Archive for the ‘Around Town’ Category

Heritage Garden project in Moorhead seeks plants, stories, and volunteers

May 6th, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around Town, Museum Initiatives | Comments Off on Heritage Garden project in Moorhead seeks plants, stories, and volunteers

The Heritage Garden at the south side of Woodlawn Park is taking shape near the site of the former Moorhead Power Plant which was demolished in 2014. Coordination and design of the new garden is under the direction of artists Su Legatt, Rob Fischer, and Kevin Johnson, who are working closely with Plains Art Museum, the City of Moorhead, Moorhead Public Service, Concordia College, and community volunteers.

The team is asking current and former Moorhead residents, especially those displace by recent flood buy-outs, for perennial plants and stories, focusing on neighborhoods near the site. Plant pledges are needed by May 22, and plant donations will be accepted at the site on the weekend of June 6 and 7. Volunteers are also needed for the planting weekend on the first weekend in June.

Some plants may come from gardens that were left behind when houses were removed from the flood-prone riverside. Story subjects will include memories of past floods, life in Moorhead and the Woodlawn neighborhood, and the historic power plant.

Anyone interested in contributing full-sun perennials and stories, or helping to plant at the Heritage Garden, can go online to, or email, or call Su Legatt at 218-329-4950.

Heritage Garden details at a glance:

Plant pledges and stories due May 22
Heritage Garden Planting Days: Saturday, June 6, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday, June 7, Noon – 5 p.m.

For more information, and to submit stories and plant pledges:

Internet: or

Phone: Su Legatt, 218-329-4950

Support for this project has come from the National Endowment from the Arts, Artplace America, the Bush Foundation, and Lake Region Arts Council, Plains Art Museum’s Phyllis Thysell Fund for Education, and the City of Moorhead and Moorhead Public Service.

Internet Cat Video Festival set for Fargo on Sept. 4

August 21st, 2014 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around Town, Special Events | Comments Off on Internet Cat Video Festival set for Fargo on Sept. 4

Fargo CatVidFest posterCurated, compiled and edited by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Internet Cat Video Festival is a raucous, 75-minute romp through the Internet’s finest cat video offerings. Appearing at the Fargo Theatre on Sept. 4, the Festival is presented by Plains Art Museum. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for prescreening events and the show starts at 7 p.m.  Admission is $8 for adults/teens and $6 for children 12 and under. Join the event on Facebook

The evening will feature artist-led activities, Festival items for sale, a cat costume/attire contest, and a special short screening of Fargo-area feline videos called Valley Cats. Homeward Animal Shelter is a sponsor of the event and will host a booth on pet adoption.

Scott Stulen will DJ and emcee. Stulen curated and produced the first Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker in 2012, and is now with the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Since the Walker initiated the touring show in 2013, the Festival has drawn thousands of people together at selected venues from New York to Los Angeles, and dozens of sites in between.

“We’re so excited to bring this cultural phenomenon to Fargo,” says Colleen Sheehy, director and CEO of Plains Art Museum. “The Cat Video Festival is a lighthearted way to reach out to diverse audiences and bring them together in the same venue. Funny is more funny when laughing with a theater full of other people rather than alone on your computer screen or cellphone.”

“It’s a great opportunity for Homeward Animal Shelter to partner with the Museum and celebrate the playfulness of cats by bringing the Festival to our area,” said Nukhet Hendricks, Homeward’s executive director. “We invite the community to come enjoy the show, and then visit our shelter to meet wonderful cats (and dogs) looking for new homes.”

This program is part of the Central Time Centric symposium, with major support from the Bush Foundation and the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Technology and versatility contribute to big booms in short filmmaking

March 19th, 2014 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around Town, Artists, Exhibitions | Comments Off on Technology and versatility contribute to big booms in short filmmaking


Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 2.21.27 PM

By Kris Kerzman, The Arts Partnership

(Blogpost originally appeared in ARTSpulse)

A couple weeks ago, in the lead-up to the Academy Awards, NPR’s Neda Ulaby had this story about the rising popularity of short films and their increased visibility due to distribution channels like iTunes and Amazon. Further, big-time creators like Disney are using short films to explore (and promote) their fictional universes/franchises.

