Northern Plains Summer Art Institute 2023

Applications are closed.

The Northern Plains Summer Art Institute is taking applications for its second annual intensive summer art program through May 1, 2023. The institute will be held June 18-30, 2023.

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.

The Northern Plains is home to many Northern Plains and Woodland nations across the Midwest, and out of many of these Nations some of the most prolific artists have emerged. From Oscar Howe (Yanktonai Dakota), Robert Penn (Omaha), and Fritz Scholder (Luiseño) a long tradition of world class artists have had their roots from right here in the Midwest. The NPSAI looks to foster this tradition, from artist/educators an education that will support and strengthen the next generation of young artists.

Joe Williams, Director of Community Education & Director of Native American Programs
701.551.6139 •


Eligible candidates for NPSAI are Native American high school entering the 10th-12th grade in the fall of 2023 and currently enrolled college-aged students who are dedicated to pursuing the visual arts, and are interested in their Native American culture. Students will be selected based on a submitted portfolio of their artwork, one letter of reference, and a signed guardian permission form. Applications are due by May 1, 2023.

Submission Instructions

  • Applicants can fill out the online form below.
  • It is recommended that a student include 8-12 pieces of work for their portfolio. The portfolio can be uploaded in the online form or include a link to where the portfolio can be viewed.
  • One (1) reference letter from a teacher or individual on why a student should be considered for the institute.
  • Completed (signed) Guardian Permission Form. Download here.

Reference Letters and Guardian Permission Form can be emailed or mailed to Joseph Williams at, or: C/O: NPSAI, Joseph Williams, Plains Art Museum 704 1st Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58102

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students have a right to reside and learn in a safe environment and obtain an education as described by the NPSAI. Students are expected to attend all classroom instructions and participate in scheduled events.

Students will begin each day with a fundamental drawing course and a history lesson on Native American Art. Different courses will be explored during the two-week experience, as well as a day trip to Plains Art Museum and the community of Fargo, North Dakota. Students will participate in a group mural project on the campus of Circle of Nations School in Wahpeton, North Dakota, and on the final day a closing art reception at Plains Art Museum in honor of the student’s work. This event will be open to families and to the public.

Students will have time to work on their own assignments and art, and will have selected works exhibited in the Starion Bank Gallery at the Katherine Kilbourne Center for Creativity in the Plains Art Museum.

Students can bring their own mobile phones with them to the institute as landlines will not be available during summer sessions. Student’s family and legal guardians are also required to provide their own transportation to and from the Northern Plains Summer Art Institute.

Room and Boarding

NPSAI students will be hosted at Circle of Nations School in Wahpeton, North Dakota. At Circle of Nations School, students will stay in Keeble Dormitory, a modern and secure dormitory where students will share a dorm room with a roommate and have access to a large open television lounge. All meals will be provided to the students through the Circle of Nations School dining facility. All meals will be provided for students at the Institute, but if a student wishes to bring their own snacks they are free to do so. Students are expected to bring their own bedding, (bed sheets, blankets, pillows, etc.)

Sponsor and Statement

The 2022 Northern Plains Summer Art Institute is sponsored by Windrose Fund and is a program of Plains Art Museum of Fargo, North Dakota. The Creativity Among Native American Artists Initiative (CANAA) at Plains Art Museum will cover all costs of tuition, supplies, meals, and boarding. The NPSAI will be hosted by Circle of Nations School where the majority of classroom instruction will take place. Please note that Circle of Nations School is a smoke and drug-free campus. Any students who violate Circle of Nations School alcohol and drug policy will be terminated from the program and removed from campus. Additional programming will take place at Plains Art Museum which will require a commute to and from Fargo. Transportation will be provided through the NPSAI program. Family members and friends are discouraged from uncoordinated visits with students without prior arrangements with NPSAI and Circle of Nations School. Circle of Nations School is a closed campus and all visitors must check in with the administration beforehand.

Plains Art Museum is the largest and only accredited art museum in North Dakota, reflecting our “demonstration of the highest professional standards for education, public service and collections stewardship, and a commitment to continued institutional improvement.” Less than 7% of American museums have the distinction of being accredited.

Circle of Nations School is an inter-tribal off-reservation boarding school, chartered under the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate and funded by the Bureau of Indian Education. Circle of Nations School serves American Indian youth in grades 4 through 8.

Support for the Northern Plains Summer Art Institute is provided by Windrose Fund.