-Minnesota State Arts Board - Minnesota North Star

Minnesota State Arts Board–A Creative Investment, Celebrating Ten Years of Legacy Art and Impact


Red Lake Nation College. Artist Al Belleveau

  Red Lake Nation College  
  Red Lake Indian Reservation – Beltrami County  
  2018 Arts Learning grant – Region 2 Arts Council  
  Artist Al Belleveau  

Welder turned metal artist Al Belleveau, uses his technical skill, artistry, and life's experiences to inspire and mentor individuals, helping them gain employment as welders or mechanics. Belleveau, who has been welding and collecting stones ever since he was a boy, teaches welding at Oshkiimaajitahdah Institute of Technology, part of educational services at Red Lake College Nation.

Oshkiimaatjitahda translates to "new beginnings," and the vocational school seeks to offer that to students, teaching technical skills to help students enter and succeed in the workforce. Through a Region 2 Arts Council Arts Learning grant awarded to Red Lake Nation College, Belleveau and his students created three metal clan sculptures with public participation. The sculptures are permanently located outside the college.

This piece, Sculptress, is an example of Belleveau's artwork, which he defines as Rock Iron Art–a synthesis of two of northern Minnesota's most abundant resources: iron and stones. Belleveau explores and uses rocks and metal in sculptural form to depict humorous life forms, unique functional furniture, art structures, and decorating accoutrements. Rocks are thrust into cherry red cages of steel, formed, and tightened under enormous pressure, and then welded to fit the sculptural needs of each piece.