He receives $5,000
The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council announces that George French of Crookston has been selected as the 2019 Northwest Minnesota Star Artist of the Year for his lifetime achievement in music, specializing in piano and organ.
French is an associate professor and director of Music/Theater at the University of Minnesota Crookston and has been there for 39 years. Early in his career, he taught elementary and junior high school music. He is the church organist at Trinity Lutheran church and part-time organist at First Presbyterian Church. He has been involved with the Crookston Community Theatre, directing and acting in musicals and plays, and is a member of the Kiwanis Club, Crookston Rotary and Masonic Lodge.
“I never really feel like I go to work,” French said. “Arts are critical in the development of students, development of the person. The arts are part of the whole educational process that will fulfill a need in all people. The arts and arts organizations like the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council are terribly important, especially in a rural area.”
Asked if he had any advice for aspiring artists, French said, “Grab onto the opportunities when they come. Know your limitations, but you can grow and learn. Set new goals and aspirations.”
“George’s influence in the arts in the area of NW Minnesota and throughout the state is widely known and appreciated. His talents and influence are exceptional to all who know him and work with him,” Sandy Perkins said.
“George affirms people in their gifts and helps them to shine in their own performance,” added Pastor Greg Isaacson at Trinity.
UMN Crookston Chancellor-Emeritus Chuck Casey praised French’s work at the college. “Each year it was amazing to watch George find and support the talents of the students coming to campus from across the country and around the world,” Casey said. “Before long he would have them performing for the enjoyment of the campus, community, and region.”
The Northwest Star Artist Award is given each year to recognize artists within NMAC’s seven-county region who stand out in terms of artistry. “Of the Year” Award winners are nominated by area residents. For winning, French receives $5,000. Artists can only receive the Northwest Star Award once, as a lifetime achievement award. Funding for the Northwest Star comes from the McKnight Foundation.
French and other honorees will be recognized at the Northwest Minnesota Arts Exhibit Reception on Sunday, March 31 in Badger at the Badger Community Center at 111 North Main Street. Refreshments will be served at 2:15p.m., with the program beginning at 3 p.m.
For more, visit northwestminnesotaartscouncil.org/2019/03/2019-nw-annual-art-exhibit/