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Native American Artists

Creating Community

Creativity Among Native American Artists is an initiative that focuses on three main areas of endeavor.

  • Integrating Native artists from Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin into the Museum’s ongoing activities, including exhibitions, artists programs, workshops, residencies, and professional development training.
  • Conducting outreach throughout the region to identify and connect with Native artists, ascertaining their needs, and developing a network to link them to the resources of the Museum.
  • Growing the understanding and appreciation of the artists’ work with broad audiences. Providing Native American artists greater opportunities to share their work with broader audiences, achieve more recognition, and further develop their careers and livelihoods.

Our Goals

CANAA will involve Native American artists in programs and exhibitions at Plains Art Museum and partner organizations. It will provide an artist-in-residence program each year. The artist will work with at least one apprentice as well as other students and will make use of studio spaces and supplies in our Center for Creativity. It will also offer at least two to three artists’ talks, demonstrations, and/or discussions each year.

Programs and exhibitions at partner sites will be at tribal colleges and art centers close to where Native artists and Native populations live, thereby making the work accessible without long driving distances.

The sites will be researched and cultivated, with the goal of creating two partnerships in the first year and four in the second and third years. The criteria will include their receptivity and readiness to engage with Plains Art Museum; their access to appropriate spaces for display of artwork; and their abilities to reach out to their audiences to engage them with the art and artists.


Native Americans of all ages reached through Native American organizations will see and learn about Native artists in Museum exhibitions and programs and at partner sites. Small and large exhibitions of both solo artists and group exhibitions at Plains Art Museum, periodic small exhibitions at partner sites, and public programs that feature Native artists as leaders and teachers will bring higher visibility to Native artists, their work, and their ideas.

Promoted to general and Native American audiences, these activities will increase knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of Native American art, values, worldviews, and histories among both audience groups.

A network of Native American artists is being developed to include them in the arts ecologies in our region. It will also increase artists’ awareness of each other, and will provide a means of communication for museums, curators, collectors, and galleries. Click here to download the Creativity among Native American Artists brochure.


Joe Williams, Director of Community Education & Director of Native American Programs
701.551.6139 • jwilliams@plainsart.org

Or “Like” our Facebook page, Native American Arts Community.

5 Plain Questions Podcast

5 Plain Questions is a podcast that poses 5 general questions to Indigenous artists, creators, musicians, writers, movers and shakers, and culture bearers. 5 Plain Questions is produced by Plains Art Museum and edited by Eleven Warrior Arts LLC.
> Click here to listen

Exhibitions, Programs, and Classes

Northern Plains Summer Art Institute

The Northern Plains Summer Art Institute is taking applications for its second annual intensive summer art program through May 1, 2021. The institute will be held June 13-25, 2021. Due to the evolving situation with COVID-19 a final decision will be made if the institute will be held on location or online by May 10, 2021.

The Northern Plains Summer Art Institute (NPSAI) is a two-week intensive art program for Native American high school and college students seeking an art education that mixes fundamentals in art and a connection to their cultural identity. Students will spend two weeks with their peers learning from active Native American professionals in multiple disciplines of the art world. As part of the Museum’s Creativity Among Native American Artists Initiative, the program is free for all who attend.