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Published January 22 2011

Wiger chosen as Bluestem director

The new director for the Bluestem Center for the Arts in south Moorhead said she wants to make the facility a community resource for area residents.

Bluestem is best known as the home of Trollwood Performing Arts School, but Sue Wiger said she hopes the site will be used more widely in the future for other events, including concerts, weddings, business meetings and corporate retreats.

“Arts-related activities make our lives richer and communities stronger,” said Wiger, whose new role was announced Friday.

She’ll serve as executive director for FutureBuilders, the nonprofit corporation that operates and manages Bluestem and financially supports Trollwood.

Trollwood is an arts program for Fargo Public Schools, but the performing arts school is now located in Moorhead after a move from its oft-flooded location in north Fargo.

Wiger replaces Gail Benson, the previous executive director, who was fired nearly a year ago.

“Building this beautiful facility into a vibrant community resource contributes to economic development and contributes to making this area a wonderful place to live,” Wiger said.

FutureBuilders has hit financial obstacles in recent years, but Wiger said she’s ready to take on the fundraising responsibility.

In June, donors were asked to contribute ahead of schedule so FutureBuilders could make its nearly $300,000 twice-annual loan payment toward the multimillion Bluestem facility.

“There are no doubts that we have some challenges financially,” Wiger said Friday. “That is something that we are addressing already. … We’re going to be very aggressive about bringing in opportunities to generate revenue – work closer with community leaders for sponsorships and also with grants.”

Future Builders President Jeff Nyquist praised Wiger for her fundraising experience, leadership and grasp of the community.

“Sue is one of those people who … builds bridges among and between people to accomplish change that matters,” Nyquist said.

Wiger comes to FutureBuilders from the United Way of Cass-Clay, where she had directed the efforts of the annual United Way Campaign. Wiger and Nyquist also previously worked at Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541