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UND’s Todd Hebert honored with Grand Forks Mayor’s Choice Artist Award

Associate professor recognized for ‘intimate and captivating works that entrance the viewer’; exhibition at Grand Forks City Hall on Thursday

Bubble with iceberg. Cooler with glacier. Snowman and goalpost.

Todd Hebert chooses wintry subjects such as the above to grace many of his paintings. That’s perhaps understandable, given that Hebert is a North Dakota native, UND graduate and now associate professor of art & design at the University.

Todd Hebert’s “Bubble and Iceberg,” a 2019 Acrylic on linen, 30×40. Image courtesy of Todd Hebert.

And while Hebert’s paintings have been celebrated on both the East and West coasts, including in temperate cities such as Houston and Los Angeles, they’re finding especially receptive audiences in northern climes.

Grand Forks now can be added to that list. Hebert has been selected as the next recipient of the Mayor’s Choice Artist Award.

The public is invited to a reception on Thursday, Sept. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Grand Forks City Hall Gallery. The event will feature the presentation of the award to Hebert, as well as the opening of his City Hall exhibit, “Icebergs, Bubbles, and Snowmen.” Those who are interested in the event are welcome to RSVP.

The award is being presented by Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski, First Lady Jenny Bochenski and the Grand Forks Public Arts Commission (PAC).

The award, established by former Mayor Michael Brown and Ann Brown in 2010, recognizes local artists for their contributions to a “more vibrant and cultural community,” as well as the City of Grand Forks’ commitment to and involvement with the arts, according to the PAC.

Each awarded artist – traditionally chosen quarterly – is given a reception with the mayor, and the artwork is presented for the public to celebrate the artist’s achievements.

Art works may be available for purchase. Hebert’s exhibit will be on display in the City Hall Gallery through November.

“It means a lot to be recognized by the Grand Forks art community,” Hebert said. “I’m grateful to the Mayor and especially Vickie Arndt, gallery director for the Public Arts Commission, for selecting my work for the award. I really appreciate the opportunity to exhibit my work.”

Since 2012, Hebert has been a member of the art & design faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences at UND.

“As a faculty member, I feel fortunate to have experienced nothing but support for my teaching and research from the University, as well as from my peers and colleagues on campus,” he said.

‘Precision of small details’

Todd Hebert’s “Snowman,” a 2018 Acrylic on linen over panel, 16×24. Image courtesy of Todd Hebert.

“Hebert’s play with expected scale produces intimate and captivating works that entrance the viewer with the precision of their small details,” the Mark Moore Fine Art gallery in Orange, Calif., commented about an earlier Hebert show.

“Hebert embraces the label of ‘photorealistic surrealism’ that his past work has earned, yet produces something that is altogether subtler and quieter. … The iconography Hebert employs suggests inevitable impermanence and the optimism of continual renewal.”

Said Mayor Bochenski, “Mayor’s Choice is something my wife Jenny and I have enjoyed participating in and it’s always great to see the variety of talent and strong commitment to the arts this community has. Todd Hebert’s collection will be a wonderful addition to City Hall.“

About the artist:

Hebert, who was born in Valley City, N.D., and grew up in Dickinson, N.D., earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from UND in 1996 and his Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998.

For more than 20 years, his work has been featured in dozens of exhibitions across the country. He has been a fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass., as well as the Core Residency Program at the Glassell School of Art in Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Among the numerous private and public collections that have acquired his work are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Neuberger Berman Collection, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles.

Hebert’s art can also be seen at Devin Borden Gallery in Houston, and at Mark Moore Fine Art in California.

About the Public Arts Commission:

Founded in 2014, the Public Arts Commission has one goal: to see more public art in Grand Forks. Since then, PAC has worked to execute that goal with not just one large project, but 15 individual projects scattered throughout Downtown Grand Forks and 42nd Ave., as well as three galleries showcasing local artists located at City Hall, the Alerus Center and the Altru Professional Center. Vickie Arndt has served as gallery director for PAC since November 2020.

Partners supporting PAC include individual donors, businesses, foundations, landowners, the City of Grand Forks, the City of East Grand Forks, Grand Forks Parks & Recreation, artists and other non-profit organizations.