Welcome to Prairie Arts, North Dakota Council on the Arts' monthly electronic newsletter bringing statewide and national art-related news to you!


Updates - Kim Konikow

    Fall seems to be very busy with a variety of conferences that our staff has been attending. Locally, this includes the North Dakota Art Gallery Association (NDAGA), TEDx and the upcoming Disruptwell. At the Arts Midwest Annual Conference, we said a fond farewell to David Fraher, and welcomed Torrie Allen as the new President & CEO.
     We are headed to Providence Rhode Island for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in Providence, RI, and their Arts and Education Conference in Montana, as well as the Arts Education Partnership Convening in Washington, DC. We soak up new information, pick colleague’s brains, and return to share all we’ve learned with you.
     There will be an NDCA Board meeting in Grand Forks hosted by the Empire Arts Center early next month. A community reception will be held on Monday, October 7 at the North Dakota Museum of Art. If you are interested in attending, please email; we’d love to have you join us. (Details to follow.)
     Please clear your calendar for the Main Street Initiative Summit, October 29-30, in Bismarck. A main focus will be Arts & Culture in Our Communities, with NDCA leading two panels, a workshop and hosting a reception.
     Don’t forget to announce your FY20 grant award to your local press outlet. Include a photo showing the important work you do in your community. And, send a personal note to your Legislator saying thank you.
     As September winds down the Staff is putting the finishing touches on the new five-year Strategic Plan that over 625 individuals plus Convening attendees participated in! We are excited about what the future holds for NDCA and our work with our constituents in communities across the State. More to follow…

NDCA is hiring a Special Projects Intern!

Application deadline has been extended to September 20th! Please share with a student who might be interested in a great opportunity at North Dakota Council on the Arts! This is a part-time, paid internship for either the full school year, or a semester. NDCA is looking for a personable, inquisitive person with skills in planning, special events, arts administration, communications, community outreach/impact, and potentially art/public art who can work independently in a creative and busy environment. To apply click on this link to access the career site.

Executive Director Emily Montgomery will be stepping down later this year

With both excitement and sadness Emily announced that she will be leaving her post at the Empire Arts Center later this year. For over seven years, she has had the great honor and responsibility of serving as Executive Director at the Empire Arts Center.  Of the many things that have been accomplished at the Empire Arts Center she is proud of the addition of many wonderful programs like the Empire Theatre Company and several important facility upgrades including adding a grand piano and completely overhauling the theatrical lighting system. Find out more at Emily is also a board member for NDCA.

NDCA recently awarded $788,079 in grants across the State

NDCA awarded $788,079 in nine different grant programs for fiscal year 2020. All applications were evaluated by grant review panels and all awards were subject to approval by NDCA’s board of directors. For a complete list of the FY20 grantees and their awards, visit Please write your Legislator and say "Thank you."

Free nonprofit training and face-to-face meetings

The Bush Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, Otto Bremer Trust, and Propel Nonprofits are coming to Bismarck to do some free nonprofit training on Wednesday, September 18th, and hold face-to-face meetings with people and organizations in North Dakota interested in learning more about their grants and Fellowship program on Thursday, September 19. Register to meet with them here. There is also a reception on September 19 at the North Dakota Heritage Center – all are welcome.

World Fest comes to Williston

Arts Midwest World Fest presents international musical ensembles in intensive week-long residencies in smaller Midwest communities. Their mission is to foster an understanding of, and appreciation for, global uniqueness and differences. Catch the samba swing of Brazil with Paulo Padilha e Bando in Williston, ND, October 21-27. Born in São Paulo, Padilha travels between the sounds of traditional samba and other Brazilian popular musical styles.

NDCA invites all ND high schools to participate in Poetry Out Loud 2020

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies. School Registration form can be downloaded here. For more visit the National Poetry Out Loud and ND Poetry Out Loud webpages, or email

Join discussion on giving incentives, fundraising trends

The ND Association of Nonprofit Organizations (NDANO) is hitting the road in October and November to start a statewide conversation about giving incentives, fundraising trends and other policy issues impacting nonprofits. They will also share some strategies to help your nonprofit engage in everyday advocacy. Join them for one or both of these free events in one of eight cities near you. Register today...