The rise in short film can easily be seen on a smaller scale and closer to home, too, where video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo make creating and sharing short film easy and inexpensive. Recently, the Fargo Film Festival held another highly popular two-minute movie contest, and Plains Art Museum is hosting an exhibition of the One-Minute Film Festival, a popular event that eventually made the leap to the MassMoCA in Boston. In addition, the museum is hosting its own one-minute film contest, “Fargo in 60 Seconds.” Short film, it would appear, is having a moment.

To get some reaction to this growth of short film, we looked to two participants in the “Fargo in 60 Seconds” contest: Fergus Falls-based filmmaker and artist Deb Wallwork and Los Angeles-based filmmaker Rita Baghdadi.

What do you find appealing about the short film format?

Wallwork: Short films are fun. You can convey a lot of information in bite-sized portions. If a picture is worth 1000 words, a short film must be worth 10,000 words. The best short films are like poems, they use metaphor and more impressionistic sketches to operate on several levels. A short film keeps you on your toes because you’ve got to convey a lot in a small space. I’m best known for hour-long programs, and once when I was recommended for an assignment, the argument was made that I didn’t have the right instincts. In fact, if you can know how to make a good longer film, you can figure out how to fit it into whatever time box you have to work with. And the converse is also true. Starting out making a short film will give you a lot of the tools to work in a longer format.

Baghdadi: What I like about the short format is that it doesn’t leave room for unnecessary details. You have to get right to the point. As a storyteller, this is an appealing challenge. Shorts are also a great way to explore an idea or character before committing to an expensive feature. It’s not as daunting to embark on a short project. I make documentaries and it often takes years to finish one feature whereas I’ve shot short docs in just five days. Of course it depends on the subject, but short films can be just as effective as features.

What advantages do online platforms (like YouTube and Vimeo) give you as a short filmmaker?

Baghdadi: Views and likes are currency these days. Online platforms like YouTube and Vimeo level the playing field by giving short filmmakers a chance to get eyeballs on their project. It’s also a great way to make a name for yourself if you’re just starting out.

Wallwork: New media are wonderful for reaching the circles of people that are your friends or the friends of your friends, and sometimes beyond. Not everyone can make a screening, and the online venues bring the screenings to you. On the other hand, it’s like a thrift shop. You’ve really got to hunt to find the gems.

As an audience member, what do you like about short films?

Baghdadi: I like watching short films for the same reason I like making them. If done well, they’re succinct and compelling in the most necessary of ways. It’s amazing how three minutes can feel too long for one story while 45 minutes just isn’t enough for another. I like the uniqueness of each short. They might not follow a three-act structure like a lot of features do so the outcome is often unexpected.

Wallwork: Short films satisfy our modern short attention spans. It’s like the weather here on the Plains, if you don’t like it, just wait ten minutes and it’ll be different. With all the new platforms, phones, computers, social media, short films are hot, because they fit the gaps in our day, the coffee breaks, waiting for a bus, all the in-between moments.

What advice would you give someone who is intrigued with making short films?

Wallwork: I would say to an aspiring filmmaker that it’s best to get your elevator speech in your head, know what your core story is before you shoot. Otherwise you end up wading through tons of footage and hard decisions that don’t contribute to the process. If the subject is really broad, take one angle and explore that. A short film takes almost as much material as a longer film, you just have fiercer about how you cut it. In “Waterlilies,” I wanted to make a film that captured the joy and freedom of swimming in a body of water that is wild, that is real. Unlike a longer film, I didn’t try to explicate what had actually motivated me to make the film, the fact that I see fewer and fewer people going into the water; that we put screens and motorized vehicles and the fear of being exposed in a bathing suit between us and what is a such a tremendous source of wonder and pleasure. The short film doesn’t need to say all that, it just gives you the experience, and lets that speak.

Baghdadi: My advice is to get your hands dirty! Go out and make something. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. In fact, I encourage you to break all the rules! To quote Salvador Dali, “have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

Image: a screen grab from “Waterlilies,” a short film by Deb Wallwork; click the link to view.

Video embed: Endless Eye | Documentary Reel 2013 from Rita Baghdadi on Vimeo.

