Somewhere to Begin – A Singing Workshop & Evening Concert for all Ages!

“Somewhere to Begin” The soulful and poetic music of Sara Thomsen

When:     Saturday, May 20, 2017

Where:   Abbey of the Hills, Marvin SD

Singing workshop for all ages.  No experience needed.  Singing opens the heart and re-enchants the spirit.  Harmony brings harmony!  Sara’s teaching style is relaxed, energetic, and creates a safe atmosphere.


3:00 p.m.     Singing workshop

5:30 p.m.      Dinner (Taco Bar)

7:00 p.m.      Concert in the Chapel

$35.00    includes workshop, dinner and evening concert

$20.00    evening concert only

For Event details, click on the PDF flyer link:  Event Poster

Step 1:  Complete the registration form below.  Click SUBMIT – then go to Step 2

Registration:  You must complete this registration step for each individual.

Step 2:  Payment Options

To pay by check:  MAIL your check payable to:  Big Stone Arts Council to
BSAC/Maureen Stores
709 Lakeshore Drive
Ortonville, MN  56278
Note “Sara Thomsen tickets” in the memo.

To pay by credit card:  CLICK ON “Link to make a payment” below, then click on the secure PayPal link (highlighted in the middle of the page)  and follow directions in the DONATE form. Note “Sara Thomsen tickets” in the “Special instructions to seller” section.

(You do not have to have a PAYPAL account to use this form.)

Link to make payment


2014 Lakeside Writers Weekend


2014 Lakeside Writers Weekend

“Write Where You Are”

Workshops for Emerging and Experienced Writers


Two Presenters, Two Choices…

1) Short Story Manuscript Session – limited capacity

2) Poetry, fiction, non-fiction & blogging

Friday 9/19 – (6-8 pm): Public Reading at Ortonville Public Library
412 NW 2nd Street, Ortonville, MN

Saturday 9/20 (9-4): Workshops at Lakewood Supper Club

Sunday 9/21 (9-1): 1073 Lakeshore Drive, Ortonville, MN

The two workshop presenters are Judy Wilson and judy-wilson-books-and-stories-and-written-worksMarianne Zarzana, creative writing professors at
Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, Minnesota. Wilson, returning by popular demand after leading the September 2013 workshop, will present an advanced workshop for writers of fiction and creative non-fiction. Wilson has published a book of short stories titled Trespass. In addition, she has been published in Renovated Lighthouse Literary Magazine, Product, Southern Literary Festival Anthology, Skylark Literary Annual, Mississippi Review, and The Atlantic Monthly’s Atlantic

MZphotoZarzana’s workshop is open to writers at all levels of writing experience and
covers all genres—poetry, non-fiction and fiction—as well as blogging. On Sunday during t
he workshop, both authors will present information on promoting and publishing literary work. Zarzana has recently published essays in Notre Dame Magazine, and her
poetry has appeared in Savoring (a collaborative art and
poetry exhibit), Dust & Fire, Farming Words, Blue Earth
Review, Minnesota River Review, Umbrella Journal, and Kitchen Scraps among other
publications. She writes a blog, “Fly-over Country,” on her website:

Advanced Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Workshop

For those ready to dive into the deep end of the literary pool, award-winning fiction writer and editor, Judy Wilson, offers a day-long, intensive workshop designed for participants with a prior awareness of the qualities of good literature, prior practice in the craft of writing stories, and an ability to offer an aesthetic response to the writings of their peers in the workshop arena. Participating writers benefit from the feedback of a ready audience of their fellow writers who will give serious attention to their work in a casual and friendly atmosphere. This is the perfect opportunity to find out what’s working and what’s not in your stories. Because of the serious scrutiny given to each writer’s work, this workshop is limited to 10 participants and registration deadline for this session is August 25.  You will be notified when successfully registered.

