A creator of stunning environmental photos that show off the magic of nature and a groundbreaking documentary filmmaker have been chosen for the
2018 Arrowhead Arts Awards
from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. The ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 5 p.m. at the studios of WDSE-WRPT public television in Duluth, at 632 Niagara Court. Award recipients are photographer Craig Blacklock, 2018 George Morrison Artist Award, and filmmaker Karen Sunderman, 2018 Maddie Simons Arts Advocate Award. Because of limited space, advance reservations are required to attend the ceremony.
To RSVP to attend the awards, please visit
These awards are presented by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, whose mission is to facilitate and encourage local arts development. This mission statement grows from a conviction that the arts improve the quality of life in the region. ARAC is one of eleven regional arts councils designated by the State of Minnesota to distribute funds from state to artists and arts organizations as well as provide support to the arts community. ARAC receives additional support from the McKnight Foundation, Bush Foundation, and the Blandin Foundation. ARAC’s seven-county territory stretches from Aitkin County in the South to Koochiching and Cook County in the north. ARAC’s geographic territory is more than eighteen thousand square miles, bigger than nine U.S. states.
Morrison Award-winner Blacklock of Moose Lake has photographed/written seventeen books and regularly featured in photography magazines such as American Photo, Fine Arts Photo, and Outdoor Photographer. His original prints are museums, private collections, health care facilities, as well as shows in his personal gallery in Moose Lake.
Blacklock’s latest book
St. Croix & Namekagon Rivers - The Enduring Gift
captures the beauty of the region and is being issued in special editions that include handwritten signatures of both Blacklock and former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, who wrote an essay for the book. The book’s goals are to celebrate the significance of the Wild and Scenic Riverway, comprehend and celebrate what it is, and understand future steps to protect this global resource area.
Blacklock has captured the intrinsic beauty of northern Minnesota's water and land for over thirty years. He grew up learning about nature, art, and photography from his late father, Les Blacklock (1921-1995) and studied art at the University of Minnesota Duluth from 1972-1974. Blacklock has been making a living as a fine art landscape photographer since 1976 when he joined his parents in Blacklock Nature Photography. Together with his father, Blacklock photographed for a series of calendars for Voyageur Press. In 1977 his first book
Meet My Psychiatrist
was published and his second book
Ain't Nature Grand!
was published in 1980, showcasing Blacklock's visionary photography and his father's writing. Blacklock also partnered with his first wife, Nadine Blacklock (1953-1998) to create five books.
In 1984, he concentrated his photography to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Lake Superior. Blacklock incorporated his kayak in 1991 to capture Lake Superior, sparking inspiration for his 1993 award-winning and best-seller
The Lake Superior Images
He captured his second wife, Honey Blacklock, from 1996 to 2002 creating their book
A Voice Within - The Lake Superior Nudes
Their publication was featured in American Photo magazine and the publication won an International Publisher Book Award for
Best Photo Book by an Independent Publisher
from 1,327 publishers around the world.
In 2005 Blacklock switched to a 35mm digital camera, specializing in large-format images with precision and exquisite compositions with hyper-real clarity. The switch from a 4X5 film camera allowed him to make his first video in the 2007 digital publication
Minnesota’s North Shore.
Blacklock took his new videography to partner with the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. He created the nature videos
for senior home residents aiding in stress relief and healing. He has been able to provide the calming effects of nature to residents when they’re unable to experience it in its true form.
Since 1982, Blacklock has taken his career and expanded to numerous workshops, lectures, and keynote speeches dedicated to teaching the public about the art of capturing, editing, and printing images. Teachings include the Split Rock Arts Program and the Complete Scholar of the University of Minnesota; Minnesota Center for Photography in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Madeline Island School of the Arts in La Pointe, WI; Fotofusion in Palm Beach, Florida; Dynamic Nudes on Lake Powell in Lake Powell, Utah; and Vision Quest workshops throughout the country.
