Brigid Baier, a scholarship recipient at Bemidji State University, found healing through her artwork. It's an avenue she's been able to pursue wholeheartedly because of donors who help fund her scholarships. (Contributed)
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By Molly Houts

Published 7:00 a.m. on Feb. 20, 2024

Wanting to honor her late father by continuing her education, Brigid Baier found healing along the shores of Bemidji State University. 

“Education was huge for my dad and to study what I love and am good at,” Baier said. “He had a soft spot in his heart for the arts and wanted to support me in any way possible growing up.” 

Baier’s father died in November 2021, but his emphasis on education has inspired her. After starting her collegiate journey at another school, Baier applied for the design program at BSU and transferred in the fall of 2022 as a graphic design and exhibit design major. Now, the Bloomington native is projected to graduate in the spring of 2025.

Baier has also received the Lillie Kleven Print and the Rick and Marcella Sherman scholarships, which have created a legacy beyond her own journey. Baier said that the scholarshisps, paired with the more affordable education that Bemidji State offers, allows her three younger siblings the financial flexibility to attend college themselves. 

With scholarships like the one Baier received, students are supported while facing the many stresses of college. That’s why Day of Giving is so important at BSU, and why donors can change lives through their generosity. 

“Without this extra help, I think I would make it through school, but I don’t know if I would make it through school in one piece,” Baier said. 

Day of Giving – an annual fundraising campaign at Bemidji State – is happening today, Feb. 20, on campus and online. You can support students like Baier by clicking the button below to donate.

A career in the arts

Graphic design was not always the plan for Baier. At first, she wanted to pursue a career in the chemistry field. But after some reevaluation, she decided to go down another path: art.  

Baier wanted to go into a career that made an impact on people’s lives. She was skeptical at first that art was influential enough, but then she received some much-needed advice from a professional: “If you don’t think art helps people, then you’re doing it wrong.” 

Specializing in printmaking and design, Baier has found a passion for what she does. Printmaking allows for artworks to be easily transferrable onto other canvases.  

“I have quite a few prints that are close to my heart, but I do love the one I made of a heart and web,” Baier said. “It especially hit home for my dad’s grandma after my dad passed away.” 

Titled “Grief,” this piece is a commentary on mourning which depicts a woman curled up within an anatomical heart and spider webs. Baier describes it as being the “span of time after when I felt frozen.” 

Coming from a larger university to BSU, Baier felt right at home. The smaller campus and class sizes allowed Baier to find comfort in a time of hardship. At her old school, Baier said, “I was just a number. No one really cared.” 

“I really love Bemidji,” she said. “I feel so pushed by my professors to improve myself and I have so many more opportunities. I feel like people actually care.” 

Getting through college while grieving her dad was tough for Baier, but she endured in part from the help of her scholarships – plus a field she’s passionate about. 

With the way art helps her, she’s now a walking testimony that she’s doing it right. 

“Art really helped me get through a lot,” Baier said. “Especially after my dad passed away. That was my outlet.” 

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