Nicolet College, Northern Arts Council to host 37th annual Northern National Art Competition

For the Tomahawk Leader

RHINELANDER – Nicolet College and the Northern Arts Council recently announced that the opening reception for the 37th Annual Northern National Art Competition will be held next month.

The reception will be held at the Nicolet College Art Gallery on Thursday, June 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A release from Nicolet said the annual exhibition is a collaborative effort between Nicolet College Arts and Enrichment and the Northern Arts Council to engage the arts community by providing a platform for Northwoods artists to display their work alongside artists from across the country.

This year’s juror and exhibit curator is Debra Brehmer, an arts writer and gallery owner.

Brehmer owns and operates Portrait Society Gallery, a contemporary art space in Milwaukee. She also served as the editor and publisher of Art Muscle magazine and taught art history as an adjunct professor at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design for a decade, according to the release.

The opening reception will offer a first look at the competition’s winning artwork. Several cash prizes totaling $8,500.00 will be awarded the night of the reception.

The release said guests will have the chance to mingle with artists whose work is displayed and meet the juror.

Tickets to the reception are $20.00 and include heavy appetizers and refreshments. Patrons can purchase tickets by Thursday, June 6 by calling the Nicolet College Art Gallery at 715-365-4556 or emailing [email protected]. Tickets can also be purchased at Childs Frame Company in Rhinelander and from members of the Northern Arts Council. Limited seating is available.

Northern Arts Council board members LeeAnnette Schmidmayr and Gale Willcox said the annual event is “important for our rural community because it puts the Northwoods on the map for artists nationwide to showcase their work and celebrates the caliber of artistry this area has to offer.”

Brehmer selected just over 100 pieces from more than 700 entries submitted. Nicolet College Arts and Events Manager Jenny Bonardelli said Brehmer’s talk will be the highlight of the evening, and patrons can expect to hear her thoughtful comments on the artwork displayed in a lecture area adjacent to the art gallery.

“I am excited to have Debra Brehmer as this year’s judge because she is a conduit who bridges Wisconsin to the art world at large,” Bonardelli stated. “Her work as writer for the contemporary online publication Hyperallergic and interest in portraiture is evident in the eclectic mix of engaging contemporary art and portraits you will see at this year’s Northern National exhibit.”

The exhibition will be on display from Thursday, June 13 through Friday July 26 at the Nicolet College Art Gallery. Admission to the exhibit is free and open to the public. Select works on display will also be available for purchase. Local businesses and community members seeking artwork are encouraged to stroll through the gallery to purchase art from the exhibition.

About the Nicolet College Art Gallery

The Nicolet College Art Gallery is a dynamic venue showcasing a diverse range of exhibitions throughout the year. The gallery serves as a valuable resource for the College community and the wider public, fostering artistic appreciation and engagement.

The Nicolet College Art Gallery is open Mondays – Thursdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Northwoods Center.

For more information about the Nicolet College Art Gallery, visit or email [email protected].

“A Million Pieces” by Amanda Coleman of Kalamazoo, Mich., explores fear and anxiety experienced as a mother to a small child during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her self-portrait will be displayed alongside works of other artists from across the country in the 37th Annual Northern National Art Competition at the Nicolet College Art Gallery. Photo courtesy of Nicolet College.

About the Northern Arts Council

The Northern Arts Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the arts in Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties. The Council provides valuable resources and programs that enrich the cultural landscape of the region.

To learn more about the Northern Arts Council, visit

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