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Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Sharing my thoughts about the opening reception to my joint art gallery show, “connected.” with Jessica Wachter.

Outside looking in

“People are already arriving!” someone passed along as I looked at my wristwatch.

It was 10 minutes before 5 pm. The invitations said ‘Opening Reception begins at 5:30 pm.’ We were still sticking labels next to the art pieces; the caterers were unloading the food; gift packets and beverages hadn’t been moved out to the tables; I was still trying to remember what I wanted to say; but guests were arriving really early—“This is really happening!” I thought.


Wow! What a night!

Thank you to all who attended as well as those who wanted to attend but couldn’t make the trip! Jessica and I have been floating on cloud 9 ever since.


David Borlaug kicks off the event, introducing Shelley Larson, and artists Jessica Wachter and Kent Burkhardsmeier

Around 6 pm, Gallery Director David Borlaug kicked off the event introducing Shelley Larson – Starion Bank representative and our friend. Shelley shared how she has known Jessica since a little girl and how Jessica and I met at her place (read more). Jessica spoke passionately on the power of looking at life through the lens of connected, she shared our manifesto, and revealed how her paintings are her prayers to the world (read more).


Jessica sharing her passion, inspiration, and aspirations as an artist

I owe a huge thank you to Ms Jessica. She has pushed me to go beyond my traditional photographic art creations. She has been such an inspiration, a true mentor, and my artistic partner. As she mentioned, we’ve discovered some points of connections. Thank you Shelley and Craig Larson for allowing the Cat in The Hat (me) into your home. Thank you Starion Bank for adding the extra bits for this wonderful display. A special thank you to David and The Capital Gallery, for inviting Jessica and me to showcase our artwork throughout the entire gallery for the next 3 months!

Susan talking with her brother Raymond French

Welcome friends – those who live locally and those who traveled to be here tonight. Welcome to my local Burkhardsmeier and Kress clans. Welcome to the French Family! I want to shout out to 3 fans: my daughter (Britni), son (Derek), and daughter-in-law (Lauren). Many of my pieces would not be possible if were not for my business and life partner, Susan. We travel together — she makes sure we have coffee and snacks during our early morning sunrise shoots plus wine, cheese, and crackers for our sunset sessions.


For those that don’t’ know me, I grew up here (Bismarck). I went to Saxvik Elementary and Simile Jr High. I graduated from Century High School. I played hockey; ran track and cross-country. I’ve walked or rode my bike on almost every street in town! (Well pre-1980 Bismarck streets.) That is when I moved away for college. Since leaving I have lived around the world. For now, we live in South Florida.

While I was discovering points of connection throughout the world, I always stayed connected to here –North Dakota! The wide openness of ND is prevalent in much of my work.


Artist’s Manifesto

Since this exhibition is the first time my work has been shown in ND, I’d like to share a little bit about my art.

When I go outdoors with my camera – I breathe. I am connected. Before I set up my gear – I look and I hear. I am connected. As I make an image – I learn and I feel it. I am connected. When I print a piece – I welcome it into the world. I am connected. Through my images, I offer peace, serenity, calmness, and space. Through my artwork, I reach out. We are connected!


It would have been easy for us (Jessica and I) to never have worked together. We are different in so many ways (gender, age, background, mannerisms, color, approach, style, medium, etc.)!

Yet, we chose to be connected! We were willing to discover points of connections. We continue to uncover them. And each time something better comes afterwards. Through art, we choose to express what it means for us to be connected. This gallery of our work is a manifestation of discovering points of connections. Our talents are interlaced into the art pieces. We are connected, period.

I cannot tell you how to feel or what to look for as you walk around the gallery. But I can share my approach. As I walk through the gallery, I Breathe to be present, I Look to see, I Hear to understand, and I Feel to connect. I am willing to discover more points of connections.

Breathe, Look, Hear, Feel

When I depart through those exit doors, I depart informed. I Welcome and I Reach Out. I am willing to discover points of connections with others, especially those who are not like me. To be connected is an action, not a state of being!

To quote someone I know, admire, and respect: “When people are connected, they feel woven into each other. You are a part of me, and I am a part of you. I can’t win if you lose. The goal is for everyone to be connected.”

That is what enables Jessica and me; that is what motivates us; and that is what inspires Jessica and me. That is our goal!


Leaving their mark on the wall


More Information

To view Jessica’s work and our joint pieces currently on display, click here >> To view my work currently on display, click here >> To learn more about artist Jessica Wachter, visit her website. To learn more about artist Kent Burkhardsmeier, visit my website. For inquires about art pieces showing at The Capital Gallery, visit their website.

©2019 All Rights Reserved Kent J Burkhardsmeier


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