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Devils Lake Daily Journal
by Annette Zacher
May 6, 1993

Anne-Marit Bergstrom has always has a love for the arts and the Lake Region. That love shows through in a series of paintings designed for the 100th Anniversary Chautauqua celebration this year.

The series, designed "...to give a feeling of what it would be like to participate in Chautauqua activities", is a joint venture between Anne-Marit and her daughter-in-law, Candace.

Many of the paintings by Anne-Marit were born from memories of Chautauqua stories told to her by a number of family members. From her mother, father, aunts, and uncles, Anne-Marit heard stories about Billy Sunday, the taste of fry-bread and the airway. "The train that took the people from Devils Lake to the Chautauqua was called an airway because it had no windows," she explains. "They told those stories like it happened yesterday...I just want to make that era come alive again."

Anne-Marit appreciates Candace's interpretation of the event. Since Candace is not from the area, her paintings reflect a unique point of view, a whole new outlook of the event. "She made us examine things we might have taken for granted," Anne-Marit notes.

The idea for the Chautauqua series came to Anne-Marit back in 1983, when she had done some sketches for the county centennial. Through the course of a decade, some of her pen and ink drawings were transformed into paintings for the 100th Anniversary Chautauqua celebration. They joined additional paintings to comprise the series that is currently on display at the NDSU Library Gallery in Fargo. The collection will be on display during Chautauqua festivities in the Lake Region July 104. It will be displayed at the UND-Lake Region Library. A booklet has also been published to accompany the exhibit.

"I think Chautauqua is the foundation for so much," Anne-Marit says. "And we are still building on that foundation. The need for cultural enrichment was so vital. I think people's lives are so much more full if they can avail themselves to these things."

In the Spirit of Chautauqua

Grand Forks Herald
December 26, 1995
by Kevin Bonham

UND-Lake Region opens art gallery/lecture room
Devils Lake- Leave it to the artists to bring new life to a big, empty room.

That's precisely what happened at UND-Lake Region this past fall after the college's Paul Hoghaug Library moved down the hall to spacious new quarters.

An art gallery/lecture room has blossomed in its place.

In the month it has been open, the Leo and Alma Studness Chautauqua Gallery has become a popular place on the campus and in the community.

Humanities lectures and community classes have been held there. Recitals and other cultural events and gatherings are likely to be part of its future. Art exhibits are being added to the small permanent art collection.

Nine paintings by Anne-Marit Bergstrom, daughter of Leo and Alma Mehus Studness, will be on permanent display in the gallery. Works by Candace Bergstrom, Anne-Marit Bergstrom's daughter-in-law, are also on display.

The gallery seats about 100 people. It also is being used for continuing education classes.

"It is designed with an elegant motif, you can go and feel really good about it," said Sharon Etemad, UND-Lake Region executive dean.

Money for the remodeling and the gallery opening came from a $50,000 gift from Alma Mehus Studness of Devils Lake. It was a gift in memory of her husband.

Alma Mehus Studness began a professional music career as a pianist on the Chautauqua cultural circuit in the 1930s. The circuit began in Devils Lake in 1893.

"They have really been a core family to support the arts in the community," Etemad said.

Gallery officials also are starting a permanent display on Chautauqua including its history, a collection of old Chautauqua programs, and what the cultural series means to the Lake Region.

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