom taking home movies of their family, and that is what he looks back on and smiles as he remembers how he found his love of photography. After realizing his love for the camera, his mom gave him a camera for his birthday one year, and he got his start with friends and family.
Story by Carly Syverson
Photography provided by
River Keepers, a local non-profit dedicated to promoting respect for the river and surrounding nature, came about in 1990 when knowledge and appreciation for the Red River was at an all-time low. Disappointed in how the Red River was being treated and passionate about fixing it, the team set out to make a positive change that would end up impacting the entire community. Throughout the years, their projects have grown to encompass more aspects of sustainability, while their goals have stayed consistent. They work tirelessly to educate, celebrate, and nurture our Red River.
River Keepers embarked on a mission to renew value and reverence for the Red River as a vital part of the Fargo/Moorhead community and continue to serve every day. They focus on three main areas: education, stewardship, and leadership to help spread this message. By taking these steps, they have established a group of well-educated, passionate members of society that will continue this work for time to come.
Story by Jesse Hoorelbeke
Photography provided by Jesse Hoorelbeke, J. Alan Paul Photography
Recently I have been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer that has metastatically advanced to my liver. It came as a surprise when I noticed that I was experiencing some loss of energy and fevers just randomly over the past few months.
Many days I struggle to make it through the day without running out of energy. Others I am doing just fine and feel almost myself. But this fight has just begun and I am ready to take it on as far as I possibly can, and beat it.
I have already begun treatment for it but it is going to be a long road ahead. My life has been turned upside down and my health is my main priority right now. Things are looking positive, but I have had to cancel work and projects that I had lined up for the next several months.
[Just Your Average Kid]
Story by Jon Bennett
Photography provided by M. Schleif Photography
Born and raised in Eagan, Minn., Jack Yakowicz is the middle child of Pete and Susie. His mom is a writer and started Jack and his siblings, Evan and Sallie, writing at a young age to keep their brains sharp on summer vacation from school. Jack remembers from a young age the power that words can have and how they can impact people as his mom encouraged him to keep growing his communication skills. He has spent years tweaking his communication skills and continues to keep an open mind and always improving himself.
Words by Tara Ekren, Essentia Health
Photos provided by Essentia Health
Your life depends on your heart. It’s important to do all you can to keep your heart in the best shape possible. But what exactly does this mean? There are a variety of ways to keep your heart healthy and it’s important for both men and women, young and old to do.
The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood throughout the body via the circulatory system. According to Dr. Lola Oluleye, a cardiologist at Essentia Health, “Heart health can be seen as safeguarding the heart muscle integrity, function and purpose. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States resulting in 1 in 4 deaths.”
Promoting a healthy lifestyle each day throughout your life helps to foster heart health by preventing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, which is the hardening and narrowing of your arteries, heart failure and atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular and often rapid heartbeat. “Practicing heart-healthy core behaviors and being aware of the risk factors helps to maintain adequate heart health,” explains Dr. Oluleye.
[Helping People Feed People]
Story by Carly Syverson
Photography provided by Holly Diestler and Starling Aristry
In 2019, the bold idea from a somewhat unlikely pair became reality when Kari Lugo, a marketing/promotions director, and Jason Boynton, an NDSU math professor and musician, put into motion their plan to eradicate food insecurity in the Fargo/Moorhead area. This movement, which soon became known as, Lunch Aid North Dakota, has become increasingly successful. In the past 2.5 years, they have distributed the funds they raised to groups of people in need of a helping hand. In order to accomplish this task, the two, with the help of the community, organized concerts to draw crowds and donations.
Story by Jon Bennett
Photography provided by Amanda Kreidlkamp
Meet The Artist!
23-year-old Amanda Kreidlkamp is a North Fargo native following her passion for art. Art, however, was not always the path she wanted to follow. While attending nursing school at NDSU, she decided to take an art class to relieve stress and found herself spending more time than expected in the art studio. After some thought, she decided to switch her major to art education her freshman year.
What Inspires Amanda?
Kreidlkamp is a huge fan of painting, mostly with acrylics and oil paint, often using mixed media to complete her pieces. A fun piece she likes to incorporate in her latest art is pops of fur, noting only faux fur is used and she is a huge animal lover. She said one artist that inspires her work is MC Escer, who was known for modern art. Escer was a Dutch artist, well known for his graphic designs with bazaar optical illusions.
Her Fabricated Retrospection artwork series ( eyes, nose, mouth, rainbow, purple eye pattern) depicts a series of memories. Each piece has a relationship to the next experience.
[Diana Hall Interview]
Story by Alyssa Nishek
Photography provided by CRRC
This month, our featured non-profit organization is new to the community. North Dakota opened it’s first-ever Veterans Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) in Fargo last August. After years of planning, the fully equipped facility is located near the downtown area at 721 1st Ave. N. The CRRC serves as a resource center for Veterans facing various needs, from homelessness, poverty, physical and mental health concerns, to life course assistance.
The facility provides on-staff social workers, showers, laundry, emergency food baskets, and an emergency clothing closet. A primary care medical team is on-site 20 hours a week to assist with medical and/or psychiatric needs of veterans on a schedule or walk-in basis. A computer lab will soon complete the array of resources available at the CRRC.
Diana Hall is the Program Manager at the Fargo VA Community Resource and Referral Center. Hall is a veteran herself, having served in Germany as a Military Police Officer on a NATO anti-terrorist team. After leaving the service she came to North Dakota to attend college and holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of North Dakota.