– See more at:

Filmmaker/artist Jason Simon to talk at Plains Art Museum on March 7

February 14th, 2014 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around the Museum, Around Town, Contests, Exhibitions | Comments Off on Filmmaker/artist Jason Simon to talk at Plains Art Museum on March 7

Plains Art Museum and the Fargo Film Festival are co-hosting a reception on March 7 for Jason Simon, the founder of The One Minute Film Festival: 2003-2012, currently on exhibition at the museum. The show features hundreds of one-minute films created by more than 300 artists whose video vignettes range from the meditative and poignant to the startling surreal and outright funny.

New York-based artist Simon curated the exhibition, which appeared at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) prior to opening at the Plains.

Museum Reception/Fargo Film Festival Pre-Party

Friday, March 7, 5 – 7 p.m.
6 p.m. – Brief remarks by Jason Simon
Hors d’oeuvres by Mosaic Foods and cash bar
Complimentary copies of the MASS MoCA show catalog, while supplies last
Free for museum members and Fargo Film Festival pass holders, $10 nonmembers, $5 students

Simon is a media artist and assistant professor of Cinema at City University of New York. He creates films, videos, installations, photographs, and sound sculptures that focus on the intersection of consumption and culture.

The One Minute Film Festival is on display at the museum through May 24. The exhibition and related programs are sponsored by The Forum. Plains Art Museum is located at 704 First Avenue North in downtown Fargo.

Fargo in 60 Seconds: Open call for films through March 17
To expand on the creative vision of The One Minute Film Festival, Plains Art Museum invites submissions from filmmakers to submit their best one-minute films and video creations. There is no fee to enter, and contributors may submit up to two movies. The entry deadline is March 17, and the submissions will be showcased at the museum in a continuously looped screening titled Fargo in 60 Seconds from March 24 to May 24.

The Museum will also host a Teen Filmmakers Awards Night on April 10 for a special screening of films submitted by filmmakers ages 14 to 18. Cash prizes will be awarded for 1st Place – $100, 2nd Place – $75 and 3rd Place – $50. Filmmakers ages 19 and above will be eligible for a drawing for two tickets to the museum’s 2014 Spring Gala: Optical Illusions on May 3. For more details and entry guidelines, visit


Meet the Curator: Now on January 23!

January 2nd, 2014 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around the Museum, Around Town, Museum People, Special Events | Comments Off on Meet the Curator: Now on January 23!

becky4Join us for a fun, informal gathering with Becky Dunham, curator at Plains Art Museum, and learn about her outreach with area artists, her thoughts on future exhibits, and how her professional road led her 1,300 miles straight north to Fargo-Moorhead from her prior curatorial role at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Meet the Curator
Thursday, January 23, 5:30 to 7:00 PM
Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar
FREE and open to the public

Join our Facebook event for Meet the Curator

Prior to joining Plains Art Museum in October 2013, Becky was on the Houston museum’s curatorial team for five years. She pursued Ph.D. studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia, earned her master’s degree in art history from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and worked at the museums associated with both universities. She received her bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to her curatorial experience, she was an adjunct professor of art at Houston Community College.

Plains Art Museum is located at 704 First Avenue North in Fargo. To learn more about upcoming exhibitions, events, and art classes, visit

From the Curator: An Unveiling at the NDSU Ceramics Department

November 8th, 2013 by Becky Dunham Posted in Around Town, Artists, Exhibitions | Comments Off on From the Curator: An Unveiling at the NDSU Ceramics Department

NDSU KilnHello from your new Curator at Plains Art Museum! Earlier this week, a few of the Museum staff and I accepted the invitation of David Swenson, NDSU Associate Professor of Ceramics and Sculpture, and Daniel Siverson, NDSU Studio Technician, to watch them unload freshly fired ceramic wares from the Art Department’s massive wood-fire kiln.

As an amateur ceramist, I readily welcomed this opportunity. And what an experience it was! Despite the encroaching wintry weather, it was a perfect sunny day to see David and Daniel carefully remove and inspect all of the objects, with assistance from an undergraduate ceramic student and members of the newly-launched post-baccalaureate ceramics program. It was especially memorable as one of the works unloaded was a large pot by Daniel that will be featured in the Museum’s upcoming exhibition Red River Reciprocity: Contemporary Ceramics in Minnesota and North Dakota (Feb. 8 – May 11, 2014).