Each writer will submit a short story (typically 8 to 18 pages), double-spaced, preferably in Times New Roman, 12 pt. font.  Short stories are either fiction or creative non-fiction.  Submit stories as Word or PDF file attachments In the subject line, type Lakeside Participant and your last name. (For example, Lakeside Participant Capulet) The deadline for story submissions is August 31st. The collected stories will be distributed to the group by email on September 1st so that each participant can print, read, mark up, and develop a response for each story prior to the weekend workshop. Guidelines regarding providing feedback to workshop stories will accompany the distribution of stories.

All Levels and All Genres Workshop

Author Marianne Zarzana will present to participants a wide range of writing experiences including poetry, non-fiction, fiction, and blogging.  She will share habits and strategies such as images, energy, tension, pattern, insight, and revision.   These strategies help produce good writing in any genre.  In this hands-on workshop, participants will be exposed to examples of strong writing and will generate their own writing.  Zarzana guides participants to the good stuff—the powerful, lasting images we want to create and the stories we want to tell.  Creative writing is fun, and this is an opportunity to play and explore, to leave your inner critic at home and freely express yourself in a supportive atmosphere.  Deadline for registration for this session is September 15 and the group is limited to 30.

For the half-day Sunday session, fiction writer Wilson and poem Zarzana come together to divulge a wealth of information on taking care of the business side of writing.  Topics covered will include promotional strategies such as creating blogs, networking, attending conferences or writing events, scoping out literary agents, submitting work for publication, entering writing contests, participating in or organizing a writers’ group, and sustaining the writer in you.

Registration for Senior (65+) and Traditional (up to age 22) students is $65.  All other students are $75.  Registration includes a light breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and a light breakfast and lunch on Sunday. A reduced fee is available for students and senior citizens. The workshop will go from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, followed by dinner, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Register online: writers weekend registration and pay here.
Questions? call Maureen Stores at 320.265.6121or email

Printable PDF Flyer:  2014WritersWeekendFlyerwithpics

Hosted by Big Stone Arts

For lodging information contact: Econo Lodge-320.839.2414 or Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce: 320.839.3284

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the SW MN Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Daring Greatly with Big Stone Arts

Daring Greatly with Big Stone Arts                                                                                                   By Edie Barrett

After three years of negotiations, Big Stone Arts has a commitment from the City of Ortonville to procure the water plant building next to Lakeside Park. Transforming this dilapidated building will be an ambitious endeavor. While Big Stone Arts has a committed core group, we are looking for people who are able and willing to contribute to the process, whether that’s in construction, physical labor, design, financial contributions, or simply supporting us in the vision.

Once a month, Big Stone Arts meets in the downstairs basement of the Ortonville library. The meeting is held at 6:30 PM every second Tuesday. We welcome your participation at these meetings. Being an artist is not a prerequisite. This is a wonderful group of people who are creative and inspired and want to contribute to our community and region.

On Tuesday, February 11, our presentation will be “Show and Tell.” My plan for that meeting is to do a book review and relate it to the water plant building. As I began to create my notes and a handout, I realized there could be some value in publicizing the information. What follows was created with that intention.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead written by Brene´ Brown, published by Gotham Books, copyright 2012. Brene´ Brown has a PhD in social work and is a research professor at The University of Houston.

In the introduction of her book, Brene´ Brown quotes a speech written by Theodore Roosevelt titled “Citizenship in the Republic.” This speech was given on April 23, 1910 at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

According to Brown, “Vulnerability is not a weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection… Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever that may be – a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation – with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.”

When I consider a project that seems significant, I asked myself the following questions: 1. Can I imagine it? Can actually see the outcome? 2. Is it in service to something greater than me? 3. Is it in alignment with my personal beliefs and my life mission? 4. Is it attainable and realistic? 5. Do I feel passionate about the project? For me, in regards to the arts procuring the water plant building, I have sustained a resounding YES to all of these questions. But I also know I am not in charge. This isn’t about me or any one person specifically. The image that comes to mind is an Amish one of “Raising the Barn.” The truth is this project will require the assistance from people in all walks of life, not just artists.