As an active volunteer to the community, he has co-founded and president of Blacklock Nature Sanctuary, a non-profit organization dedicated to land-preservation; co-founded and former board member of Lake Superior Water Trail Association of Minnesota, providing kayak camping and rest sites along the North Shore of Lake Superior; and his book,
Minnesota’s North Shore,
promotes land conservation of the Lake Superior shore. Blacklock’s involvement has helped raise awareness to the Minnesota Land Trust to work to protect the shore’s pure and wild form.
Blacklock was awarded the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council’s George Morrison Award because his influence has provided guidance to the Arrowhead Region that the preservation of nature is vital to our existence.
The George Morrison Artist Award is named after internationally acclaimed visual artist George Morrison (1919-2000), who was an important member of the second generation of American abstract expressionist artists. Morrison was heralded for successfully synthesizing American Indian themes with abstraction and surrealism. A life-long member of the Grand Portage Chippewa, he resided and worked for many years in the Arrowhead Region of Minnesota. His work has been shown in museums around the world and was recently the subject of a special show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Maddie Simons Art Advocate Award-winner and documentarian Sunderman of Duluth has been a vital player in the growth of the regional arts community as well as its growing national reputation through her long-form documentaries and two important television series, “The Playlist” and “Making It Up North.” Her shows have helped viewers keep their hands on the pulse of the creative community in the region and created hundreds of new fans for art.
Sunderman produced and hosted eight seasons of The Playlist, which has had a transformative effect on the arts community with its broad range of subjects. She has also expanded the recognition of the regional creative community with Making It Up North, a new show that highlights all kinds of creative makers in the region.
Since 1994, Sunderman has produced and written numerous educational documentaries at WDSE-WRPT. These productions include 2017’s “Brew North”, 2016’s “Steamship America: A North Shore Legend’; 2015’s “Last Call for the Mitchell Years”; 2013’s arts documentary on potter Karin Kraemer “Brilliant Bowls”; 2012’s “Plein Air Brush Off”; 1999’s “Working on the Railroad”; and 1996’s “Working on the Waterfront”. She previously coordinated, produced, and hosted Venture North for WDSE-WRPT, a magazine-style, human interest program broadcast in 20+ markets in the upper Midwest from 1994-2009.
Sunderman has a background in broadcast, editing, storytelling, social media, and video production. Her achievements have been recognized with the Upper Midwest Regional Emmy in 2015 and 2012; Creative Community Leadership Institute award in 2013; Upper Midwest Regional Emmy nominations in 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2011; McKnight Fellow, Salzburg Global Seminar award in 2002, and Institute for Renewing Community Leadership award in 2001.
The Maddie Simons Arts Advocate Award is named for Madeline Simons, the first volunteer Chair of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Board. A long-time resident of Grand Marais, MN, she owned a dance studio, helped start the Grand Marais Playhouse, the Lutsen Art Fair, and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts.
Past Recipients of the Arrowhead Arts Awards include:
George Morrison Artist Award Recipients:
, clay artists and teacher, Duluth;
, traditional artist and sculptor, Fond du Lac;
, visual artist and illustrator, Duluth;
, composer, songwriter, musician, Cloquet;
, sculptor, Zim;
, poet, essayist, Sawyer;
, watercolor artist, Duluth;
, young adult author, Ranier;
, poet, Duluth; and
, photographer, Ely.
Maddie Simons Arts Advocate Award Recipients:
, Grand Rapids;
, Grand Marais;
, International Falls;
Dr. Stanley Wold
Cherie and Jerry Holm
, Effie; and
, Grand Marais.
ARAC receives funding from the state General Fund, Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, the McKnight Foundation, and other funders. Money from Minnesota’s Legacy Amendment originates from a Constitutional Amendment approved by vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. The intent of this funding is to support and create access to the arts for artists, arts organizations, and communities; to support arts education for Minnesotans of all ages; and to support diverse ethnic and cultural arts traditions represented in this state.