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3rd Annual Anishinaabe Art Festival

July 26-27, 2024

Bemidji State University - Hobson Union

1500 Birchmont Dr NE

Bemidji, MN 56601

About The Festival

The Festival celebrates the richness of Anishinaabe history, culture, and people. Ultimately, the Festival seeks to build intercultural knowledge and respect for diversity in the region through craft, visual arts, dance, food, storytelling, and fashion.


In 2019, 4-Directions Development, Leech Lake Financial Services, and Gizhiigin Arts Incubator met with representatives from the American Indian art community, regional arts organizations, and the City of Bemidji to discuss ways of using the arts as an economic and community development vehicle. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant program, we had the opportunity to integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen our communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes.


Mission Statement

The Anishinaabe Art Festival and creative business development initiative is a creative placemaking opportunity to support art businesses and celebrate the rich Anishinaabeg history and culture of the region. The three tribes of Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth and the City of Bemidji have joined together to create pathways for more inclusion of Indigenous artists, create access to high-value markets, and to create an exchange of cultural knowledge.


  1. To provide artist training and business support to participate with more art events off the Reservation to expand their market reach and increase visibility of Ojibwe art and culture in the region.

  2. To create intercultural knowledge, and reduce stereotyping and racism, while creating economic opportunity.

  3. To establish an art festival that presents quality Indigenous art work.


A big "Thank You" to photo journalist, Jaida Grey Eagle, for her kind words about our 2022 inaugural Festival as well as the beautiful photos she took below. (Story and photos used with permission.)

Scenes from the Anishinaabe Art Festival

Photojournalist and bead artist Jaida Grey Eagle photographs Indigenous artists and their work at a new festival in Bemidji, Minnesota

From American Craft Council

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Author: Jaida Grey Eagle

For two days in late July, the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota, was packed with craft from artists of the Anishinaabe nations of the Great Lakes region. Attendees of the inaugural Anishinaabe Art Festival were treated to a rich array of handmade items, many for purchase; basketry and beading demonstrations; sessions on making hand drums and jingles for jingle dresses; discussions of literature and ribbon skirts; traditional foods; and music and dancing. One of the highlights was a gorgeous contemporary fashion show featuring the work of Indigenous designers.

With its many contributors, supporters, and attendees, the festival was a community effort that flexed the economic muscle of craft while showcasing the immense beauty created by regional artists. As organizers wrote on the event website, “Our art is a part of our everyday lives, it is who we are. These creations are a powerful tool carrying our message; sharing our stories, dreams, and struggles. They provide a record of our history and a view into our future.”

Jaida Grey Eagle is an Oglala Lakota artist who currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a photojournalist, producer, beadwork artist, and writer. She is a member of Women Photograph, Indigenous Photograph, and the 400 Years Project. | @jaida.greyeagle

Anishinaabe Art Festival News
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