ND Be Legendary, Council on the Arts logo
Welcome to Prairie Arts, North Dakota Council on the Arts' monthly
newsletter, containing statewide and national art-related news.
In this Issue:
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UPDATES - Kim Konikow

Head and shoulders of NDCA Executive Director Kim Konikow, closed smile with black shirt, grey-blonde shoulder-length hair
- NDCA’s annual grant season is in full swing. Visit our Grants at a Glance webpage to learn more. So many opportunities!
- Five Indigenous artists have been selected to participate in an 18-month Professional Development Training Program, a new partnership with Sacred Pipe Resource Center. An announcement is forthcoming...
- Just did a short interview with the legendary Scott Prebys on Prairie Public Classics. It was fun to talk about the many hats I wear in my diverse work at NDCA.
- Hope to see you on Monday, February 26 for the POL State Competition. It’s a great opportunity to witness ND high school students utilizing poetry to build their skills, and it’s free! Details below.
- The Executive Director position has reopened... Please share with folks you may know, or with your constituents – we know the right person is out there! More information below.
Giving Hearts Day logo
- Giving Hearts Day is February 8th. We hope you open your hearts (giving or volunteering) to some of the many wonderfully impactful ND arts organizations! You can also donate to NDCA’s Endowment Fund. Thanks in advance!

NDCA staff and board (16 people) standing in 2 rows
- Triannual communal gathering for NDCA staff, Board (& guests!). (Bis, Jan. 2024)

- Healing, Bridging, Thriving: A Summit on Arts and Culture in our Communities
I attended this amazing summit in Washington, D.C. along with many Arts Agency colleagues, Federal Agency directors and Staff, funders and artistic participants.

Be well!                                                                                              .Back to top..
NDCA staff (8 people), smiling brightly, standing outside, in front of store windows, holding their painted glass artworks
NDCA staff L to R: Robin Bosch, Brenna Lahren, Rhea Beto, Kim Konikow, Melinda Padilla Lynch, Matthew Anderson, Lisa McCallum and Troyd Geist - holding stained glass artworks themed around NDCA and our state! The creative workshop was led by Bismarck mosaic artist Dawn Kopp. The final product will be on display in the NDCA office.

NDCA reopens search for Executive Director to lead a great team!

NDCA has reopened the search for a fulltime, benefited Executive Director position to ensure the selection of the most experienced candidate to fill this crucial role. The new hire will replace current Executive Director Kim Konikow who is retiring in May 2024 after over six years of service with the Council.

The Executive Director is an unclassified, appointed position which reports directly to the board of directors. The position includes a full range of employee benefits, with an annual starting salary range of $90,000-$98,000, based on meeting the stated qualifications.

For more information, read the Press Release which includes a link to NDCA's Executive Director Marketing Packet.

The deadline for application submission is February 25, 2024 with an anticipated start date in May 2024.
NDCA Executive Director Position Opening

Arts in Education banner showing colored pencils, crayons, scissors, clock with timer, calculator and notebook

Updates from NDCA Arts in Education Director Matthew Anderson

Join us in celebrating the art of poetry as 18 school champions vie for the ND State Title at the 2024 Poetry Out Loud State Championship on February 26. This competition also offers the winner and their school the chance to proudly represent North Dakota at the National Poetry Out Loud Championship in Washington, DC.

Funding for the Artist In Residence (AIR) grant program is still available! AIR is a noncompetitive reimbursement program that provides up to $2,500 in support for North Dakota pre-K-12 students and teachers to work with professional artists either in a traditional school setting or during after-school and/or summer programs.

NDCA's Arts in Education Collaboration (AIEC) grant program has opened for Fiscal Year 2025! We are accepting applications for projects taking place July 1, 2024 - June 30, 2025. AIEC is a program that provides up to $6,000 to arts organizations, schools, school districts, nonprofits, and government agencies to build collaborations and community partnerships that strive to increase access to high-quality, sustained arts education for K-12 North Dakota students

To learn more about all of these programs, read NDCA's January 2024 Arts in Education Newsletter.
NDCA Arts in Education Winter 2024 Newsletter

Poetry Out Loud trophies

2024 Poetry Out Loud ND State Competition February 26

The 2024 Poetry Out Loud (POL) State Finals will be held on Monday, February 26th at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, in the Russell Reid Auditorium. There will be two rounds of oral recitations in the morning, with a final round of competition after lunch to determine the new 2024 ND State Champion. 18 high school students from across the state are set to compete for a cash prize of $200 and the opportunity to advance to the 2024 Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC where they will have a chance to compete for the grand prize of $20,000.

