GRAND FORKS – Mayor Brandon Bochenski has selected Grand Forks artist Pirjo Berg to receive the Mayor’s Choice Artist Award.

An opening reception for an exhibit of more than 100 of her paintings is planned for 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at City Hall, 255 N. Fourth St. Everyone is welcome to atten the event, which will be hosted by the Public Arts Commission.

Berg’s work “can be described as landscape/abstraction,” said Vickie Arndt, curator for the Public Arts Commission.

Her artwork is “a captivating fusion of her Finnish heritage, deep appreciation for landscapes, and proud fascination with geology,” Arndt said in the event announcement. “Through her art, she seamlessly weaves together elements from her childhood, such as traditional Finnish decorations like striped rugs and woven hangings, which imbue her work with layers of nostalgia and longing.

“As an immigrant distanced from her homeland, Pirjo’s longing for the past is palpable in her paintings, watercolors and clay work, where she endeavors to encapsulate the essence of geological time and the ephemeral nature of memories.”

Berg’s artistic style channels “a pastoral and romantic sensibility inspired by the natural world,” Arndt said. “Her art becomes a form of visual music, resonating with viewers through its evocative portrayal of nature’s beauty and the passage of time.”


Pirjo Berg’s oil painting, “The Edges Of The Sea,” is among more than 120 pieces of her artwork that will be on display at City Hall through Sept. 1.


Exploring geological formations, the artist “masterfully translates the vastness of geological time into tangible forms, skillfully capturing the intricate essence of strata in her paintings and clay work,” Arndt said. “Her lines exhibit a unique dynamism, at times appearing nervous and diagonally adrift, while clusters of electric blue color evoke imagery ranging from glaciers to vast oceans.”

The images conjure up “vivid depictions of nature’s forces, from swirling clouds to crashing waves, creating a visual symphony akin to seismographic vibrations,” she said.

Through Berg’s work, viewers are “invited to embark on a journey of reflection and contemplation, connecting with their memories and the timeless rhythms of the earth,” Arndt said.


Oil paintings, such as “Big Sky 5,” by Pirjo Berg, reflect her exploration of the vastness of geological formations, nature’s beauty and the passage of time.


A native of Finland, Berg earned the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Art and Media in Tampere, Finland, in 2000. That year, she established her studio practice in Seattle. In 2005, she graduated from the Artists Trust EDGE Program, a professional development program in Washington state.

Her exhibit at City Hall will be on display through Sept. 1.

For more information, visit the Public Arts Commission website,


Pamela Knudson

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at [email protected] or (701) 780-1107.


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