I was born in Grand Forks, ND, the year of the “100 year flood” of the Red River. The extreme rise of the river happened again in 1997, ushering in my departure from North Dakota and my move to a harbor city on the the tip of Lake Superior to attend college.
I was immediately drawn to painting as an undergraduate student. Under Professor Dean Lettenstrom, I was encouraged to explore the multi-faceted weight of paint. My studies brought me to England in 1998, when I traveled to and spent the academic year at Westhill College in Birmingham.
Upon returning to the United States, my focus on Art intensified and I focused on painting as a Pre-Graduate Studio Art Candidate. As a Dance Minor, I centered my interest in Modern Dance choreography under Professor Kim Neal Nofsinger. Human form and movement became a huge focal point in all my creative work, and still persists.
Following my graduation, I was began my MFA studies in a joint program between Studio Arts Center International and Bowling Green State University. For the first year I lived and learned in Florence, Italy, and the final year of my formal education culminated in Bowling Green, OH. The result of this study, while physically ending in my Masters Thesis Exhibition, continues to burn and be simultaneously quenched, in Duluth, MN.
Since 2005, I have taught Modern Art History, Painting, Drawing and foundation courses at College of St. Scholastica where I am currently the Director of the Art Program. I often hold summer workshops at the Duluth Art Institute. The cycle of teaching and learning is an unending experience on which I thrive. Recent work includes, Portrait of an Artist, was a gratitude project aimed at honoring artists within my sphere that have positively impacted me. While the exhibition closed in January of 2016, it has also resulted in a book Portrait of an Artist: Paintings by Sarah M. Brokke published by Holy Cow! Press and a film directed by Dan Branovan released Spring of 2017. In addition to my individual work, I created the Mural Initiative Project at the College of St. Scholastica, starting the 2015-2016 Academic Year. Each year since, I’ve had the great fortune of working with incredible artists at local educational and non-profit agencies who truly support the world. In those places we’ve created large-scale collaborative murals, which have been a true demonstration of the connective power of art. In addition to that project based work, I also was invited to teach in Ireland in the Spring of 2018. I feel so fortunate to live such a full life surrounded by such wonderful individuals.
Living where I do, I can’t help but be inspired on a daily basis. Lake Superior is a bastion of peace, and somehow it seems that in my life I am always meant to be in some sort of communion with water and of course, with paint.