Artist-in-Residence Program



Margery McCanna Jennison has given her ancestral home in western Grand Forks County to the North Dakota Museum of Art to establish the state’s first, full-fledged, Artist-in-Residence Program. Named McCanna House, the residency will offer artists, composers, and writers unfettered time to work in a setting that preserves the history and integrity of one of North Dakota’s first architect-designed, country homes surrounded by rich, agricultural land.




McCanna House


North Dakota Museum of Art presents a unique opportunity with the McCanna House Artist-in-Residence Program. This retreat consists of a 1920's farmhouse and large outlying steel building in the midst of the thriving farmland of the Red River Valley of Eastern North Dakota. While the residency affords no dedicated media specific facilities at this time, the open mutable space of the house, barn and grounds affords opportunity for the creation of work in many scales. The powerfully vast physical space of the Great Plains allows the imagination to run wild, with the close proximity to large scale agriculture drawing one into the cycles of growth and harvest. Out of this open horizon emerges a peace and presence of mind uniquely conducive to creativity and artistic shift.




The Grounds

McCanna, ND, is a small farming community about 35 miles west of Grand Forks, just north of the town of Larimore. The McCanna family began farming the area in the mid-1800's, and it prospered into what was one of the largest Bonanza farms in the area. Margery McCanna Jennison inherited the family farmstead, consisting of the 1920 French country style farmhouse, a 40 x 70 foot steel building, and 9 acres of surrounding land. She was an ardent supporter of the arts, and a well-versed world traveler.


When Margery passed away in April of 2010, she left the farmstead to the North Dakota Museum of Art, with the understanding that it would be used to house an artist-in-residence program -- a place where people could have the peace and solitude to unfurl the power of their imaginations. The house affords the resident artists a place to contemplate the visceral sense of space and change out here, and to allow this to inspire a blueprint of limitlessness.


•Well lit French country-style farmhouse, detached 40 x 70 foot steel building, and large outdoor space with yards and surrounding tree lines.
•House has 3 full bedrooms, each with attached bathrooms
•New washer and dryer
•New electric stove in well appointed kitchen
•Screened in porch area with convenient BBQ
•A modest array of hand tools
•Opportunities to work with surrounding community groups
•10 miles from town of Larimore (pop.2,000), yet feels remote and private.
•35 miles from Grand Forks (pop.55,000), with its thriving art scene and good shopping/dining
•5 hours to Minneapolis and 2 hours to Winnipeg, Manitoba
•Well stocked library
•Fruit trees
•Surrounded by working fields producing soy beans, potatoes, canola, and more...
•Endless sky
•Big weather

Note that the workspace is very raw at this point, and is not handicap accessible. There are no media specific studio areas and the large steel building has a dirt floor. Work space in that building consists of a long wooden bench, an assortment of hand tools and hardware, 220V (single phase) electricity, and a lot of open area with 20 foot ceilings. The steel building will be in use as a staging area for museum resources during the 2015 season, and only a limited area including a long workbench will be accessible for smaller projects. In future years, the whole space will be opened up for installations, projections, and larger 2D and 3D work.


The Program

The residency consists of 3-5 week blocks of time layered throughout the operating year. Winter dictates that the house is only open from June 1st to the end of September. At this time in the evolution of the program, there will only be 1 to 3 individuals on the property at a time.  While there are no expectations for the artist to complete finished work during the residency, a pair of presentations will let the local and museum communities know what the artist is working on/through/with.... Artists are asked only to use their time wisely, and be aware of the transformative potential of time spent there.



Past Artists In Residence


John Colle Rogers

Tim Schouten

Todd Pate

Helgi Eyjólfsson

Vala Eyjólfsson

Carole d'Inverno

Pirjo Berg

James Culleton

Margaret Wall-Romana

Chris Pancoe