Plains Art Museum Blog

Theatre B and Plains Art Museum to present ‘The Oil Project’

July 23rd, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Special Events | Comments Off on Theatre B and Plains Art Museum to present ‘The Oil Project’

Theatre B and Plains Art Museum are collaborating on a new theatre experience to close the Museum’s Bakken Boom! exhibition. Devised by Theatre B Ensemble Members and Guest Artists, ‘The Oil Project’ chronicles the people and the pumpjacks of the Bakken oil fields.

The production runs Thursday and Friday, August 13 and 14, at noon and 7:00 p.m. both days at Plains Art Museum, located at 704 1st Avenue North in Fargo. Admission is free and open to the public, and audience members are invited to visit the Bakken Boom! galleries directly before or after the performances.

Theatre B’s first devised play, ‘The Oil Project’ is conceived and created by a company of artists who have spent the summer researching, generating, and developing the 45 minute performance.

“It is an incredible rush to create a piece of theatre from scratch,” says Theatre B Program Coordinator Brad Delzer. “Devising a play is a new experience for us. It’s a daunting idea, to expect a performance to be created from a company working and creating for several months. But that’s just what’s happening. The artists have spent countless hours exploring what the boom means to those who live and work there through research, movement, music, and relationships. And from that work, a pretty compelling piece is emerging.”

Part character exploration, part art installation, tied together by sights and sounds that recall the oil rush in Western North Dakota, ‘The Oil Project’ follows several characters across the early years of the boom, through the transformation of the countryside and towns, and up to now, where the possibility of an oil bust looms.

“We are excited to partner with Theatre B and conclude the successful run of Bakken Boom! with a performance piece that enhances the exhibition artworks, many of which provided direct inspiration for the troupe,” said Plains Art Museum Curator Becky Dunham. “Visitors will have a unique immersive experience in ‘The Oil Project.’ You can walk around and view the actors in character at site-specific sets designed and installed for the show.” Bakken Boom! is open through August 15.

Devising Ensemble:
Cole Bartles
Matthew Collie
Brad Delzer*
Matthew Dryburgh
Colin Holter
Mia Miller
Jay Nelson
Chelsea Pace
Pam Strait*
Stage Manager: Blaine Edwards*
Production Manager: Shea Hittman*

* denotes Theatre B Ensemble Member

Call for Entries! Museum Seeks Community Collections from North of Normal

June 23rd, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around Town, Exhibitions | Comments Off on Call for Entries! Museum Seeks Community Collections from North of Normal

Are you driven by a passion to find just the right item to add to your collection? Then Plains Art Museum wants to hear from you! Community members are invited to share the wonderful, weird, or wacky treasures that define their personal tastes as collectors in a new show: Community Collections from North of Normal, which will be on view from Oct. 23, 2015 to Feb. 6, 2016. 

About the Exhibition
“Inspired by our upcoming 40th anniversary and role as a collecting institution, Plains Art Museum will showcase unusual and interesting collections from the area,” said Curator Becky Dunham. “This celebration of the art of collecting will focus on non-art items such as tools, household goods, sporting equipment, jewelry, toys, music, books, nature (insects, rocks) and so on—basically anything individuals find collectible, from everyday things to the outright eccentric.” The title of the exhibition is inspired by the new brand slogan ‘North of Normal,’ unveiled earlier this year by the Fargo Moorhead Convention and  Visitors Bureau.

Submission Guidelines – Entries due July 31, 2015
To submit a collection for consideration, please send a completed Community Collections Submission Form and up to three digital images according to the instructions at Submissions are due July 31, 2015, and notification of acceptance will be sent by Sept. 14. Collectors must be able to deliver their collections to the Museum between Oct. 12 and 16. For more information, visit

Summer events and programs

June 16th, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around the Museum, Special Events | Comments Off on Summer events and programs

Here’s a look ahead at upcoming events and programs for July and August 2015:

Julie Buffalohead Reception and Creative Voices Artist Talk
Thursday, July 9, 6:30-8 p.m., talk at 7 p.m.

The Creative Voices talk offered at 7 p.m. is a conversation between Julie Buffalohead and Christina Chang, organizer of the Coyote Dreams exhibition and Curator of Engagement at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul. Reception and talk are free and open to the public.

