Rural Arts

The Rural Arts Initiative, an educational outreach program, works to encourage and empower rural school students and their teachers to actively participate in learning through the arts. The Rural Art Initiative came about in direct response to feedback from educators and families working in rural areas. Major challenges such as inadequate funding for art education, few museums and great distances have not allowed the visual arts to flourish in rural areas as much as other forms of art such as music and theater, which accompanied early settlers as they moved west.

Museum Visits
Three major exhibitions will be selected for the program. Throughout the school year, teachers and their students will visit the Museum to see and discuss exhibitions. Financial support for travel expenses is available for qualifying schools.

Tour exhibitions
The Museum will organize touring exhibitions of art, relevant to the local communities, that are integrated into school curricula and that can withstand less-than-optimal conditions and handling. Each exhibition targets specific age groups within the K-12 spectrum but all class levels are encouraged to visit and participate in the exhibition. Each host organization must provided a secure facility and staff for the duration of the exhibition. Exhibition times vary depending on location.

The Museum will deliver and install the exhibition
As part of the program Museum staff will train docents on the exhibition and program. In addition, Museum staff will return to pack up the exhibition when it closes. There is never a cost to host organizations. Past exhibitions, Snow Country Prison, Self Portraits, Shelterbelts, Marking the Land, and Animals: Them and Us, have been installed in buildings such as bank basements, Masonic temples, empty store fronts, school gymnasiums, etc.


If you are interested in learning more about the Rural Arts Initiative or would like to book an exhibition, please contact Kelsey Buchholz at or 701-777-3846.



Bradford Hansen-Smith: Circles


Bradford Hansen-Smith is a working artist. He is also a teacher. Wholemovement™ is the process of learning geometry through folding paper circles. Developed by sculptor Bradford Hansen-Smith, this guide for teachers and home-schooling parents shows geometry can be derived from the circle, offering a fun way to introduce children (or adults) to a better understanding of geometry. Children enjoy folding, taping, and coloring the paper plates, while adults can appreciate the deeper discussion of mathematical principles. Of interest to origami and mathematical paperfolding enthusiasts, the paper circle offers a new world of possibilities to people of all ages.

Drawing and making things is how I have always explored and understood the world around me. I made a living as a sculptor for many years before needing to know more about spatial patterns of movement and how they worked. Buckminster Fuller was my introduction to geometry.

—Bradford Hansen-Smith


Due to the unique nature of this exhibition, extra staff may be required for installation. Host sites may be asked to provide hotel rooms during installation and deinstallation. Please contact Kelsey Buchholz at for more details.


Touring Schedule:

Jamestown Arts Center, Jamestown, ND
December 15, 2018 - February 1, 2019

Ellendale Opera House, Ellendale, ND
February 12 - March 12, 2019


Snow Country Prison:
Interned in North Dakota


In 1941 the U. S. Justice Department converted Fort Lincoln from a surplus military post into an internment camp to detain people arrested in the United States as enemy aliens. Over its five-year operation as a camp, the Bismarck facility housed about 1,500 men of German nationality, and over 1,800 of Japanese ancestry. The first group of Japanese and German men were arrested by the FBI in the days immediately after Pearl Harbor. The arrests were done under the authority of the Alien Enemies Act, and these so-called "enemy aliens" were removed from their homes, primarily on the West Coast and East Coast, and sent to camps in isolated parts of the country.

Snow Country Prison: Interned in North Dakota opened October 4, 2003, in Bismarck at the site of the former camp, now United Tribes Technical College. The exhibition examined the internment experience of German and Japanese nationals, as well as Japanese American citizens deemed "enemy aliens" following the renunciation of their citizenship during World War II.

The exhibition, organized jointly by the Museum and the United Tribes Technical College, featured historic photos and murals of the camp, floor-to-ceiling cloth banners imprinted with images of people interned there, and wall text drawn from the haiku poems of one of the Japanese internees, Itaru Ina.


Touring Schedule:

This show is unavailable October 1, 2018 through January 11, 2019 as it will be on loan to Lake Region Arts Council, Fergus Falls, MN.

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