Today we proudly introduce 'RealGirls'

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RealGirls is a new kind of coloring book, produced by me and my two daughters, over the course of six years. It was created by many artists and features realistic images of girls, for girls, so that they might feel empowered to remain proud and confident. I chose this medium because I was tired of the unrealistic princess and doll representations we give our girls to color when they are so very young, and I wanted to create an alternative choice for parents to give to their girls. Developing a line art style that could accommodate all of the tiny fine details that make girls unique was a challenge that took many months, but the result is 50 pages of girls with myriad beautiful qualities. We have also partnered with Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Helping Hands Foundation, National Down Syndrome Society, Lucky Fin Project, and The Cleft Lip & Palate Foundation of Smiles, to feature girls they support in this book.

Julien Bradley is our featured author today

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I had not especially aspired to become and Indie author, but I do love telling a good story.

On hiatus between jobs that was slowly syphoning the joy from my career, I used the time to hone my documentation skill and did some free writing. The exercise resulted in 1,100 pages! Encouraged by my daughter Kimberlee, I pitched the story idea to Wise Ink Creative Publishing and the “draft,” after professional editing, has become the first installment in the Bakken Series.

With over 35 years in the health care industry, my story reflects a culmination of real human experiences to create an organic women’s fiction/romance, portraying an honest look into the lives of ordinary people and elevates the under-represented voice of women over 50, breathing new life into the unexpected depth of the “normal” day to day.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Julien Bradley lives with her husband atop the bluffs overlooking the beautiful Hiawatha River Valley in the driftless region of Southeastern Minnesota. She is a member of Romance Writers of America. Beneath the Bedrock is the first in the Bakken series. Between Fracture Lines is due for release in September 2018.

Beneath the Bedrock

Newly widowed, Ramona Brady Strong finds herself grieving doubly when her beloved father dies. After traveling back home to Williston, North Dakota to attend the funeral, she is caught up in a rekindled old romance while having to deal with pressures unique to an oilfield boomtown.

Ramona has inherited of one of the richest untapped oil fields in the region. But the son of an oil tycoon is threatening to usurp the mineral rights of the estate, and the only way to secure her family’s legacy is to drill for oil.

Surrounded by family and friends, Williston begins to feel more and more like home. But as a web of deeply-held secrets begin to emerge, Ramona must decide whether to take control of the family oil business, or sell it all to the highest bidder.

Meet David Barthel

David Barthel has been photographing the natural world for over fifteen years. He is known for his large-scale fine art photography of the western Lake Superior region and also holds a passion for exploring and photographing the vast and rugged landscapes of the American West. Prior to transitioning to a full-time artist seven years ago, David worked in Pequot Lakes as a radio frequency (RF) engineer with Landis+Gyr (formerly Hunt Technologies) for a few years after earning his degree in electrical engineering.

While out in the field, David seeks out the singular elements in nature that define his work, whether it be the delicate light of a golden sunrise over Lake Superior or the natural curves formed by stones and the movement of water. David personally performs nearly every aspect of the creative process, from composing and clicking the shutter to custom framing the final piece in his home studio in Sauk Rapids, MN.

David’s photography is likely familiar to anyone who has attended the Northwoods Art Festival in recent years. The festival is one of only a few events that he has exhibited his work at every year since he began doing festivals in 2011.

“I enjoy being a part of the Northwoods Art Festival each year due to its commitment to presenting quality artwork to buyers who value handmade, one-of-a-kind work. It’s a great opportunity to meet the artist in a more relaxed atmosphere as compared with going to a museum or gallery.”


Meet Kimberlee Ann Bastian


Kimberlee Ann Bastian is the author of the historical fantasy series The Element Odysseys, which centers in the American Midwest of 1934. Her first novel The Breedling and the City in the Garden was released in 2016 and her sequel The Breedling and the Trickster was released Fall of 2017. Here is the synopsis of the latest series entry.

For immortal soulcatcher Buck, acclimating to newfound freedom in 1934 Chicago would have been impossible if not for the selfless actions of Charlie Reese. Now separated from his mortal friend, Buck accepts a new mission: to save the Shepherdess, whose unclaimed soul will soon stand trial in his old world, Euxinus. Buck must find the Shepherdess’ beloved, the infamous Trickster Stingy Jack, and convince him to testify on behalf of her soul. Furthermore, Buck must ensure Stingy Jack is worthy to stand as her witness. It’s no easy feat; Hades, sworn enemy of Stingy Jack, threatens to thwart Buck’s mission at every twist and turn in hopes of seizing the Shepherdess’ soul—and the secret she holds—for himself. Set on a whirlwind path that leads him on an odyssey across the American Midwest, Buck must rely on untested skills while being ever mindful of his dangerous surroundings as he prepares himself for his return to the dark, desolate realm of Euxinus.

Northwoods Art & Book Festival

Hackensack, Minnesota is where you will want to be on August 11! From 9-3 Northwoods Art & Book Festival is Bigger and Better than Ever! Featuring over 50 artists and 35 authors, live entertainment, author presentations for children and adults, Make and Take Lake Art, children's games in the ball-field. Relax or take a break from shopping and enjoy a craft beer or a glass of wine while listening to "Wayne and the Boys". Keep the date open, there will be something for everyone.