Supported by funding from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

Narrative Vocabulary Workshop with Julie Buffalohead
Friday, July 10, 10 a.m.-Noon

Julie Buffalohead will lead this session for building visual vocabulary and generating characters in art that help tell a story or craft a narrative. Bring a sketchbook and drawing materials. Free for Native artists, $25 for other artists. Register at

Supported by funding from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

Summer Ceramics Sale & Art Fair
Thursday, July 16, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Find unique ceramic works by multiple professional and emerging area artists, including studio members and instructors at the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity. Plus, discover offerings by artists who work in other media, from painting to printmaking and more. Additional afternoon activities from 1 to 5 p.m. include a kid-friendly Pollinator Party: meet Buzz Lab interns, take tours, and create a work of art inspired by the Museum’s Pollinator Garden, plus Pie Project Fargo will provide pie (while supplies last). Free and open to the public.

FMVA Visual Talk with Tim Lamey
Thursday, July 23, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

A 2014 change to the drilling permit review process in western North Dakota requires additional review and public comment for a number of areas of extraordinary interest. Hear from artist Tim Lamey about his ongoing photography project to capture the unique qualities of the areas of extraordinary interest and contrast them with surrounding oil development. Sponsored by Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists; free and open to the public.

The Oil Project presented by Theatre B and Plains Art Museum
Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 14, Noon and 7 p.m. both days

Leading up to the closing of the Bakken Boom exhibition on August 15, The Oil Project is an original hour-long theater performance about the changes happening in western North Dakota. Theatre B performers will use interviews, published reports, stories and music to create this collaborative work, premiering at the Museum. Free and open to the public.

Creative Voices Artist Talk with Denise Lajimodiere
Thursday, August 20, 6:30–7:30 p.m.

Artist Denise Lajimodiere will talk about the lost art of birch bark biting, a nearly extinct centuries-old practice that was once common among Native American artisans. Free and open to the public.

Supported by funding from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

Plains Art Museum CEO accepts arts leadership role in Twin Cities

June 11th, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Museum People, News | Comments Off on Plains Art Museum CEO accepts arts leadership role in Twin Cities

ColleenThe bad news: Colleen is leaving us for the big city. The good news: She’s giving us lots of lead time, up to October. She’s done amazing things for Plains Art Museum, and we are grateful. Definitely a “glad for her/sad for us” kind of day. Here’s the official story:

Plains Art Museum Director/CEO Colleen Sheehy has accepted the role of president/executive director of Public Art Saint Paul, an arts organization that guides public art projects and programs in Minnesota’s capital city.

The appointment starts July 1 and will initially be part-time until early October, allowing Sheehy to complete projects and lead through this transition period at the Museum. Following Sheehy’s departure in October, Museum CFO Mark Henze will assume the duties of interim CEO until a new leader is on board. Sheehy started with Plains Art Museum in 2008, and previously was the education director at the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

“I care deeply about Plains Art Museum and the Fargo-Moorhead community.  It’s been a wonderful journey for seven years, working with our board, staff, donors and supporters, artists, and other area organizations,” Sheehy said. “Over the next few months, I’ll be preparing for the Museum’s upcoming 40th anniversary in October, opening a major show of Picasso ceramics.”

Under Sheehy’s leadership, the Museum completed a major capital campaign, installed a newly commissioned mural by famed pop artist James Rosenquist, and opened the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity in 2012, a 25,500-square-foot addition. The Museum was recently named 2015 Not-for-Profit of the Year by the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.

“Colleen has been a stellar CEO for the Museum and we’re going to miss her greatly,” said Carol Rogne, Museum board chair. “Plains Art Museum has gained so much under her leadership, from expanded facilities and programs, to major foundation grants and heightened recognition as a progressive arts organization. We wish her the best in her new role.”

Heritage Garden project welcomes volunteers for June 5 and 6

June 3rd, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around Town, Special Events | Comments Off on Heritage Garden project welcomes volunteers for June 5 and 6

In an effort to beat the rain forecast, organizers for the Heritage Garden, a new public garden in Woodlawn Park, have changed the timing for primary planting of the site to Friday, June 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Placement of pre-donated plants from community members will be done on Saturday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers interested in helping to plant at the garden are asked to bring their own trowels, gloves and shovels. For details, email, or call Su Legatt at 218-329-4950. The site is located at the east edge of the park at 400 Woodlawn Drive in south Moorhead.

The garden is designed by artists Su Legatt, Rob Fischer, and Kevin Johnson, who are working closely with Plains Art Museum, the City of Moorhead, Moorhead Public Service, and community volunteers.

