Willmar artist's watercolors on display during Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! festivities

Art lovers of Kandiyohi County are invited on an imaginative adventure across a canvas landscape at the Willmar Education and Arts Center this weekend.

Art lovers of Kandiyohi County are invited on an imaginative adventure across a canvas landscape at the Willmar Education and Arts Center this weekend.

Flit through Florida's Lovers Key, bounce over to visit Bulgarian peasant women and move on in time to see a wild young moose of Newfoundland meander through tall grasses with its mom at sunset.

But when you find yourself getting homesick on a hike through the Canadian Rockies, catch a ride to Split Rock Lighthouse in Duluth and you're on the homestretch.

And do it all from the comfort of the WEAC gallery.

Yes, the public is invited to vicariously travel the world in two dimensions by wandering through Suzanne Napgezek's exhibit of watercolor paintings on display at the WEAC. The exhibit is being held in conjunction with the 11th annual Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! festivities in downtown Willmar.


Along with these visual renditions of Napgezek's jet-setting adventures, the 30-piece collection of art on display also features a wide array of watercolor wildlife and scenes from nature.

Napgezek was selected as the featured artist for this year's Celebrate Coffee! Celebrate Art! festival by the Willmar Area Arts Council's exhibition committee, under the direction of Eunice Buchanan.

Buchanan said she was chosen "for her wide appeal, because she creates beautiful pieces with which many people can relate.

"Much of Suzanne's exhibit this time around is nature oriented, and we all enjoy nature," she said. "A lot of her work also relates to traveling she's done, and that's always fun to see."

The exhibition committee is a six-member group that plans the exhibits for the WEAC gallery during the months of June through December. They contact the artists, make the arrangements, provide for advertising and help them prepare their exhibits, which typically run for approximately one month.

In recent years, Napgezek's artistic attributes and accreditations have included serving on the Willmar Area Arts Council and participating in Artists of Minnesota.

She was also a member of the Minnesota Watercolor Society and has spent time with Kesher International, an organization of artists who furthered their craft through studying, working and exhibiting together in Russia, Israel, Germany and across the United States.

A Wisconsin native, Napgezek graduated from the University of Madison but has called Willmar home for more than 30 years now. She first began dabbling in watercolor when her youngest child went away to college in 1994, and says she enjoys "the challenge" of working with hydrated hues.


Napgezek said she is drawn to the way the watercolors run into and change one other. "There's a mystery there; the paint has a mind of its own."

Like her creations, her creative process varies. "Sometimes I precisely plan out a piece with a detailed sketch, but other times I just start with a splash of color and see what happens," she said.

Napgezek has been a reputable watercolorist in Willmar for many years and is well-respected by the arts community and the general public, Buchanan said. "Everyone enjoys her work, many people in the area own her work and some of those privately owned pieces are even on display at WEAC currently."

The featured artist said, "Sometimes I think about trying something else, but then there's so much to learn in watercolor -- I think I should probably stick with it because I'll never live long enough to learn it all."

Napgezek's exhibit is located at the Willmar Education and Arts Center Gallery, 611 Fifth Street S.W., in Willmar. An onsite reception will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, but her exhibit will run through Sept. 29 during regular business hours.

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