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.


Workshop credit for teachers
Participating teachers will receive college credit for fifteen contact hours through the Initiative. They will learn about the North Dakota Museum of Art and how to use the Museum in a classroom setting. Credits must be decided upon prior to workshops.

Classroom visit by Museum staff and educators
Before students from rural schools visit the Museum, a Museum educator will visit their classroom to introduce the Museum, its building, museum practices, and exhibitions.

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.



Nancy Friese:
Encircling Trees and Radiant Skies


A sense of the local is central to Nancy Friese’s work, wherein she documents places and events that are specific and personal, while offering them up to be shared by the viewer. Friese is a landscape artist, and though she lives and works most of the year in Rhode Island, she spends part of each summer in rural Buxton, North Dakota, on the land her great-grandfather homesteaded when he emigrated from Norway. It is land she has drawn again and again, depicting its expansive fields and seemingly endless skies, sometimes in vivid paint and sometimes in intimate etched lines.

Summers end and the artist returns to the East Coast to continue developing her images, sometimes as prints, but also oil paintings on canvas and watercolors on paper that might measure up to nine feet wide as two-panel diptychs, or five feet high, or as small as thirty by thirty inches. A print virtuoso, she produces work as woodcuts, etchings, drypoints, linocuts and monotypes, or combinations of printmaking techniques.

The artist has a long and enduring relationship with North Dakota and the North Dakota Museum of Art. She served on the Museum’s Board of Trustees during the late 1990s. Prior to this exhibition, the Museum mounted a show of Friese’s early wood engravings. She also donates prints from her own collection to the Museum. In 2011, she invited Museum Director Laurel Reuter to collaborate with her on the print portfolio in this exhibition, “Tumbling Time.” Given her habit of painting and drawing from direct observation outdoors, she etched the copper plates for the portfolio in the fields and woodlands surrounding her summer home in Buxton.

Touring Schedule


Cavalier County Courthouse - Langdon
October 9 - 20, 2017



Lesson Plan



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


Northwest Arts Center - Minot
November 1 - 30, 2017



Lesson Plan



Beyond Home


Home is where we live and for most of us the place where we are most comfortable. Beyond Home is everywhere else. This exhibition is drawn from the North Dakota Museum of Art’s permanent collection. It is artwork the Museum holds in trust for the people of North Dakota. There are artists from ten foreign countries as well as three United States citizens who make art about life in other countries. Quite often they use visual language (art) to explore historical events and how they impact human life. Art is one of the humanities, which along with such fields as law, philosophy, history and literature, studies how people process and document the human experience. What does it mean to be human is the overriding issue for many artists in this show.


Touring Schedule


Spirit Room - Fargo
September 18 - November 9, 2017






















Lesson Plan