Fr more information:

Internet: or

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 City of Moorhead and Moorhead Public Service.

Art on the Plains XII Call for Entries

May 18th, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Artists | Comments Off on Art on the Plains XII Call for Entries

Art on the Plains XIIPlains Art Museum invites emerging and established visual artists living in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, and the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, to submit works for Art on the Plains XII, a juried exhibition of contemporary art.

Submission guidelines are available at Art on the Plains XII. Entries are due June 15, 2015, and the selection process will be done through a blind review. Art on the Plains XII will open February 2016.

Sculptor Aaron Spangler will serve as juror and select works for the show, as well as award cash prizes and honorable mentions. Based near Park Rapids, Minn., Spangler’s work is included in many notable collections, including those of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Saatchi Gallery in London, and Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Artist in Residence Cannupa Hanska Luger

May 13th, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Artists, News | Comments Off on Artist in Residence Cannupa Hanska Luger
Ocarenas by Cannupa Hanska Luger

Ocarenas by Cannupa Hanska Luger

Visual artist and ceramist Cannupa Hanska Luger of Santa Fe, N.M., will lead two week-long workshops at Plains Art Museum from May 26 to June 5 as artist in residence.

The workshops are Ceramics Master Class from May 26-30, and Clay Instruments from June 1 -5. Details and registration for the courses are at

Luger will also give a Creative Voices artist’s talk on Tuesday, May 26, from noon to 1 p.m., which is free and open to the public.

Luger received his BFA in studio ceramics from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2011, graduating with honors. He has shown at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and at Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, where he is represented, and he’s currently creating socially conscious work balanced with a high standard of craftsmanship. His work is in several public collections and has been included in international exhibitions. Originally from North Dakota, he was born in Fort Yates, N.D. on the Standing Rock Reservation and has Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian and Norwegian heritage.

The artist in residence program is supported by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, providing funding for the Museum’s Creativity among Native American Artists Initiative.

Creative Voices Artist’s Talk with Cannupa Hanska Luger
Tuesday, May 26, Noon – 1 p.m.
Free and open to the public

Artist in Residence Workshop: Ceramics Master Class
Tuesday – Saturday, May 26 – 30, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Artist in Residence Workshop: Clay Instruments
Monday – Friday, June 1 – 5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Each workshop is $170 for Museum members, $200 for non-members; Native artists free through funding provided from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

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 Saturday, June 6. Volunteers are also needed for the site on Friday, June 5.

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: Friday, June 5, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Saturday, June 6, 10 a.m. – 3 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.

Go-To Guide for the Gala!

April 30th, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around the Museum, Special Events | Comments Off on Go-To Guide for the Gala!

Gala collageCarnaval: Saturday, May 2


  • Shimmy to the Samba and other popular dance sets by the Carluster Crumplebee Brazilian Orchestra, featuring percussionist Kenyon Williams and other special musical guests.
  • Mix with costumed performers and marvel at displays of daring aerialists, staged by Ryan Domres of Experience BLUR.
  • Feast on sumptuous Brazilian-flavored fare by Mosaic Foods and delicious desserts by Nichole’s Fine Pastry.
  • Sample wine and beer tastings until 9 p.m. by Happy Harry’s.
  • Mixology served up all evening by Sidestreet Grill & Pub, including Brazil’s national cocktail, the Carnaval Caipirinha (available at the Art Auction Bar).
  • Enhance your look with a sophisticated and stylish accent by Pikadilly Face Painting.
  • Pose at the Carnaval backdrop and get a souvenir photo at the Carnaval photo booth. We’re posting images from the evening with #CarnavalFargo.


  • Carnaval is a mix of masquerade, Halloween, and Mardi Gras all rolled up into one great night!
  • Put on a persona, come in costume, fit into your feathery finest, or wear whatever you want.
  • It’s worth it to add some zing to your attire–our Gala co-chairs Cris Linnares, Bill Marcil, Jr., Kathryn Helgaas, and Doug Burgum will give out special prizes for best costumes.
  • Looking for inspiration? Check out Applause Costumes and Dancewear, Gompf’s, or Party City for costume accessories.
  • Feel free to be colorful, creative and—most of all—have fun!