The competition, presented in partnership with The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. POL helps students master public speaking skills and build self-confidence, while also learning more about both classic and contemporary poetry. During the months of September – January, schools are invited to hold classroom and school wide contests, with each school's top student advancing to the state competition. A recording from the 2023 ND POL State Competition summarizes the program.

*The ND POL State Competition is FREE and open to the public.                   .Back to top..
ND Poetry Out Loud

THE PULSE of Arts Across the Prairie - Placemaking in Rural ND:

A first of its kind, statewide program creating eight large-scale art installations
– one in each geographic region in the state –
that reflect the unique history, landscape, and cultural heritage
as defined by Stakeholder Groups in these regions.
  • Region 1 “Love Where You Live” – A location for Thane Lund’s land-work is still in flux; any suggestions you might have (up to two acres) are welcome.
  • Region 2 "Living Waters, Painted Skies" – The top candidates were interviewed at the beginning of February and the selected artist/creative team will be announced soon. 
  • Region 3 (Towner, Rolette, Cavalier, Ramsey, Eddy, Benson counties) - An online Stakeholder meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 15, 12 pm CT. Email Brenna Lahren if you are available!
  • Region 4 "Endless Sky - Dynamic Layers" – The AAP team and artist James Peterson are creating a call for local contractors to assist with fabrication and installation this summer. 
  • Region 6 "Flyways, Byways, Skyways" – The Stakeholder group received 34 applications from artists and creative teams located across the US through the Request for Qualifications process. The top three candidates will be asked to submit final design proposals.
  • Region 8 "Rugged and Unforgettable" – The Request for Qualifications from experienced artists/creative teams will open on February 23, 2024. Potential applicants are encouraged to join an Informational Webinar on Thursday, March 7th, 3-4 pm CT.
The ND Artist Training Cohort Program is currently accepting applications!
Led by established artists working with AAP, the ND Artist Training Cohort program will provide training online and on site for up to 80 ND artists. It includes a stipend and travel/lodging per diem to increase skill level and capacity for public art production, in ND and elsewhere. The first round of applications for this continuing program are due by February 21, 2024Visit NDCA's website for application instructions.
→ REGISTER to attend the FREE inaugural Arts Across the Prairie Statewide Convening May 13-14 at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum in Bismarck! Join community members, artists, organizations, and guest speakers as we move beyond county lines towards full-state participation.

Email Melinda Padilla Lynch for more information and to find out how you can participate in this first-of-its-kind, statewide placemaking program.
Arts Across the Prairie


Mural by Holly Young, Fort Yates 2022

* From aspiring to accomplished: a Dakota artist’s journey

By contributing editor Alicia Hegland-Thorpe

Dakota artist Holly Young relies heavily on her family and community for inspiration and direction. She honors her Dakota ancestors through revitalizing nearly lost artforms and sharing the stories that go with them. From the beginning of her career as an aspiring artist, through her remarkable accomplishments, one thing was never lost: her commitment to preserving and sharing traditional art forms and lifeways with her people.

* Stories marked with an asterisk were written by experienced contributing editors with the goal of showcasing North Dakota's diversity.
Dakota artist Holly Young holding a Native purse she created and standing in front of other Native jewelry and drawings she made
Dakota artist Holly Young story


Halliday Indigenous news outlet selected for Creative Midwest Media Cohort

Logo of Buffalo's Fire, Independent News from the Indigenous Media Freedom Alliance
Buffalo's Fire, an independent, online news site of the Indigenous Media Freedom Alliance, located in Halliday, ND is one of ten organizations who have been awarded a total of $150,000 as part of the Creative Midwest Media Cohort. This new year-long program facilitated through Arts Midwest’s Creativity News Desk amplifies stories of arts, culture, and creativity in the Midwest. 

The Creative Midwest Media Cohort supports organizations in producing media projects that cover stories of Midwestern creativity in the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, or the 42 Native Nations that share this geography. The inaugural participants, selected as part of an invite-only application process, will each receive a $15,000 grant and networking opportunities through the program.  

