Press Release

Aberdeen Downtown Artists Awarded

By June 29, 2022 No Comments
Aberdeen Downtown Art Project award-winning artists are pictured with representatives from the Aberdeen Area Community Foundation: (from left) Hannah Walters, AACF board; third place winner Fox Fesler; second place and Peoples Choice winner Grace Campbell; first place winner Deb Carson; Alexis Doerr, NSU art instructor/Downtown Art Project director; Megan Biegler, AACF board.

Three Aberdeen artists recently received awards and cash prizes for their artworks that appear on the windows of downtown businesses. Deb Carson earned first place for her painting Rascals (displayed at 114 S. Main St.). Grace Campbell won second place for photo Reaching Through a Window (220 S. Main St.). Fox Fesler took third place for her painting Coneflower March (Capitol Theatre, 417 S. Main St). Grace Campbell also won the Peoples Choice Award, which was voted on by people who visited the Aberdeen Area Community Foundation website.

The Aberdeen Area Community Foundation (AACF) created the Downtown Art Project with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Aberdeen Fund, which is held at the South Dakota Community Foundation. Artworks were transferred to vinyl clings and installed on a dozen business windows in downtown Aberdeen in mid-May. The artworks responed to a theme of “Wildlife and Wildflowers of South Dakota.” A judging panel selected the artworks to be displayed and the prize winners. It is the second year in a row for the Downtown Art Project. The purpose of the project is to beautify downtown with local art.

Alexis Doerr, Lecturer of Art at Northern State University, serves as project director and oversaw solicitation of art proposals, judging, and installation of the artworks. Project judges were Stacy Braun, Aberdeen Area Arts Council Executive Director, and Crystal Harper, Cultural Arts Program Coordinator for the Aberdeen Recreation & Cultural Center.

Artists who submitted artworks for the Downtown Art Project.

Other artists whose work is featured are: Jakob Padgett, Cathy Smith, Jill Craft, Jim Weber, Lori Tobin, Jazmin Barke, and Denis Heidenreich. In addition to the individual artworks, two collages of works submitted by the Creative Expressions program at Aspire and Aberdeen Achieve at Central High School are on display.

“We’re thrilled to be able to continue the Downtown Art Project this year,” AACF president Heath Johnson said. “We’re able to display more art this year, and we believe using clings makes it easier for more artists to be involved. We’re very grateful to Alexis Doerr for running the project and to the downtown businesses who’ve made their windows available.”

Professor Doerr added, “The Downtown Art Project is a great opportunity to showcase local artwork and generate visibility for artists and creatives in our area.”

About the Aberdeen Area Community Foundation

The Aberdeen Area Community Foundation was established in 1984 as a standalone 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with a goal of creating a long-term funding source for charitable causes in the local area. With careful investment, the fund will continue to grow and enhance quality of life in the local area forever. This fund is one of 80 CSAs in partnership with SDCF. For more information, visit

About the Knight Foundation Aberdeen Fund

In 2004, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation created the Knight Aberdeen Fund with the South Dakota Community Foundation to support Aberdeen. Funded with $2 million, it has made more than 80 grants totaling over $1.1 million to more than 50 area organizations.

About the South Dakota Community Foundation

SDCF is a public non-profit organization established in 1987. SDCF, with offices in Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Aberdeen administers over 1,100 funds benefiting hundreds of charitable organizations annually. The Foundation distributed nearly $18 million in grants in 2021 which made a tremendous difference in communities statewide. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors. If you have a specific cause you would like to support or would prefer to give for the general good of our state, please visit to learn more or call 1-800-888-1842.