  • Check out the 80+ artworks available at the silent art auction!
  • When you buy your ticket online, you’re automatically registered to bid/donate. You can spend your time dancing instead of registering!
  • Bring your smart phone to the Gala so you’ll be ready to bid. Don’t have a smart phone? No worries! We will have iPads for you to use.
  • Once you check in, you’ll get a text with a link to the silent auction and you can immediately start bidding.
  • The first 50 bidders get a free cocktail, the Brazilian Caipirinha! (You bid, tell our staff in the
  • Art Auction – Starion Gallery and they’ll treat you to a free drink available ONLY at the bar in that gallery.)
  • Winning bidders will also receive a limited edition print commemorating Carnaval.
  • Didn’t win your bid, but still want an original piece of art to take home? Donate $100 or more from your smart phone and get a limited edition print by artist Amanda Heidt (while supplies last) before you leave.


  • Order your tickets at
  • Members get a discount! The cost for members is $100, nonmembers $125. Sign up for membership at to get the discount code (and much more)!
  • All proceeds from the Gala go to Museum education programs. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and we appreciate your support! Half the ticket price is tax deductible.
  • NO printed tickets this year. When you order online, you are automatically on “the list.” Give us your name at the door and we’ll nod you in. You can also buy at the door, but advance purchase is preferred to help everything move along a bit quicker.
  • Arriving later? The late night cover charge for the Gala is $30 after 10 p.m., payable at the door.
  • Questions? Call 701.551.6100 or email

Get ready to shine this Saturday—see you at the Spring Gala!


Presenting Sponsor: Border States Electric

Diamond Sponsors: WDAY

Platinum Sponsors: The Barry Foundation, Bell State Bank & Trust, Bobcat Company/Doosan Infracore Construction, H2M, Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops, High Plains Reader, Kilbourne Group, Reading Digital, R. D. Offutt Company/RDO Equipment Co.

Gold Sponsors: Dawson Insurance, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Fredrikson & Byron, Brian Hayer,  Milestones Photography, Mosaic Foods, Nichole’s Fine Pastry

Silver Sponsors: Bremer Bank,  Enventis, Fargo Jet Center, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Flint Communications, Home Instead Senior Care, Land Elements, Minnesota Public Radio, Otter Tail Corporation, Prairie Public Broadcasting, Radisson Hotel Fargo, TMI Hospitality, The Village Family Magazine, Warner and Company

Bronze Sponsors: AE2S, Alerus Financial, The Blue Goose Cafe, Catalyst Medical Center and Clinical Spa, Cornerstone Bank, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, ecce art + yoga,  Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Flowers by Ranee, Indigo Signworks, McCulley Optix, Moore Engineering, Nilles Law Firm, Park Company Realtors, John Q. Paulsen, Santa Magic, Spotlight Media, US Bank

Top 5 Reasons to attend the Plains Art Museum’s Spring Gala

April 28th, 2015 by Amy Richardson Posted in Around the Museum, Special Events | Comments Off on Top 5 Reasons to attend the Plains Art Museum’s Spring Gala

by Diane Miller, High Plains Reader

Graphic by Alexis Dietz

Graphic for High Plains Reader by Alexis Dietz

Brazilian Carnaval meets the Plains Art Museum this May 2 for its biggest fundraiser event of the year. Here are HPR’s top 5 reasons to attend what we consider to be the best party of the year:


The 11-piece Carluster Crumplebee Brazilian Orchestra will feature some of the finest local musicians, including guitarist/band leader Tom Johnson and professional auxiliary percussionist Kenyon Williams.

Attendees will be invited to salsa, cha-cha, tango, merengue or just let loose to hours of music that will, according to Johnson, “make you want to get up and move whether you’re familiar with the music or not.”

“With the arrangements I’m writing, I am trying to encompass the long tradition of Carnaval music,” he says. “So some of the arrangements sound like Carnaval music from the ‘60s to the present, which includes playing their music in a traditional style all the way to playing American popular music in the style of a Brazilian Carnaval band and everything in between.”


The Spring Gala features an art auction that includes pieces by more than 80 local and regional artists. In most cases, half the proceeds go to the artists and the other half goes toward the museum. So this is one of the most direct, feel-good ways people can support local art.

This year, similar to last year, all the voting will be done electronically. Though unlike any other year, people will now be able to make bids on their smart phones. So potential buyers with smart phones can make bids anywhere in the museum and also be immediately notified when someone else has outbid them. There will also be tech staff mingling about the museum with iPads to help people with bidding. It’ll make enjoying the party, seeing all the sights and enjoying all the food a lot more relaxing.

