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Virtual Art: Ball Point Pens & Zentangles

Right now is a lovely time to send some snail-mail to someone you love. The United States Postal service is still running and everyone loves receiving mail from loved ones - especially pretty mail. This week I invite you to make some pretty mail for a loved one using a ball point pen. There are some easy ways to use a ball point pen to make something beautiful, all it takes is time and patience.

You will need:

• Ball point pen
• Pencil
• Paper
• Any other fun tools you may want to use

I practiced a lot of my drawing skills by doodling in class and as a teen I got really good with a ball point pen. I found out I could do almost as much with the right pen as I could a pencil - except erase 🙂 With a few shading pointers you don't ever have to use a pencil sharpener again! As always - this activity is for all ages and artistic abilities. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how nice zentangle art turns out even if you don't consider yourself an artist. If there is any part you don't like just black it out with the pen or cut it out with scissors🙂 Get creative with us and then please share your creation in the comments or email to

Diamond Knispel
Art Teacher | Marketing & Arts Program Coordinator
Headwaters Music & Arts

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Virtual Art with Diamond: How to Draw Plants

Drawing plants is a fun way to learn observational drawing skills. This weeks Virtual Art Session touches on observation, shadow vs. light, pencil technique, shading, and still life through the no-pressure form of a plant. The natural form of plants makes them perfect for a budding artist because there isn’t just one way to draw the shape – every angle make the shape appear different. Drawing a plant starts with drawing the leaves.

You will need:

• Pencil (or charcoal)
• Pencil sharpener
• Eraser
• Paper
• A plant or a photo of a plant

Drawing leaves is for everyone! Whether it be with a pencil, crayon, marker, or paintbrush you can join in by observing and drawing your own plant. As always, the goal of our Virtual Art sessions is to introduce a fun project for all ages and artistic abilities. You don’t have to be able to draw a straight line – a curve will do just fine 🙂 Get creative with us and then please share your creation in the comments or email to

Diamond Knispel
Art Teacher | Marketing & Arts Program Coordinator
Headwaters Music & Arts

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Virtual Art with Diamond: Collage

Collage is a form of fine art which means to glue items together. It is a perfect art for when a person is stuck at home and doesn’t have a whole lot of art supplies laying around. The scraps the limit when it comes to making an awesome collage.

You will need:

• Glue or tape
• Scissors (or you can rip the paper)
• Scraps of paper/ cardboard/ ribbon/ string

The collage landscape shown in the video is an easy, no pressure project for all ages and artistic abilities. This is the first video of our weekly virtual art sessions. I hope families and folks hanging at home join in no matter their age or affiliation with Headwaters. The goal is to have fun and practice creativity. We want to see what YOU create! Please share in the comments or email to

Diamond Knispel
Art Teacher | Marketing & Arts Program Coordinator
Headwaters Music & Arts

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Letter from the Director


These past weeks have been a time of uncertainty, adaptation, and change. Despite our best efforts, each day situations and questions arise that catch us off guard. Despite our worst fears, we see glimmers of light and possibility that give us hope and encouragement. Here is an update from this past few weeks: The First City Singers and First City Bell Choir are Headwaters programs. The volunteer organizers suspended their rehearsals and performances until further notice.

We cancelled our events and workshops, including the April 18 Monroe Crossing concert, the Dave Cofell concert, and the April CoffeeHouse Open-Mic night. At the same time, we initiated the option of holding one-on-one music lessons via online platforms such as Skype, Google Duo, or Facetime.

After Monday’s executive order, we closed the building to the public and moved to holding all music instruction through E-lessons. It has been a high learning curve for our instructors and for students and their families, requiring extra communication and cooperation to figure it all out. So far, about 20 of our 255 music students have withdrawn because they had to relocate due to the emergency, because they lack technology, or because they do not want to do lessons remotely. Our music program coordinator Jessica Westlund has worked super hard on this whole process. When my next note reports that we weathered this difficult time and are stronger and better for it, please remember that it will be largely due to Jessica’s attention to detail, her kindness, and her grit.

Until Monday evenings’ order, we thought we could still hold our after-school art clubs, pottery programs and chess program because each group was fairly small. However, on Tuesday we announced that these classes will not be held during the temporary closure.  Depending upon the length of the closure, Headwaters will either extend the programs into the spring or provide refunds. We will stay in regular contact with participants as the situation develops. Art instructors have been offered the option to tackle building or admin projects these next couple of weeks rather than lose the income they would have gotten through delivering these classes.