[Puzzled Escape Room + Fargo Escape Room]
Story by Susan Hozak and Steven Cameron
Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman, Amdak Productions
Despite the turbulent times 2020 brought, there have been many exciting developments this year for Puzzled Escape Rooms, on top of the exciting times their escape rooms have brought to their guests.
It is challenging to find activities to participate in when you are balancing staying home to protect yourself from COVID, and wanting to get out of the house and alleviate cabin fever.
Escape rooms are fun, live-action game experiences where the players are active participants in the stories. They work together to solve puzzles and complete a mission before time runs out. They challenge you mentally and physically for 60 minutes in a safe, controlled environment.
The Store At Plains Art Museum
This holiday season Plains Art Museum invites you to shop at The Store for artfully curated gifts for everyone on your list (and maybe a few just for you).
Guests can choose from an eclectic array of jewelry, books, artwork, clothing, home décor, stationary, cards and children’s toys. And with all proceeds benefitting the many educational programs the Museum offers – your purchases directly support the arts in our community!
New this year, The Store is offering limited quantity of Curated Gift Boxes – each with a different theme of CREATE, RELAX, BEE KIND, and CELEBRATE. Ranging in price from $75-$95, each box is beautifully created with your convenience in mind.
Or, treat your loved ones to a Museum experience. The Store offers Museum gift cards in any denomination that can be used for classes, events, or memberships. Or, just cut to the chase and purchase the art lover in your live a Museum membership. Individual memberships start at just $50 annually and comes with a 10% store and class discount, as well as exclusive invitations to member-only Museum events throughout the year.
And this holiday season, members can enjoy 20% off Store purchases from November 25 – December 24 – so if you are not a member, become one today!
The Jeremiah Program
Author: Alyssa Nishek
Photographer: M. Schleif Photography
The Jeremiah Program began twenty-two years ago in Minneapolis, Minn., when a diverse array of community members became concerned with the increasing number of children born to single mothers living in poverty. Now, through a two-generational model, the Jeremiah Program has made it their mission to end the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their children. With seven facilities across the nation, including one in our home base of Fargo, N.D., the Jeremiah Program has been able to successfully reach over 4,000 mothers and children.
Statistics on the Jeremiah Program members:
The Jeremiah Program’s Fargo-Moorhead location boasts twenty apartments for use by single mothers, a Child Development Center, library, conference room, community room, and office space.
First International Bank
Story by Mike Mulwani, FIBT Director of Mortgage
Photos Provided by First International Bank and Trust
We understand, the prospect of refinancing may come with a little fear: you’ve heard it’s expensive and requires reams of paperwork. However, mortgage rates continue to sit at or near record-breaking lows. If you haven’t done so already, it may be time to consider, “Is now the time to refinance?”
To answer that question, you have to answer a few others.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to at least consider talking to a lender. The ultimate barometer of whether a deal will make sense for you will be whether you expect to stay in the home long enough to recover the cost of the refinance. Here’s a quick example from SavvyMoney.com.
If you took out a $200,000, 30-year fixed mortgage in 2018 at a 4.5% interest rate (4.600% APR*) your monthly payment would be $1,013 (without taxes and insurance). Refinance now at a rate of 3.66% (3.752% APR*) and your new monthly payment could be $916 — a savings of $97 a month. If the refi cost 2% of the home price or $4,000, which is typical, you’d have to be in the home 41 months to break even. If you’re not planning on staying that long, the deal isn’t worth doing. If you’re planning on staying longer, go ahead.
[Gift Giving Project]
Story by Jenny Schuster
Photography provided by Matthew's Voice Project
Tis the season!!! It is hard to believe that the Holidays are almost upon us and during these crazy times, we wanted to shout it from the rooftops that Matthew’s Voice Project (non-profit) is continuing our gift giving Sign-Up as we have in previous years.
Story by Tara Ekren
When you think of gynecology, does a yearly pap test come to mind? If you answered yes, you aren’t alone, but gynecology is so much more.
By definition, gynecology is a branch of medicine that deals with the functions and diseases specific to women and girls, especially those affecting the reproductive system. Basically, gynecology is women’s health and encompasses everything about women’s bodies and staying healthy, not just pap tests.
Photography by Morgan Schleif Photography
Story by Susan Hozak
The CBD HempDropz Store is a specialized CBD Store with three main locations and two sister stores. In fact, the Fargo location was the first store to open in North Dakota that sells primarily CBD products! CBD HempDropz Stores prides itself on providing their customers with the highest quality whole hemp and CBD products to help improve your health and well-being. Their staff is eager to educate the curious, guide the open-minded and enlighten you about the benefits of what their products can do for you.
[First International Bank & Trust]
Story by Charles Cooper
Photography provided by First International Bank & Trust
What are your long term financial goals? Maybe you’re dreaming of a second home on the lake, thinking about investing more, or hoping for a comfortable, early retirement. When it’s time to turn those thoughts into action, First International Bank & Trust is ready to be your guide. This month, Private Banking Manager, Charles Cooper showed us a simple four-step process to help determine your personal financial goals and how to finally reach them.
[Jade Presents, Fargo]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman, Amdak Productions
This month, we decided to be "groupies" and tag along with Jade Presents founder, Jade Nielsen. As he showed us around his renovated Downtown Fargo office and South Fargo family home, his 30-year passion for music and entertainment followed. On the final leg of the tour, we hit the stage to meet up with his team at Bluestem's outdoor amphitheater in Moorhead. If the pandemic has you missing the music, this story is a reminder that live entertainment will always find a way to survive.
Midwest Nest loves the culture from the upper midwest, and we are excited to share stories from around the area.