This exhibition is part of the Museum’s new initiative to promote the education of and collecting and exhibiting of ceramics. We are partnering with Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis to showcase the amazing work local artists are making in ceramics, a medium that has a long, rich history in the region. With this exhibition, along with our ceramics facilities in the Center for Creativity and continued collecting of ceramic objects, the Museum is poised to become to a leader in the field.

Thank you to NDSU for including us in your unloading—we look forward to partnering with you and the other local schools on future projects!

Photo: Daniel Siverson, top, carefully removes a large pot he created from NDSU’s wood-fired kiln with help from Michael Weiss, left, and David Swenson, right. The pot will be featured in a contemporary ceramics exhibition at Plains Art Museum, opening Feb. 8, 2014.

Welcome to Curator Becky Dunham

November 5th, 2013 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around the Museum, Around Town, Museum People, News | Comments Off on Welcome to Curator Becky Dunham

Becky DunhamWe are pleased to announce an exciting addition to our Museum team with the appointment of Curator Becky Dunham. In this leadership role, she will organize museum exhibitions, direct the development of the Museum’s permanent collection, and serve as a key liaison to artists, scholars, and other museum professionals regionally and nationally. “Becky brings extensive experience in organizing exhibitions that are solidly grounded while also appealing to the public, and she excels at working with a permanent collection,” says Museum Director and CEO Colleen Sheehy. “She is excited to join our community engagement work, too, and is already getting to know many artists in Fargo-Moorhead.”

Prior to joining the Museum in early October, she was on the curatorial team for five years at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, working in the departments for Prints and Drawings, and for Modern and Contemporary Art. She has also worked at the Museum of Art and Archaeology in Columbia, Mo., and interned at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Fla.

Becky pursued Ph.D. studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia and earned her master’s degree in art history from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and her bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to her curatorial experience, she was an adjunct professor of art at Houston Community College and also taught courses at the University of Missouri and the University of Florida.

“I am honored to be joining the talented and enthusiastic team at Plains Art Museum, and I’m excited to explore and become an active member of the Fargo-Moorhead arts community,” Becky said.  As a works on paper specialist, she admires the Museum’s history and commitment to collecting and displaying prints, photographs, and drawings as well as works in all media. “I hope to contribute to this and cultivate the innovative spirit of the region by programming stimulating exhibitions reflecting a wide variety of contemporary art practices,” she said.

“The Museum’s state-of-the-art educational and studio facilities will also be a daily inspiration as I collaborate with PAM staff to engage the public and foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of the visual arts.  With such exceptional universities in the F-M area, I look forward to working closely with professors and art students both inside and outside of the Museum.”

A “Meet the Curator” reception will be held in mid-January.

Bestselling Author Sena Jeter Naslund to visit Oct. 17-19

October 1st, 2013 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around the Museum, Around Town, News, Special Events | Comments Off on Bestselling Author Sena Jeter Naslund to visit Oct. 17-19

SenaflyerFINSena Jeter Naslund, bestselling author of Ahab’s Wife and other novels, will appear in Fargo on Oct. 17-19 for an author’s visit hosted by Plains Art Museum and North Dakota State University (NDSU). A reception is set for 5:30 p.m., Oct. 17, at Plains Art Museum, followed by a reading at NDSU Barry Hall at 7 p.m. Zandbroz will also hold a book signing at on Oct. 18.

Jeter Naslund’s acclaimed 1999 novel Ahab’s Wife inspired artist T. L. Solien in Toward the Setting Sun, a collection of his newest works currently on exhibit at the museum. A prominent surrealist who grew up in Fargo-Moorhead, Solien also created mixed media pieces and paintings based on the classic novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

Both novels are the focus of the “3.2.1 Project: Three Communities, Two Books, One Art Exhibit,” a collaboration by the public libraries in Fargo, West Fargo, and Moorhead along with the museum and NDSU to encourage people throughout the region to the read the books and participate in related events.

“Sena Jeter Naslund takes a female character only mentioned twice in Moby-Dick and builds a tale of epic proportions about a woman whose passionate engagement with the world matches her husband’s, but with less disastrous consequences,” said Colleen Sheehy, museum director and CEO. “This fictional character was so captivating that T.L. Solien made Ahab’s wife the centerpiece of his new body of work.”