We are adjusting our projected cash flow to reflect these changes, recognizing that there are certainly more changes ahead of us. The biggest financial pinch is the cancellation of the Monroe Crossing concert, which we expected would our biggest fundraising event this year. There may be a way to conduct an online fundraising event this year, or perhaps do an online auction of the great raffle prizes we have collected. This is just one of the issues to figure out, very soon. For right now, I am in communication with the band and with Paul Bunyan Playhouse to come up with a date for spring 2021.

While we are still in reaction/survival/compliance mode, offering music lesson online has presented some intriguing questions: Will our students make big leaps forward with all the additional practice time at their disposal? In the future, can we deliver all make-up lessons electronically? Can we regularly offer E-lessons in addition to in person lessons? Can we hire instructors who live in other parts of the state or country to teach E-lessons? Once we are on firmer ground with our technology options, can we reach out to youth and adults who live in other parts of the region or the state? Or the country? Rather than simply accept that we will have a drop in student involvement, can we attract new students in the Bemidji area who are hungry for music enrichment in their lives? Will families, seeking creative outlets, be eager to purchase keyboards, guitars, ukuleles, or violins from us? Again, while much is uncertain, it feels good to even imagine there is an upside to all this, and to take action when we can.

In addition to responding to the Covid-19 concerns, our ongoing work continues. We had a very full house for our February 22 music and art instructor showcase. Such talented people around here! Many of our students came to support their instructors. I especially like the picture below of Carolyn receiving a flowers from her student Hannah. It reminds me that we are a community, and that we all have something to offer. Not just instruction and guidance, but also encouragement, kindness, and a generous spirit.

We are working on policy updates, establishing online data storage and better communication processes. Our board is tackling a long range planning process this spring. We have Region 2 Arts, Minnesota State Art Board, and Bemidji Area Arts Endowment, United Way and other grants to submit, report upon, or both. We are seeking additional board members. We have made some building improvements, including new carpeting in several music studios, and are taking bids for a sewer line replacement project for this spring. With the hope that we are still able to offer summer camps, we are working on securing funding and getting the word out about some really fun summer programs. We now have a gumball machine in the lobby, with a portion of the proceeds going to our scholarship programs. Plus, gumballs are just plain fun.

Thank you for your support and investment in Headwaters Music & Arts. We are especially grateful that right now we are on solid enough footing to be able to support our staff and our Headwaters family, address infrastructure needs, continue to keep our doors open, and imagine brighter days ahead.
If there is any way we can be there for you, please let me know.  I feel the need to close with the same message I’ve been using in my updates: Be safe.  Be brave. And let’s continue be there for each other.

With appreciation,

Tricia Andrews, Executive Director

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Headwaters Jam Band For ages 13 -18 | Experience Required

Headwaters Jam Band is a 4 week program dedicated to exploring instrumental improv and composition in a group setting. This monthly program is for participants aged 13-18 with prior experience with their instrument. The group meets on Tuesday’s in the Headwaters East Studio (519 Minnesota Ave NW, Bemidji). The group jams from 6-8pm each evening. Participants are encouraged to show up at 5:30 for setup. Particpants are required to provide their own instruments and amps (if applicable) with the exception of the drum kit. The program is not genre specific. Each month the different groups will work together to create their own unique sound – all musical aspirations are welcome. Advance registration is required – limited spots available. Those who are interested in learning more or taking part in Headwaters Jam Band are asked to fill out the interest form below.


Advance registration is required – limited spots available. Those who are interested in learning more or taking part in Headwaters Jam Band are asked to fill out the interest form and will be contacted by the instructor to evaluate skill level, speak about instrument logistics, and discuss availability.


$75 / month (scholarships available)

Headwaters Music Program Policies

Those who attend and Headwaters Music program must read, sign, and abide by the Headwaters Music Program Policies. If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of Headwaters Jam Band or Headwaters Music & Arts, please contact the Arts Program Coordinator or Headwaters Executive Director at 218.444.5606.

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Preschool Offerings Spring 2020

Headwaters Music & Arts is proud to announce their latest in preschool programming. Set for Spring 2020 Mini Musician and Lil Artist are both 8 session programs that will introduce pre-k children and their guardians to the very basics of music and art through fun, hands on, activities. The cost to attend is $100 per child ($90 for Headwaters members)

Mini Musician
Mini Musician, an 8 session program led by experienced general music teacher Leisa Bragg, will be packed with singing, movement and dance. Held 4:45 – 5:30 pm on Monday, kids and adults will explore the building blocks of music together through play and experimentation.

