Kathleen Kvern is stepping away at the end of February as project director for mnartists.org to become chief marketing officer for New Moon Girl Media, a Duluth-based publisher and media company focusing on girls aged 8-15. A tireless brainstorm-thinker and marketer, Kvern has led a tripling of membership, to more than 10,000 artists, and seen monthly site visits soar to more than 100,000 since taking over mnartists.org in mid-2004. Kvern will continue living in the Twin Cities.
Among Kvern’s accomplishments: mnartists.org has held more than 75 artist registration and technology workshops around Minnesota, collaborated with regional arts councils throughout the state, partnered with the Rake Magazine to produce the 10,000 Arts: Minnesota’s Creative Quarterly, collaborated with Magers & Quinn Booksellers to produce a poetry series, KFAI-FM for an ongoing series of podcasts, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts to lobby at the state capitol, and it has sponsored numerous arts festivals throughout Minnesota. New initiatives and collaborations include mnFashionFLASH, a series and quarterly competition highlighting local designers, fashion photographers, and stylists; mnSpin, a music series designed to expose new artists; and miniStories, a new short fiction series and competition. Through it all, Kvern says, “it is the talent and dedication of the artists that has moved me.”
“The sheer number of distinguished artists working in every discipline, hailing from every corner of the state is staggering. Over the course of any given day, among the new work to appear on the website I find something beautiful or unusual or funny or compelling,” she wrote in a farewell notice on mnartists.org. “Every week, I’ve had occasion to meet face-to-face with artists and talk to arts administrators, arts lovers, and those interested bystanders who just want a bit more introduction to what’s going on in the arts in Minnesota. I’ve loved every minute of these privileged opportunities to meet and talk with artists and to promote the amazing work coming from the artists working throughout our state. This has been the very best part of my job.”
The Walker and the McKnight Foundation were co-founding developers of mnartists.org, overseen and staffed by the Walker.