Voices of the Earth Playwright Festival Receives Region 2 Arts Council Support

Bemidji State University received a $4,800 Arts Access Grant from the Region 2 Arts Council to support the second annual Voices of the Earth festival.

The day-long event features readings of short plays written by local and national playwrights on topics ranging from sustainability to indigenous legends. It also provides an opportunity for Bemidji State students to work with theater professionals from around the nation.

“We were surprised by the national and regional interest last year,” Season Ellison, assistant professor of history and producer of the festival, said. “Now that we expect national participation this year, I am thrilled to have secured a Region 2 Arts Access Grant.”

The grant funds will be dedicated for renowned play development specialists to visit Bemidji and work with both students and the community to develop competitively selected short plays.

“I expect to bring in three directors and a playwriting respondent to work with playwrights, students and audience members,” Ellison said. “I also plan to partially fund playwrights’ travel and to hire an Ojibwe language and culture consultant in the event of producing plays by regional Ojibwe authors.”

The 2020 festival will be held on April 5 in partnership with Red Lake Nation College. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota, through a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The festival is also supported by matching funds from Bemidji State’s College of Arts, Education and Humanities.


MN State logoBemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding. For more, visit bemidjistate.edu or find us at BemidjiState on most of your favorite social media networks.