Weiler named Nemeth Art Center’s new director

NAC can be a cultural center, said Mark Weiler, not just a visual art space. It may be a meeting space for literary and musical events, for example.

Mark Weiler has been friends with local chef and author Amy Thielen for nearly a decade. He took charge of the Nemeth Art Center this spring.
Contributed/Mark Weiler

After a months-long search, Mark Weiler was hired as the new executive director for the Nemeth Art Center (NAC).

Nemeth board chair David Welle said, “Mark has been a friend of the NAC for the past decade and has worked with many of the artists that we have exhibited in our gallery. He began April 1, and we're excited to have him. We think he has a lot to offer Park Rapids with his vision, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.”

Originally from Fargo, Weiler has family ties in the Headwaters region, along with numerous friends.

After living in Japan and Germany in his 20s, he moved back to Fargo to be close to family. He started his own art space – Ecce Gallery – in downtown Fargo in 2008.

Welle said, “As an art curator and cultural entrepreneur, he's worked closely with the Kilbourne Group and the Fargo Downtown Business Association in helping to revitalize the city center. He's been instrumental in steering development in a cool, creative direction.”


Weiler transformed Ecce Gallery into a multi-use center, launching TedxFargo and collaborating with corporations, artists and entrepreneurs for conferences, dinners, presentations, etc. It enticed new audiences into the gallery.

“The focus was to connect people who weren’t normally in a cultural and artistic environment, and bring them in there,” he explained.

Weiler noted that Ecce Gallery “has probably the largest collection of Midwestern work. There’s a couple thousand works there.”

Four years ago, Weiler opened a satellite version of Ecce Gallery in downtown Park Rapids. He ran it for one season. The space is now home to Studio 176.

NAC is his full-time gig now.

Weiler praised NAC’s high level of quality shows.

“This is a good time to increase the programming and also focus on the strategic vision for the next decade,” he said of his goals.

NAC can be a cultural center, Weiler said, not just a visual art space. It may be a meeting space for literary and musical events, for example.


“It’s all about collaboration,” he said.

Ojai, California connection

This week, Weiler and Aaron Spangler are flying to Ojai, Calif. to curate a collaborative art exhibition, titled “Cross Country.”

They’re bringing 20 artworks by 18 regional artists to the Ojai Institute ( ).

Amber Fletschock's papercutting, entitled "Their Love will End all Time" was shipped to Ojai Institute as part of an art exchange with the Nemeth Art Center.
Contributed/Nemeth Art Center

“The artists have all shown at the Nemeth in the past decade; an awesome group of talent,” Weiler said.

The collection includes Spangler, Amber Fletschock, Bruce Engebretson and Yunior Rebollar as well as Minneapolis and Fargo artists.

The Ojai Institute honors the life of Carolyn Glasoe Bailey, who believed that Minnesota artists needed to be recognized outside of the state before collectors would pay attention to their careers. She died at 46 from brain cancer. “Cross Country” will benefit the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation.

Respected artists

Visitors to the NAC will see impressive pieces by renowned, contemporary artists “that are special and unique to this area,” Weiler said, yet the space is comfortable and not intimidating.

This season features new work from Pao Houa Her, Mary Ann Papanek-Miller, Brad Kahlhamer and Waverly Bergwin.


Pao Houa Her's photography will be exhibited at the Nemeth Art Center.
Contributed/Pao Houa Her

Weiler said veteran groups may be interested in St. Paul-based photographer Pao Houa Her’s
exhibit. It highlights Hmong veterans who fought for the CIA during Vietnam, but were never recognized, he explained.

Papanek-Miller’s show is based on George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” “It’s very whimsical.”

This season opens with the work of Mary Ann Papanek-Miller.
Contributed/Nemeth Art Center

An artist reception for both will be held 4-6 p.m. on Friday, May 26. Their shows close on June 25.

New York and Arizona-based multimedia artist Brad Kahlhamer presents his work from July 1 to Oct 1. Shown both nationally and internationally, Kahlhamer’s art ranges from sculpture, drawing and painting to performance and music.

Waverly Bergwin’s intricate wire pieces also will be on display from July 1 to Oct. 1.

Their artist reception is 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, July 1.

Summer residency and workshops

In the NAC’s first-ever artist's summer residency, Kahlhamer will stay in a cabin north of Park Rapids for the month of June, producing a new collection of works inspired by the setting specifically for the NAC.

As part of his residency, Kahlhamer will teach several workshops with students at local high schools.


Youth Art Show

The NAC is currently exhibiting its Youth Art Show through July 1. High school students from around the region submitted their artworks.

Located in the historic Hubbard County courthouse at 301 Court Avenue in Park Rapids, admission is free to the NAC galleries. It’s open from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

For more information, visit or email Weiler at

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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