The featured artwork on HPR’s cover as well as on all the promotional material is by Star Wallowing Bull, one of the region’s most celebrated artists.

“We commissioned him to make this painting to be the visual identity of the entire event,” says Becky Dunham, curator of the museum. “So all of our staging for the event is going to be based on his figure and the color and composition, and all of our promotion is based on it as well.”

Some of the featured local artists in this year’s gala include Walter Piehl, Jr., Sabrina Hornung, Gin Templeton, Ben Rheault, Carl Oltvedt, Dan Francis, Amber Parsons, Steve Knutson and Meg Spielman Peldo.

Not every piece of submitted artwork gets selected for the auction. Dunham says, for her, the selection process is the trickiest part of organizing the auction.

Art by Star Wallowing Bull / Cover design by Raul Gomez

Art by Star Wallowing Bull / HPR cover design by Raul Gomez

“You want to pick what you think is the strongest piece by artists, but sometimes artists will end up submitting things that look similar,” she says. “So then you have to go back to the drawing board and say, ‘What is different from these works that is still really strong?’ And then make sure you have an equal balance of different types of artwork … Paintings, print making, drawing, collage, lots of three dimensional stuff. So the selection process is actually really tricky.”

While in past years, some interested buyers left empty handed after getting outbid, this year, attendees can get a limited edition print by the museum’s print studio manager, Amanda Heidt, if they donate $100 or more to the museum.

Also new to the auction are art experiences. For the right price, gala-goers have the option of spending the night at the Plains Art, taking an art trip with Plains Art CEO Colleen Sheehy to the Twin Cities or taking a three-hour ceramics class.

“Having as eclectic of a mix as possible in here is my goal. So there’s a wide variety of different types of artworks. There’s a wide variety of sizes and a wide variety of price points, a wide variety of subject matter and styles too. So regardless of who the customer is, the attendee of the event, hopefully they will find something they like.”


Want to know what’s on the menu? Sara Watson, owner of Mosaic Foods, gave us the scoop on dinner:

Assorted pastel: hearts of palm, lemon grilled shrimp, garlic and cumin chicken
Bauru: (roast beef sandwich)
Salpicao: (chicken salad with shoestring potatoes)
Grilled beef sirloin skewers with chimichurri
Romeo and Julieta: (fresh mozzarella with guava paste)
Whole poached salmon
Pao de queijo (cheese dinner rolls)
Bison meatballs with creamy vermouth sauce
Vegetable spring rolls with peanut sauce
Candied bacon crab cakes with caper aioli
Fresh vegetable crudite with hummus and pesto
Tropical fruit platter
Antipasto platter
Air dried meats, cheeses, breads and crackers
Mushroom and boursin cheese crostinis

You’ll just have to attend to see what kind of colorful sweets Nichole’s Fine Pastry has lined up.

And yes, there will be plenty of wine, beer and spirits provided by Happy Harry’s and Sidestreet Grille & Pub.


Of course, the theme of Carnaval is dependent on bright colors and amusing visuals. That’s why the Spring Gala leadership hired theatrics expert Ryan Domres.

“A big thing this year is to really try to expand the event and make it more of a metropolitan type of feel so that it’s just a huge, huge spectacle,” Domres said.

There will be aerialists, including girls on silks and chandelier girls, and plenty of other costumed performers that will be guiding guests into different parts of the museum.

There will also be a number of installations made up of colorful fabrics, flagging tapes, industrial saran wrap and ribbon throughout the three floors of the museum.

“It’s finding spectacle, but it’s also finding the experiences within the spectacle so that it becomes more than just visual appeal. And I would say probably the first 30 minutes of the event will just be visual appeal, the ‘oohs’ and the ‘ahs,’” Domres said. “And once we get past that we’ll get more into the social hour and get more into the experiences of the evening, where it’s more one-on-one connections or group connections with the performers.”


Deciding on what to wear for this event? A lot of gala attendees come dressed to impress. To fit the theme, Domres especially suggests wearing bright colors. He also encourages women to sport a fun headdress.

Most importantly, wear something that’s comfortable for moving around and dancing, of course.

“Brazilian Carnaval is an event that allows everyone in the community to be what they would normally not be,” Domres says. “So it’s a moment for you to kind of step out of your normal box and to be something different … to embody a different part of yourself and really feel confident about it.”


Spring Gala: Carnaval!

Sat, May 2, 7 p.m. to midnight

Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave N, Fargo

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