The History of the Northwest Arts Center

The Northwest Arts Center is a non-profit arts center operating on the campus of Minot State University.

Established in 1992, the Center was organized to formally support a gallery program that had been in existence since 1969, but was ready to expand its offerings. From its start as a hallway gallery in the 1970s, exhibit venues evolved in the 1980s and 1990s to dedicated spaces in the art department and university library, to the present newly renovated Arts Center in the lower level of the Minot State University Gordon B. Olson Library. The new Northwest Arts Center was dedicated April 19, 2018, and houses the Walter Piehl Gallery, a public reception area, and climate-controlled collections storage for Minot State University’s Permanent Art Collection and Native American Collections.

Over the years the Center has enriched the artistic life of northwest North Dakota with year-round art exhibitions, a performing arts series, a public lecture series, and numerous workshops and artists-in-residence activities. The Permanent Art Collection, managed by the Center’s staff, contains over 1,200 works, which are featured in touring and local exhibitions. The Center also cares for and exhibits the University’s Native American Collections of approximately 450 items of traditional clothing, decorative crafts and other artifacts.

Programming of the Northwest Arts Center is supported by entry fees from its juried competitions, grants, student activity fees, memberships, and private donations. All exhibits are free and open to the public.