Rural Arts

The Rural Arts Initiative, an educational outreach program, works to encourage and empower rural school students and their teachers to actively participate in learning through the arts. The Rural Art Initiative came about in direct response to feedback from educators and families working in rural areas. Major challenges such as inadequate funding for art education, few museums and great distances have not allowed the visual arts to flourish in rural areas as much as other forms of art such as music and theater, which accompanied early settlers as they moved west.

Museum Visits
Three major exhibitions will be selected for the program. Throughout the school year, teachers and their students will visit the Museum to see and discuss exhibitions. Financial support for travel expenses is available for qualifying schools.

Tour exhibitions
The Museum will organize touring exhibitions of art, relevant to the local communities, that are integrated into school curricula and that can withstand less-than-optimal conditions and handling. Each exhibition targets specific age groups within the K-12 spectrum but all class levels are encouraged to visit and participate in the exhibition. Each host organization must provided a secure facility and staff for the duration of the exhibition. Exhibition times vary depending on location.

The Museum will deliver and install the exhibition
As part of the program Museum staff will train docents on the exhibition and program. In addition, Museum staff will return to pack up the exhibition when it closes. There is never a cost to host organizations. Past exhibitions, Snow Country Prison, Self Portraits, Shelterbelts, Marking the Land, and Animals: Them and Us, have been installed in buildings such as bank basements, Masonic temples, empty store fronts, school gymnasiums, etc. Each exhibition will be installed for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of one month.




In Our Own Words:
Native Impressions

Who are contemporary American Indian people in North Dakota? What are their stories? Printmaker Daniel Heyman was invited to North Dakota from the East Coast to ask those questions. His invitation came from two University of North Dakota faculty, printmaker Kim Fink and graphic designer Lucy Ganje. Accompanied by Leigh Jeanotte, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and Director of UND’s American Indian Student Services, the three artists set out for North Dakota’s Reservations. With introductions from the local tribal colleges, they began their interviews.

Their final work “Native Impressions” includes both portraits and text from a range of people living on North Dakota’s four reservations including business people, farmers, ranchers, teachers, politicians, tribal leaders, and community members. Once the subjects had been chosen, Heyman quickly drew their images and then carved them into wood to produce large-scale, reduction color woodcut portraits of Native people: one for each subject, three from each reservation, each approximately 25.5 x 19.5 inches.

While Heyman made the drawings, Lucy Ganje interviewed the sitters, collecting their oral histories, which she transcribed, edited, designed, and typeset into accompanying broadsides. Kim Fink as Publisher and Master Printer oversaw the production. Colorist Heyman’s equal prowess as a printer, and Ganje’s expertise in design and typography, propelled the three to work hand-in-hand as true collaborators.


Touring Schedule:

Pekin Auditorium, Pekin, ND
April 18 - 25, 2018



Lesson Plan



Visions of Home


Home is where we live and for most of us the place where we are most comfortable. Home is home. Beyond home is everywhere else. Or is home something we carry in our heads that has less to do with place and more with feelings evoked by thoughts of home? Are we really imagining a house sheltered by a golden roof and hidden within beautiful nature?

Recently the North Dakota Museum of Art toured the exhibition Beyond Home, which brought together artwork from ten foreign countries together coupled with art by three Americans about life in other countries. Next the Museum is looking inward in the exhibition Visions of Home, which focuses on North Dakota. These artists use visual language (art) to document or probe our human experiences of living in this place, these Northern Plains, under this North Dakota sky.

This work in Visions of Home is drawn equally from the North Dakota Museum of Art's permanent collection and from artists. Paintings, videos, prints, photographs, sculpture, crafts, and watercolors will flesh out the themes of this place. Historic and contemporary art will include Jim Dow's photographs of North Dakota landmarks, key Grand Forks 1997 flood photographs, paintings by Walter Piehl, David Krueger, and Todd Hebert, Carol Hepper's rawhide tipi sculptures, the finely executed crafts of making horse tack, plus a traditional Horse Stick by Butch Thunder Hawk, and much more.


Touring Schedule:

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Washburn, ND
June 22 - July 30, 2018

Hankinson Public School, Hankinson, ND
September 17 - 28, 2018

Cavalier County Courthouse, Langdon, ND
October 9 - 19, 2018

Zeeland Public School, Zeeland, ND
October 22 - November 2, 2018



Bradford Hansen-Smith: Circles


Bradford Hansen-Smith is a working artist. He is also a teacher. Wholemovement™ is the process of learning geometry through folding paper circles. Developed by sculptor Bradford Hansen-Smith, this guide for teachers and home-schooling parents shows geometry can be derived from the circle, offering a fun way to introduce children (or adults) to a better understanding of geometry. Children enjoy folding, taping, and coloring the paper plates, while adults can appreciate the deeper discussion of mathematical principles. Of interest to origami and mathematical paperfolding enthusiasts, the paper circle offers a new world of possibilities to people of all ages.

Drawing and making things is how I have always explored and understood the world around me. I made a living as a sculptor for many years before needing to know more about spatial patterns of movement and how they worked. Buckminster Fuller was my introduction to geometry.

—Bradford Hansen-Smith


Touring Schedule:

Audi Theater, Cando, ND
November 5 - 16, 2018

Jamestown Arts Center, Jamestown, ND
December 15, 2018 - February 2, 2019


Snow Country Prison:
Interned in North Dakota


In 1941 the U. S. Justice Department converted Fort Lincoln from a surplus military post into an internment camp to detain people arrested in the United States as enemy aliens. Over its five-year operation as a camp, the Bismarck facility housed about 1,500 men of German nationality, and over 1,800 of Japanese ancestry. The first group of Japanese and German men were arrested by the FBI in the days immediately after Pearl Harbor. The arrests were done under the authority of the Alien Enemies Act, and these so-called "enemy aliens" were removed from their homes, primarily on the West Coast and East Coast, and sent to camps in isolated parts of the country.

Snow Country Prison: Interned in North Dakota opened October 4, 2003, in Bismarck at the site of the former camp, now United Tribes Technical College. The exhibition examined the internment experience of German and Japanese nationals, as well as Japanese American citizens deemed "enemy aliens" following the renunciation of their citizenship during World War II.

The exhibition, organized jointly by the Museum and the United Tribes Technical College, featured historic photos and murals of the camp, floor-to-ceiling cloth banners imprinted with images of people interned there, and wall text drawn from the haiku poems of one of the Japanese internees, Itaru Ina.


Touring Schedule:

This show is unavailable October 1, 2018 through January 11, 2019 as it will be on loan to Lake Region Arts Council, Fergus Falls, MN.