Leisa Bragg is an instructor of piano, voice and clarinet at Headwaters Music & Arts with over 20 years experience in Colorado as a public school band, choir and general music teacher, theater and church music director, and private lesson instructor. Leisa brings her core belief that "music is a vital part of everyone's existence, no matter what the age" and looks forward to sharing her knowledge and passion for music with Bemidji area children and adults.

8 sessions held 4:45 – 5:30pm on Mondays, Feb. 3rd – March 23rd

Lil Artist
Lil Artist is an 8 session art program held on Tuesdays from 3:15 – 4:00. The program. Led by Diamond Knispel, will be filled with fun and messy art projects that will introduce pre-k children to basic art concepts such as color and texture while exploring age-appropriate media.

Diamond Knispel is a local artists and art instructor with 8 years of experience teaching art to various ages and abilities through tutoring and group classes. Diamond believes creating and learning about art is as much about the process as it is the outcome, and she brings this belief into her teaching, putting an emphasis on fun and exploration.

Tuesdays, 2:45-3:30pm | 8 Sessions, Feb. 4th – March 24th

Both programs take place at Headwaters (519 Minnesota Ave NW, Bemidji). Advance registration is required as there are Limited number of spots available. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The cost to attend is $100 per child ($90 for Headwaters members).

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Collaborating for Success

We have began work on our annual publication, Collaborating for Success. This 20-24 page full color directory of seasonal activities informs community members and visitors to our area about upcoming 2020 summer events. Half or full page ads are available for local businesses and organizations that host summer events which often includes camps, private instruction schools, or organizations with specific summer programming. Local businesses without summer events are also invited to purchase a half page or sponsorship ad to list hours of business or offer a coupon to recipients of the publication. Sponsorship ads are business card size ads (3.5″ x 2″) and are for those who do not have events but want their name associated with Collaborating for Success.

Collaborating for Success has a broad audience. Local families look forward to receiving Collaborating for Success as they plan their summer activities, and it is also a resource for visitors to the community. Over 4,000 copies are sent out to area students in Mid March – early April, to the Bemidji, Cass Lake, Red Lake, Walker and Park Rapids school districts as well as area charter and private schools. Additional copies are delivered to area visitor centers and other public entities.

We are so proud to offer this colorful, high quality publication to the community as well as to allocate profits from the publication towards improving our art space to include a storage area, shelving, LED lighting, and a wheelchair accessible entrance (a goal that is very close to my heart).

The fee for Collaborating for Success ads include layout and editing assistance and publication delivery to school districts and other centers and hotels. There is limited space and contributors are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Those who are interested in purchasing space in the publication will need to confirm their commitment by January 20th. The publication will be completed by March 15th.

Info  and registration can be found here. Look at the 2019 publication here. Thank you for your interest!

Diamond Knispel, Marketing & Arts Program Coordinator

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End of Year Review

As the year draws to a close, we are grateful for the encouragement and support we receive from our community. Thank you for being a part of things here at Headwaters Music & Arts. Your involvement, your support and your commitment means will we continue to thrive and grow.

It has been a good year here at Headwaters Music & Arts.

Along with our community events and performances, amazing things happen in our building each week. Youth as well as adults come through our lobby for music lessons, pottery class, or art club. As I work on this letter, I hear the First City Singers work through a new song down in the performance hall – a Monday highlight for me. From community events to one-on-one relationships, each activity helps us bring our mission to life as we provide opportunities for creativity through instruction and inspire the community through music and the arts.

I have probably said way too often that I have the best job in Bemidji. I am not an artist or a musician, but I get to be part of this small but vibrant music and arts organization, knowing that we make an impact. What we do matters.

My dreams for my granddaughter are what we here at Headwaters Music & Arts envision for all of our music and art students. May they learn patience, confidence, and commitment. May they experience music and art literacy and proficiency (with the additional benefits of improved ability to focus, more hand-eye coordination and better test taking and multi-tasking!). May they build positive relationships in a safe and caring atmosphere. And may that spark of creativity sustain them - and fulfill them - throughout their lives.
Our goal is to raise $7,000 before December 31. Your contribution will help us with day-to-day operations, down to heat, sidewalk salt, and light bulbs for piano lamps in the studios. Beyond simply keeping our doors open, our 2020 goals include a furnace for our visual art and pottery studio, additional lighting in our performance hall, additional summer camps, and a native bird and bee-friendly landscaping project. Every dollar makes a big difference.