Meet Dave Budimir Featured Soloist Glenn Miller Tribute - Friday, July 6

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Dave Budimir (Featured on Glenn Miller Night)  Based in the Twin Cities, Dave plays  the trombone, bass trombone, euphonium and tuba.  He attended The University of Minnesota and spent 10 years working for the Walt Disney Corporation. Now a freelancer, Dave has performed with top artists such as Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, Frankie Valli, The Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, and Bobby Vinton. He tours with the legendary Doc Severinsen and his Big Band, playing bass trombone. Dave also composes, arranges, and records music in many different styles for clients around the country.

Meet Featured Soloist Lynne Hart

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Lynne Hart (Featured on Benny Goodman Night) Based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lynne plays the alto and tenor saxophones.  She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa and has performed with Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, the Temptations and the Four Tops, plus several Broadway touring productions, including Book of Mormon, Chicago, West Side Story, Beautiful-Carole King, and Kinky Boots.  Lynne teaches music at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and has toured Spain as the guest Concerto soloist with the Luther Concert Band.

Introducing Josh Duffee

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Josh Duffee (Drums/Band Leader) Based in Davenport, Iowa, Josh has been living his dream of being a professional musician and band leader for the past 20 years.  He is a featured artist at jazz festivals and concerts world-wide, but his love for the Hackensack area brings him back each year.  He's an accomplished jazz historian, and is currently writing biographies on some of his favorite musicians based off of years of research and study.  Josh will also entertain you each night by relaying stories behind these famous Carnegie Hall performances.

Josh Duffee Tickets Available Online Now

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Get ready to enjoy two nights at Carnegie Hall! (In Hackensack MN!)

World-renowned percussionist Josh Duffee is bringing the excitement of two famous concerts to the Hackensack Community Building on Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7, 2018.  His theme is “The Kings of Swing Play Carnegie Hall.” Josh and his 11-piece Big Band will play tribute to the famous Carnegie Hall Jazz Concerts of the Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller orchestras in 1938 and 1939 in New York City.  Featured soloists will include Lynne Hart on Clarinet for the Benny Goodman Concert, and David Budimir on Trombone for the Glenn Miller Concert.

Don’t miss this chance to experience big city entertainment close to home.   

Cash or Check Tickets $15 available June 1, 2018 at Southside and Swanson's in Hackensack, Minnesota.

Online ticket prices $18

Thank you to our President of Northwoods Arts Council

'Bringing the Arts to Life' for Hackensack and the surrounding community has been NAC's motto since its inception twenty four years ago. An enormous amount of energy goes into our Jazz Festival and this Art and Book Festival, which is our final event of the year. Thank you, Sue and the staff and friends of the Northwoods Arts Council! 

Sue Ready's highlights both the Authors and the Artists from this year's 22nd Art and Book Festival event on her 'Ever Ready' blog. Click here for the Authors, and click here for the Artists.                                                                                                                                   

NAC'S 22ND ART & BOOK FESTIVAL, Saturday August 12, 9-3

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The Northwoods Arts Council (NAC), a local nonprofit organization, presents their annual Art and Book Festival Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Hackensack.

Artists, crafters, food vendors, musicians and children’s art and face painting will be located on Lake Avenue, which will be closed to traffic.

The NAC is pleased to welcome 15 new artists to this year’s festival, featuring metal sunflowers and yard herons, Ukrainian etched eggs, Raku clay angels, wood arts and jewelry, to highlight a few.

The NAC is also excited to have returning artists displaying their unique mastery of photography, wood bowls and urns, herbal soaps, paper collage and twisted metal garden art, among others. Don’t miss 19 artists and authors’ booths inside the Community Center

Unique to this festival is the popular book arts section, where 36 authors sell signed copies of their books in two locations, the Hackensack Community Center and Union Congregational Church.

A new event has been added this year with a special writing workshop, “Now or Never: Collecting Family Stories.” It will be presented by Faith Sullivan, winner of 2016 Midwest Book Awards. The presentation will be at Union Church, 11 a.m.-noon the day of the festival.

There is something for all at the Northwoods Arts Council “Brings the Arts to Life.” Bring your family and friends. Don’t miss the fun. See you Aug. 12 in Hackensack.

-As seen in 'The Pilot Independent'.

“SINATRA!” Festival a sell-out success!

Thanks to our supporters!

The Northwoods Arts Council (NAC) would like to express our gratitude to everyone who helped make our recent “SINATRA!” Festival a sell-out success.  Bringing this event to our area took a collaborative effort by many, and support from our community, but we did it!  Josh Duffee and his Big Band with featured vocalist Jason Richards brought Ol’ Blue Eyes and his music to life for a highly appreciative audience.  Thank you all for attending!

Our volunteers all deserve to take a bow for a job well done.  The area newspapers and radio stations TV all graciously publicized our event with articles and public service announcements. Stores allowed us to hang posters in their windows.  A number of businesses and individuals made generous monetary donations which helped offset our expenses.

We want to especially thank our sponsors, whose support was critical in keeping our ticket prices affordable:

Gold Level – Ed Haefner Memorial Fund, Hackensack Lion’s Club

Silver Level –Sue & Jim Holthaus, Itasca Mantrap Co-op Electrical Association, Mann Lake Ltd., Russell & Loralee Torkelson

Bronze Level –Lynn Abraham Memorial Fund, Steve & Erin Adams, First National Bank North, Dick Garbisch, Hackensack American Legion, Steve & Barb Helscher, Bob & Cathy Iversen, Northwoods Dock & Service, Powers Township, Southside Fuel Plus

Plans are already underway for the 2018 Festival.  Watch for our 2018 concert announcement on or our Facebook page.