A “Writing Workshop for Teachers” on Oct. 19 at the museum will feature Jeter Naslund as a speaker. Kelly Sassi, NDSU assistant professor of English and Education, is coordinating the workshop, as well as the Red River Valley Writing Project’s National Day on Writing on Oct. 20, which follows the author’s visit. “Both these writing events use literature and visual art as starting points for inspiring original written works,” Sassi said. “We are excited and honored to have an author of Sena’s stature lead the workshop and share insights on her craft.”

The visit is supported in part through a grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council. All events are free and open to the public; the writing workshop for teachers requires registration. The events include:

Thursday, Oct. 17
5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Author’s Reception at Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave. N., Fargo
7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Author’s Reading at NDSU Barry Hall, 811 2nd Ave. N., Fargo

Friday, Oct. 18
5:00 – 6:30 p.m., Book signing at Zandbroz, 420 Broadway, Fargo

Saturday, Oct. 19
9:00 a.m. – Noon, Writing Workshop for Teachers, Plains Art Museum
Registration required, contact Kelly Sassi at

Sunday, Oct. 20
2:00 – 4:00 p.m., National Day on Writing, Plains Art Museum

About the author
New York Times bestselling author Sena Jeter Naslund has written several novels, including Abundance, A Novel of Marie Antoinette. Her newest novel, The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman, was released in September by Harper Collins. A native of Birmingham, Ala., she is a winner of the Harper Lee Award; and her bio includes Distinguished Teaching Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of Louisville; director of the Spalding University brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program; former poet laureate of Kentucky; and editor of The Louisville Review and the Fleur-de-Lis Press.

Curator Elizabeth Armstrong to speak on Andy Warhol

April 8th, 2013 by Nicole Posted in Around Town, Education, Exhibitions, News, Press Releases, Special Events, students | Comments Off on Curator Elizabeth Armstrong to speak on Andy Warhol

Elizabeth Armstrong, Curator of Contemporary Art / Director of the Center for Alternative Museum Practice (CAMP) at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) will discuss “Warhol’s Icons: The Artist’s Search for Reality” on Thursday, April 11 from 7 – 9 PM at MSUM King Hall, Room 110.

For Andy Warhol, wandering the aisles of a supermarket was a voyage in reality far more exciting than looking at contemporary art. Today, as viewers of “The Colbert Report” know, we are living in an age of “truthiness,” in which the relationship between reality and fiction has never been murkier. When did we begin to notice that replicas or artifacts of things were more exciting than the actual things they represented? How did it happen that more people now tune in to fake news shows to get their real news?

Curator Elizabeth Armstrong will explore our shifting experience and understanding of reality through the brilliant artifice of Andy Warhol and the lens of international artists working today. Drawing from her MIA exhibition More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness, Armstrong will explore notions of simulation, truthiness, deception, play, and how artists (and she includes Stephen Colbert in this category), help us navigate the growing slippage in our culture between reality and make believe. This project is supported in part by the MSUM Department of Art & Design Colloquium Lecture Series.

WHO: Elizabeth Armstrong, Curator of Contemporary Art / Director of CAMP at MIA

WHAT: “Warhol’s Icons: The Artist’s Search for Reality”

WHEN: Thursday, April 11 from 7 – 9 PM

WHERE: MSUM King Hall, Room 110

COST: Free and open to the public

Unglued Craft Fest is this weekend

February 20th, 2013 by Nicole Posted in Around the Museum, Around Town, News, Special Events | Comments Off on Unglued Craft Fest is this weekend

Unglued Craft Fest

Plains Art Museum is anticipating a very busy weekend as we are hosting the third annual Unglued Craft Fest. On Saturday, February 23, from 9 AM to 5 PM, come join us for a variety of fun for {FREE}! There will be over 60 crafters and artists with their craft and work for sale. Shop for unique goods, enjoy live music, grab lunch at the café, and check out the Andy Warhol exhibit!

Interested in more Unglued fun? On Friday night, from 5 – 8 PM, we will be hosting the Unglued Craft Fest Gala night! Tickets are $8 presale and $10 at the door, which includes admission, one free drink ticket, appetizers, and live jazz. Also, guests are able to shop in a more relaxed environment of all of the craft fest vendors!

Click here to purchase tickets for the Unglued Craft Fest Gala:

Hope to see you there!

Written by Savanna, Plains Art Museum Communications Intern

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