What I deeply care about – equal to the building itself – is the quality of engagement that will be required by each and every one of us. If this project is about building community, it has to start here and now. It is my hope that each of us would look into our hearts and think, “There is nowhere else I’d rather be than sharing this vision and being part of this project.”

This renovation will require all of us to dare greatly, to be in the arena, to be vulnerable, to be seen, because—really—the whole community is watching. If we are able to embark upon this endeavor truly consciously, respectfully and mindfully, we will have created something valuable for our community and in that process become better at being human.

We stand, ringing the bell, asking that you to come and help us raise the barn. Our next Big Stone Art’s meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11 at 6:30 PM, downstairs in the Ortonville library. We hope to see you there!

Edie Barrett is an artist and writer who moved to Ortonville in 2011 after living for 26 years in Santa Barbara, California. During the turn of the century, her ancestors lived in this area. Her grandparents, Julian and Clara Bursheim, lived in Waubay and Summit, South Dakota. Her great-grandparents were Catherine and Carl Wold of Clinton.Image

Java Jule’s Painting in a Night

Learn how to paint this expressive still-life using acrylics with Deb Larson at Java Jule’s Bistro and Coffee Shop on Saturday September 21st, 2013, 1-4pm. Artists will have the option to choose a different background color.

$35 includes your very own painting and scrumptious refreshments. Aprons and all painting supplies provided. There is limited space, please drop in to reserve your easel with $10 or give Julie a call at 487-1111.Deb's painting -resized

Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl

The 2013 Meander will be October 4, 5, & 6th

Link to information (website):

The award winning Meander is a free self-guided tour of artist studios featuring many local artists from the Upper Minnesota River Valley. The Meander is a great “trip on a tank full” for those seeking authentic culture, history and scenic vistas. The event is about welcoming people and being connected to the local history, culture and landscape. We encourage visitors to visit artists in their own environment who celebrate a lifestyle that represents the small, handmade, personal and local culture of the area.

This event has more than 33 individual studios in and near the Western Minnesota Communities of Ortonville, Appleton, Madison, Milan, Dawson, Montevideo and Granite Falls.

This year the Meander brochure features artwork from our very own Don Sherman!

2013_art_full Meander Brochure Don Sherman

Lakeside Writers Weekend

lakewood4Lakeside Writers Weekend

A Writing Workshop with Dr. Judy Wilson, Professor of Creative Writing at Southwest Minnesota State University and Published Author

Friday, October 18th, 2013: 7 pm welcome reception for participants
Saturday, October 19th: 9 am – 4 pm registration and workshop
Sunday, October 20th: 9 am – 2 pm workshop

Lakewood Supper Club, 1073 Lakeshore Drive, Ortonville, MN

judy-wilson-books-and-stories-and-written-worksDr. Judy Wilson is the founder and editor of The Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought. The workshop will cover the basics of literary art in the form of the short story. Dr. Wilson will share her expertise as a writer, teacher and editor. Join us and be inspired to begin or complete your writing. This workshop applies to all levels of writing experience. General admission is $65 and includes refreshments and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Register online: writers weekend registration and pay here.  Questions?call Maureen Stores at 320-265-6121 or email
“This activity is made possible in part by a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council (SMAHC) with funds appropriated by the State Legislature and/or by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.”

For out of town participants, we have arranged the following possible housing:
Econo-Lodge has 6 rooms set aside for our group and their phone number is  320-839-2414

Rental House next to the Lakewood Lodge—4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and the cost is $600 for the weekend.  Check  for the info on the site of the workshop and more information and pictures of the house for weekend rental.  It could be a great chance for 4-6 friends to get together and rent it and then split the $600 bill.

Our local Chamber of Commerce could also be of assistance in this area and their phone number is 320-839-3284.