I invite you to be a part of things here at Headwaters Music & Arts. In fact, please attend our annual meeting 5:30 pm on Monday, December 9. And our Northwoods Winter Concert and Silent Auction is coming up 4-6 pm Sunday, December 8, with performances by our 2018 CD contributors, hors d’oeuvers, desserts and Brigids Pub cash bar. This mandolin, reimagined by artist Sarah Peterson, is one of the silent auction items. Lovely, yes? Tickets are $10. As a contributing member, we cordially invite you to attend as our guest.

With your interest and support, we will accomplish great things in 2020! May your holidays be full of music, art, and all the joy they bring.

Thank you. Thank you!

Tricia Andrews, Executive Director

Headwaters Music & Arts Board of Directors
Carrie Howard, Emily Fairchild, Ashley Charwood, Danielle McAllister, Gary Rients, Amie Lauderbaugh

{You can read and print the original letter here.}


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Northwoods Winter Concert & Fundraiser

Headwaters Music & Arts celebrates the winter season with a concert and silent auction 4-6 pm Sunday, December 8 at 519 Minnesota Ave NW in Bemidji. The event highlights artists featured on the 2018 album, Northwoods Winter: Christmas in Bemidji Vol. III, as well as contributors to our 2016 CD. Both were recorded at Supple Studios in Bemidji. CDs and digital downloads will be available to purchase.

The event will feature live music performed by regional musicians, Sonny Johnson, Annalise Aakhus, Doyle Turner, Lance Benson and Kari Grace, and a silent auction of reimagined instruments. Encore: Instruments Reimagined is a group exhibit and silent auction of transformed, unusable, musical instruments turned into surprising and innovative works of art. Each piece is a unique work of art showcasing the talent of the local artist who donated their time to rework it. Contributing artists include Kathy Gustafson, Terry Honstead, Amanda Kastner, Diamond Knispel, Kim Kovacic, Marti Lundin, Sarah Peterson, and Mary Therese.

Along with great music and art attendees can also look forward to hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and a cash bar courtesy of Brigid’s Pub. Proceeds from the event will go towards Headwaters Music & Arts renovation projects while album sales support Headwaters Music & Arts Scholarship Fund, which is dedicated to giving more young musicians the opportunity to learn and love music. Advance tickets are $10, $15 at the door.

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Letters from the Director

October was a busy and good month here at Headwaters. Our art clubs pre-school music class, and Monday pottery sessions kicked off for the fall. We had another successful CoffeeHouse and Open-Mic followed a week later by a music show with Sawyer Corcoran and friends.We received funding through Beltrami Electric's Round up Grant to replace the downright ratty carpeting in an upstairs studio, resource library and hallway. And it is not a super big deal, but we have installed a monitor on a wall in our lobby to highlight upcoming events and reminders. We are actually quite tickled by this communication upgrade - its been in the works for a long time. I should also mention that Headwaters invested in a wifi and internet upgrade and computers for admin staff, all steps long overdue. Our highlight for the month, though, was guest musician Carrie Dlutkowski.

Thanks to the voters of Minnesota, through a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund we were able to host folk musician Carrie Dlutkowski last week for a series of performances and workshops. Born and raised in Michigan's UP, Carrie is a talented classical and folk musician who during her visit shared her love of Scottish, French-Canadian and Metis (Native/French/Scottish) fiddle styles in the 18th century. Carrie was able to visit Cass Lake and Red Lake Schools and JW Smith Elementary in Bemidji. She led several fiddle camp workshops along with an Ottawa Valley Step Dance class, and was the musical guest at Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. She stopped in for a chat and to play a song for KAXE's Katie Carter. She performed with Brian Miller and Norah Rendell  for an evening concert here at Headwaters. Carrie's mom and sister, also talented musicians, joined in for the final song of the night.

It is a perk of my job that I get a chance to spend time with people like Carrie, and to witness our community's response to her. A third grade student said she wished Carrie was her sister. Another girl shyly asked for her autograph. A Cass Lake High School boy broke out into a traditional dance during one of Carrie's songs. Carrie received a heartfelt standing ovation at the conclusion of the Saturday evening concert; Louise Jackson commented that her fiddle playing crisp, precise, simply lovely.

We enter November with gratitude for all we are able to offer our community, and appreciation for the support we receive that allows us to fulfill our mission.

Tricia Andrews
Executive Director