Two artists inducted in the Native American Hall of Honor

On September 5, an induction ceremony of new recipients being recognized in the Native American Hall of Honor took place at the North Dakota Heritage Center. The event recognizes Native Americans who have gone above and beyond in representing their tribes and cultures. Inductees in the Culture/Arts category were Keith Bear, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation; and Wallace “Butch” Thunder Hawk Jr., Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. For more…

Artist wins premier award in Russia

Professor Emeritus Linda Whitney recently attended the world’s premier mezzotint exhibition at the Fifth International Mezzotint Festival in Ekaterinburg in Russia along with seventy mezzotint artists, curators, and gallery directors from all over the globe. In the Open Competition major awards for four artists were announced. Whitney was honored with the grand prize for Originality and for Breaking Classical Boundaries, a premier award for a mezzotint artist. The award comes with an invitation for a solo exhibition of her mezzotints during the 6th International Mezzotint Festival.


October is National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM)

Get Involved!
Whether you’ve participated before or want to get involved for the first time, Americans for the Arts has lots of ideas to help you celebrate. There are many easy ways to bring National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM) to your community this October— check the resources page for event ideas and tools. NAHM is a month-long, coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America. For more…

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which focuses on promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Increasing employment opportunities and career development is one of VSA arts' guiding principles. Please take a moment to view the Campaign for Disability Employment’s “I Can.” It features seven real people – not actors – with hidden and obvious disabilities, demonstrating what they “can do” on the job when given the opportunity.

You have ideas. The Big Read has money!

Looking for seed money to fund a community-wide reading program in your community between September 2020 and June 2021? Take five minutes to submit your intent to apply for the NEA Big Read grant (up to $15,000) here. Eligible applicants: Nonprofits, divisions of local government, school districts, and tribal governments. Application deadline: Late January 2020. For more...

Arts Midwest Touring Fund guidelines and applications now available

The Touring Fund engages people in meaningful experiences with the fine arts of dance, music, theater or musical theater, and other performing arts forms. When creative experiences are shared, powerful connections are built with the people you’re close to, with the community and world around us, and with ourselves. Application Deadline: April 29, 2020. For more…

Letter of Interest Open for The Lewis Prize for Music

The Lewis Prize for Music is excited to announce the opening of its inaugural awards process. At the core of The Lewis Prize is the belief that music can inspire and catalyze positive social and systemic change. With the mission and vision of creating fair and vibrant communities through music, it will give three multi-year awards of $500,000 each to leaders of U.S. youth music organizations and initiatives in January 2020. All Letters of Interest are due no later than 11:59 EST on Monday, September 16, 2019.

CPL Summit to be held in Cincinnati

The 2019 Midwest Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit is a three-day event set to happen in Cincinnati October 10-12. Gather with like-minded, community-oriented people to exchange ideas, inspire and be inspired. The guiding question for the Summit is, “How can supporting places with art and culture help create thriving and sustainable communities?” Explore unique methods that address climate change and promote health, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Alliance of Artists conference to be held in St. Paul, MN

The Alliance of Artists Communities conference (October 28-31) is the largest summit for the artist residency field, bringing together 400+ arts leaders, community organizers, funders, policymakers, educators, and cross-sector partners from around the world. Join dynamic conversations with colleagues, explore innovative arts spaces across the Twin Cities and gain the critical tools needed to develop responsive organizations that foster incredible artist experiences. Read more + register…


Additional Art Opportunities:
  • UND’s Her Votes Count is a juried exhibition celebrating the spirit of the women before us, whose creative and enduring acts of courage over several decades ensured the votes of all women would be counted. Drop off work on Monday, September 30.
  • In commemoration of the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage in 2020, the Minot State University Choir invites North Dakota women artists to participate in a special art exhibition in conjunction with their November 9, 2019, performance of Luciano Berio’s “Magnificat.” Deadline for submissions is October 15.
  • The Japan Foundation is now accepting project proposals for Performing Arts JAPAN (PAJ) touring and collaboration grants for the 2020 - 2021 fiscal year. Deadline for applications is October 31, 2019.
  • Artist First - Arts Access for All seeks new emerging and established artists with disabilities from every cultural background. Living in the Fargo/Moorhead Metro or the lake’s region of Minnesota. Submissions due by November 18, 2019.
  • Ongoing call: Heart River Voice is a print publication that focuses on the North Dakota Communities in Dickinson and those in Stark County. Colorful paintings, drawings, ​photographs or mixed media are sought for cover art. For more email
  • The AestheticaMag Art Prize is open for entries. Welcoming submissions from established and emerging practitioners, the award introduces new talent to the world stage.


It's okay to feel good about accessibility

With so much focus on the compliance aspect of maintaining an accessible web presence — and rightfully so — it can be easy sometimes to view accessibility as a chore and forget that it's truly a great thing. Here's a reminder that you're doing the right thing for your customers and your business while improving everyone's experience.


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