Buffalo's Fire will produce feature articles and a companion podcast that highlight Native American dentalium (tooth or tusk shells)  artists and their work. The series will provide an overview of harvesting dentalium, share its trade route history, and highlight current practitioners in the Plains region.
Meet the Arts Midwest Media Cohort


Circle of Nations School logo

Wahpeton school receives Challenge America grant from NEA

Circle of Nations / Wahpeton Indian School was awarded a $10,000 Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The funding will be used to support a cultural arts residency.

Learn more about the Challenge American grant program below.
First round of NEA awards for 2024


Grants for Arts Projects (GAP)

GAP provides expansive funding opportunities to strengthen the nation’s arts and cultural ecosystem. Grants are available for arts projects in a wide variety of artistic disciplines. Each discipline has identified the types of projects that are of greatest interest within this program as well as the characteristics of competitive applications. Applicants may request cost share/matching grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

Sign up or view the recording for one of the various FREE GAP guidelines webinars on the NEA's website.

Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2024  

Challenge America Grants

Challenge America offers support primarily to small organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved groups/communities. It includes an abbreviated application, a robust structure of technical assistance, and grants for a set amount of $10,000. Grants require a cost share/match of $10,000 consisting of cash and/or in-kind contributions. This program is often an entry point for organizations that are new to applying for federal funding.

Sign up for a FREE guidelines webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 2:00 pm CT.

Application deadline: April 25, 2024

Creative Writing Fellowships

This fiscal year, the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships program offers $25,000 grants in poetry to published creative writers that enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.

Application deadline March 13, 2024                                                             .Back to top..
NEA Grant Programs

ND Department of Commerce accepting applications for Vibrancy Grant

The Main Street Initiative (MSI) Vibrancy Grant Program supports local efforts to increase community vibrancy by providing seed funding for a small project that will build momentum and inspire additional projects. Community vibrancy improves quality of life, helps attract and retain workforce, and enhances community pride.

Any community in North Dakota could benefit from adding a spark of activity and energy. Whether your community wants to add public art, activate underutilized space, or promote walking and biking, this program may interest you.

Application deadline March 1, 2024                                                             .Back to top..
ND Vibrancy Grant

Call for Art - Inspire Inclusion: An Art Show Celebrating International Women's Day

ERA NOW (Equal Rights Association), Arts for Vets, and the Women's Fund (a component fund of the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region) will be hosting a show in honor of International Women's Day (IWD). It will take place at the Grand Forks Arts Center with run dates March 8 (IWD) to March 31, 2024. 

The 2024 IWD theme is "Inspire Inclusion" and artists are invited to consider information provided by IWD as they submit works for this show: "When we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion in all sectors of society, family, business and culture, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there's a sense of belonging, relevance, empowerment, and conscious acknowledgement of all the contributions women give to make the world a better place."

Submission deadline February 10, 2024                                                       .Back to top..
Inspire Inclusion Call for Art

Acrylic painting of a wolf with it's mouth wide open and sharp teeth showing, by high school student Denise Jiang

High School student, Denise Jiang, won the ND 2023 Celebrate the West Art Competition with her artwork "Roar."

Submissions deadline: April 1, 2024

2024 Celebrate the West Art Competition Open

Now in its ninth year, the annual Celebrate the West is a regional art competition hosted by the Western Governors' Association (WGA), including North Dakota, that challenges high school students to create works inspired by their state. Students are encouraged to think about what the West means to them, what it means to call the West home, what they learned about its complex past, and what they imagine its future may look like.

WGA's panel of art experts will select one finalist from each state and territory. State winners will receive $200 and compete for overall First ($1,500), Second ($750), and Third Place ($500) Awards at the regional level, as well as a People's Choice award.
Celebrate the West

NDCA full color logo

NDCA Individual Artist Fellowship (IAF)

The IAF program is designed to support outstanding and established practicing individual artists residing in North Dakota. This fiscal year, two fellowships of $5,000 will be awarded for visual or media arts projects that will enhance or expand the applicant's artistic skills and/or process and help the artist generate greater visibility and exposure to potential audiences.

Application deadline: March 1, 2024

South Arts JAZZ ROAD logo

South Arts Jazz Road Tours

Calling all jazz artists: bring jazz to North Dakota communities! Jazz Road Tours offer grants of up to $15,000 to develop tours into communities across the country.

Applications now open for tours occurring July 1, 2024 - January 1, 2025. Additional deadlines occurring regularly through 2026.

