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Willmar student chosen to attend exclusive summer art institute

WILLMAR — When Kalley Fosso was little, a sheet of paper and some colored pencils would keep her happy for quite a while.

As her talent has grown over the years, so has her interest in art. When she was a sophomore, the Willmar Senior High School senior “decided to go for it” and make art her career.

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Fosso, 18, will take another step on that path when she participates in the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute at the University of South Dakota in June.

Just 20 high school students are chosen to attend the exclusive art institute each year. Students spend nearly two weeks working with contemporary Native American fine artists and learning about Native American culture.

Fosso said last week that she applied for the institute in the winter and found out about a month ago that she had been chosen.

To apply, she submitted a portfolio with photos of 15 of her works and wrote an essay about why she was interested in attending. Native American students are given preference in the selection process, and she didn’t know what to expect when she submitted her application.

“I was really excited to find out I made it,” she said.

The institute will run from June 8 to June 20. Participants will live in university dorms, and their room and board will be provided. Their days will be filled with art classes and presentations about Native American culture and history. On the weekend, they will go on a field trip to an art museum in Omaha, Neb.

At the end of the institute, participants will show their work.

“I’m excited, because I think Native American culture is cool,” Fosso said. She’s hoping the institute will give her a chance to work more with charcoal, a medium she hasn’t used that often.

“I really like painting, that’s my forte,” Fosso said. She plans to attend Bethel University to major in art. She said she liked the major program offered by Bethel, because its studio art major offers a variety of classes and doesn’t require students to focus on one medium.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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