Think about the local art in your home. When you look around at each painting, sculpture or print, you likely recall a specific memory behind each piece. Perhaps you bought the piece on a trip to a foreign country or received it as a gift from a special person in your life. Or maybe you bought it simply because you liked the artist and looking at it brings you joy.
For Allison Niendiek, purchasing local artwork is her way to commemorate the many places she’s lived and traveled while working as a marketing representative for John Deere the last 16 years.
Although Niendiek recently moved to Moline, Illinois to start a new position at the John Deere headquarters, she worked as the Ag and Turf Territory Sales Manager in Fargo for two years. When Niendiek accepted the position in Illinois, she knew she wanted to find a piece of local artwork to commemorate her time here.
That’s when she remembered a piece she noticed at Nichole’s Fine Pastry while on her weekly coffee date with her boyfriend many months ago.
“The piece really struck my interest because of the bright red and yellow colors and the Hawley grain elevators,” Niendiek says.
Niendiek didn’t recall who created the painting, but she was determined to find out.
“I was scrambling,” she says. “I thought, ‘How am I going to find out whose art this is?”
She figured it would be a shot in the dark, but Niendiek reached out to Nichole Hensen, owner of Nichole’s Fine Pastry, in hopes of tracking down the artist. Fortunately, Hensen did remember and put her in touch with The Arts Partnership’s Director of Operations Tania Blanich, who has curated art at Nichole’s for several years. Blanich informed her the piece was by local artist Grady Carlson.
“I thought for sure it wasn’t going to work out,” Niendiek says. “Sadly, that specific piece had already sold, but I’m in talks with Mr. Carlson about commissioning a piece to commemorate my time in Fargo. I absolutely loved my time there!”
Niendiek grew up on a grain and dairy farm in southern Illinois, so agriculture has always been a big piece of her life – and so has art. Over the years, Niendiek has collected art from around the world during her travels. She has visited 51 countries to date.
“I’ve been fortunate to travel quite a bit,” Niendiek says. “I enjoy finding unique artwork and textiles (during my travels). When I come back home, I get them framed.”
While living in Fargo, she enjoyed attending exhibitions and theatre performances whenever she could.
Although she was sad to leave Fargo, Niendiek looks forward to her new adventure and is excited to work with Carlson to create a custom piece.
Did you use to live in Fargo and have a piece of local artwork that reminds you of your time here? Tell us in the comment section below! We’d love to hear your stories.
The featured photo is courtesy of gradycarlson.com.