Application deadline: March 1, 2024 


Individual Artist Fellow

Jazz Road


NDCA Program Deadlines

Artist in Residence

  • Bring artists into classroom
  • Educational institutions
  • Up to $2,500 reimbursement
  • Deadline: 6 weeks prior to project start date
  • Project Dates: July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024

Arts in Education Collaboration

  • Arts programming/activity/ education for K-12
  • Arts & non-arts organizations
  • Up to $6,000
  • Deadline: April 12, 2024
  • Project Dates: July 1, 2024 - June 30, 2025

Community Arts Access

  • Arts programming and/or activities
  • Arts & non-arts organizations
  • $1,250 to $4,000
  • Next Deadline: Apr. 12, 2024 (1st of 2 rounds)
  • Project Dates: July 1, 2024 -  June 30, 2025

Folk & Traditional Arts Apprenticeship

  • Master artist pass on skills/knowledge to new artist(s)
  • Up to $4,500
  • Deadline: April 19, 2024
  • Project Dates: July 1, 2024 - April 30, 2025

Individual Artist Fellowship

*FAST approaching deadline!
  • FY25 eligible disciplines: visual and media arts (all forms, including traditional)
  • Established individual artists
  • $5,000 (no match required)
  • Deadline: March 1, 2024
  • Project Dates: July 1, 2024 - June 30, 2025

ND Artist Training Cohort

*Part of Arts Across the Prairie
  • Increase skill level & capacity for public art production
  • Individuals
  • $1,500 stipend plus expenses
  • Next Deadline: Feb. 21,  2024 (ongoing program)
  • Training Dates: March, 2024 - Summer, 2025

Professional Development

  • Arts-related learning activities (U.S. or abroad)
  • Organizations & Individuals
  • Up to $1,000
  • Next Deadline: Feb. 20,  2024 (ongoing program)
  • Project Dates: May 1 - June 30, 2024

Special Projects

  • Community art events in all disciplines
  • Organizations & Individuals
  • Up to $1,500
  • Next Deadline: March 19, 2024 (ongoing program)
  • Project Dates: May 1  - June 30, 2024
  • Arts Across the Prairie (AAP) Inaugural Statewide Convening
    • May 13-14 at ND Heritage Center & State Museum: a two-day FREE event for AAP stakeholders and community members, including Regional Councils, ND Artists, and AAP supporters. It will feature plenary speakers, breakout sessions on placemaking, and provide valuable insights into building relationships across both county and regional lines.
Arts Events & Activities More Opportunities:    
  • Sunspot It's Lit logoSunspot Lit is accepting literary or genre works through Submittable. Winner receives $500 plus publication, while runners-up and finalists are offered publication. No restrictions or theme or category. Entry fee: $12.50.
    • Application deadline February 29, 2024
  • Innovative Artist Grants for Art and Photos $1800Innovate Grant awards (2) $1,800.00 grants each quarter,  to one Visual Artist and one Photographer. In addition, (12) honorable mentions (6 in art and 6 in photo), will be  featured on their website. Entry fee: $35.00.
    • Application deadline March 21, 2024
  • Call to Artists for Dome House in Door County, WisconsinDome House Al & Mickey Quinlan Artist Residency is an 8-week opportunity, open to artists in the Midwest, that takes place at the Dome House, a twin-lobed (one side for a residence, the other for a studio) domed concrete structure built into sand dunes abutting Whitefish Dunes State Park and situated on the shores of Lake Michigan. 
    • Application deadline April 5, 2024
*Learn about ongoing and new opportunities on NDCA's website and Facebook page.

NDCA Website

NDCA Facebook Page


Colorful cast of various races, ages, and abilities in The SpongeBob Musical inhabit the stage in all their glory with neurodiverse SpongeBob and Deaf Patrick Star gesturing grandly with arms open. Photo Credit: Jeff Heimbach

NDCA Accessibility Grant

NDCA is excited to announce a new grant opportunity that will be available to North Dakota organizations! It will provide up to $2,000 to help nonprofit arts programs and/or facilities be more accessible. The goal of the program is to encourage groups to enhance accessibility and be more inclusive of all audiences and artists.

The program will be open for applications from February 15 through April 12, 2024. A program overview, including guidelines, eligibility, example projects, application instructions and a link to apply will be available on NDCA's website soon.  Organizations will be invited to attend an informational webinar on March 13, 2024. More details to follow . . .
Accessibility Resources


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