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MSU Profiles

Northwest Art Center gives students first taste of professional art world

Maroah Foster discovered her passion for art as a child, which makes her most recent creation all the more special.

Last month, Foster exhibited her handmade books project, "Children's Stories From Around the World," at the Gordon B. Olson Library Gallery at Minot State University.

The Gordon B. Olson Library Gallery is run by the Northwest Art Center, which seeks to "encourage and promote artistic and multicultural expression with education and outreach," according to its mission statement. The Northwest Art Center is funded in part by a grant from the North Dakota Arts Council, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment of the Arts.

The Northwest Art Center makes it possible for early career artists, like Foster, to gain the experience of showing their work at a gallery and networking with other artists and arts organizations.

Foster's exhibit, which was on display in November, featured seven books with moral stories inspired by various cultures from each of the seven continents.

"The stories our parents tell us shape our formative years, teaching us right from wrong, introducing us to concepts such as guilt, empathy, and courage, as well as forging bonds between the storyteller and the listener," said Foster. "I hope that bond can be felt in this setting, even though the original storytellers are separated from us by miles and generations."

Each book was made with paper and book-binding techniques specific to the culture that the story originated. Foster also provided illustrations for each story. Six of the seven stories were established tales, but Foster wrote the story for the book representing Antarctica.

"I've never lost the desire to work with kids," Foster said. Foster initially enrolled at MSU as an education major before switching to a bachelor's degree in art with concentrations in drawing and printmaking.

Originally from Livermore, Calif., Foster moved to Berthold, ND in 2006 where she went to high school. Foster is currently a senior, and plans to move to Wyoming with her husband, Ryan, after she graduates.

"It's this weird void of possibilities that I'm on the precipice of," Foster said of her future prospects. "I can go in a million different directions."

Following Foster's successful exhibit, Cassie Stauffer, a senior in art education, will present "Enigma: Truth and Perspective," a collection of acrylic paintings and an installation sculpture based on her travels to Israel and Palestine. Stauffer's exhibit is on display through Dec. 29 at the Hartnett Gallery located on the second floor of Hartnett Hall.

For more information about the Northwest Art Center galleries at Minot State, please visit the website at