Placemaking in Rural North Dakota

Placemaking in Rural North Dakota

A photo of 4 small brightly colored grain silos standing on a dark brown pasture in Sauk County, rural Wisconsin painted by E. Baillies with corn cribs painted by Brenda Baker.Artist E. Baillies with corn cribs by Brenda Baker - Sauk County, rural Wisconsin


Arts Across the Prairie: Placemaking in Rural North Dakota is a first-of-its-kind, statewide, public art program from North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA). This program will create eight large-scale public works – one for each geographic region in the state – that reflect the unique history, landscape, and cultural heritage of each region. All eight works will be placed in rural locations. This program is in collaboration with the North Dakota Department of Transportation (a first in the US) and North Dakota Tourism/Commerce.

Arts Across the Prairie was developed to celebrate the cultural heritage of rural areas, foster creative relationships across counties and regions, bolster NDCA’s role as a rural development partner, and spur economic development through tourism. Furthermore, as a community-driven initiative, it aims to promote civic pride, affirm distinctiveness of place, and strengthen cultural identity. This program will create public-private partnerships throughout the state and will provide a national model of this type of creative placekeeping.

Goals of Arts Across the Prairie:

  • Strengthen cross-county networking and regional collaboration
  • Promote tourism for in- and out-of-state visitors
  • Stimulate economic activity and development in rural areas of North Dakota
  • Build stronger arts communities across the state
  • Invest in North Dakota artists by providing professional training and support
  • Celebrate and leverage existing assets with an infusion of creative expression
  • Heighten visibility of ND’s creative sector and talent

Funds are currently being raised nationally and regionally. This program has a $5 million budget over seven years. The first-of-its-kind state partnership with North Dakota Department of Transportation will contribute to roads, pull-outs, parking, and signage at selected sites.

The North Dakota Legislature issued an appropriation of $1 million dollars specifically for the interest earned on this amount to be utilized on infrastructure and maintenance over the life of the program.

Region 1 in NW North Dakota has completed the stakeholder development, site selection, and artist selection processes, and will break ground on their art installation in spring of 2023. Stakeholders in Region 2, north central, are in the site selection process. Stakeholders in NE Region 4 have selected their site and are beginning the artist selection process. Stakeholder groups are currently being established in Regions 3, 6, and 8.

Image of the counties in North Dakota along with the eight regions. For more information on the eight regions call 701-328-7590

In order to implement Arts Across the Prairie, diverse stakeholder groups will be formed in each region, joining across county lines. All participants will be guided in the process of selecting locations, designing artist Requests for Proposals, and articulating what type of creation will best represent their region’s cultural heritage. Technical Assistance/Professional Development will be offered to all participants related to budgets, fundraising, land ownership and maintenance, and economic development.

Stakeholder Responsibilities:

  • Diverse individuals from across all counties in the Region
  • Participate in ongoing (monthly) meetings over Zoom
  • Facilitate site selection for proposed public art installation
  • Engage with community members
  • Assist in artist selection
  • Celebrate regional cultural heritage and spread knowledge 

Region Stakeholders and Updates

Region Stakeholders and Updates
Region 1

Thane Lund Proposal Selected

NDCA Board Member, Lead Contact

  • John Geyerman, Photographer; Vice President, Williston Downtowners (Williams County)

Divide County

  • Pamela Buth, High School Teacher, Divide County School District
  • Allison Muncaster, High School Art Teacher, Divide County School District
  • Rodney “Rod” Gillund, Retired, Director of Special Ed
  • Lynae Hibbard, Paraeducator, Divide County High School
  • KayCee Lindsey, Divide County Job Development Authority

McKenzie County

  • Jan Dodge, Directory/Curator, Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County
  • Jessica Newman, Education, Outreach, and Exhibit Coordinator, Long X Arts Foundation
  • Jessie Veeder Scofield, Director, Long X Arts Foundation
  • Loren Yellow Bird, Sr., Park Ranger, Fort Union Trading Post NHS

Williams County

  • Daphne Johnson Clark, Artist, Department of Health
  • Anna Hoffman, K-12 Art Educator, Trenton School
  • Onesti Krieger, Professional Painter, Owner, Transition Painting
  • Rochelle Villa, Program Manager, North Dakota Women's Business Center
Region 2

Region 2 Request for Proposal

NDCA Board Member, Lead Contact

  • Linda Olson, Studio Arts Professor, Minot State University; President of the American Rock Art Research Association (Ward County)

Bottineau County

  • Katie Saykally, School Improvement Specialist, North Central Education Cooperative

Burke County

  • Courtney Halverson, Art Instructor, Kenmare High; International Music Camp participant

McHenry County

  • Terry Peterson, The Aggie Foundation
  • Rhonda Weninger, Student, Minot State University, Art Teacher, Lewis & Clark School District

Mountrail County

  • Thomas Nash, New Town City Council
  • Chuck Repnow, Writer, Minot Daily

Pierce County

  • Sue Sitter, Reporter, The Pierce County Tribune

Renville County

  • Chantel Southam, Board Member, ND Community Foundation; CPA 

Ward County

  • Rachel Alfaro, Executive Director, Taube Museum 
  • Justin Anderson, Executive Director, Minot Area Council on the Arts
  • Greg Vettel, Director, Northwest Arts Center, Minot State University
Region 3

NDCA Board Member, Lead Contact

  • Erin Belgarde, Director for the Community Innovation, Research, and Development Department, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians (Rolette County)


*Region 3 currently seeking stakeholders.

Region 4

James Peterson Proposal Selected

NDCA Board Member, Lead Contact

  • Dawn Mandt, Executive Director, Red River Regional Council (Walsh County)

Grand Forks County

  • Kathy Armacost, Grand Forks Public Arts Commission Board Member
  • Alvin Boucher, Grand Forks Municipal Judge, Muddy Waters Clay Center
  • Ann Diepolder Brown, retired physician, former chair of North Dakota Museum of Art, Board member of Public Art Commission
  • Becca Cruger, Workforce Development Manager, GFREDC 
  • Hazel Sletten, Board President of the Larimore Community Museum, retired from City of Grand Forks Water Utilities 

Nelson County

  • Anna Halvorson, Administrator, Good Samaritan Society
  • Sarah Heitkamp, Curator & Director of UND Art Collections; Instructor, Dept. of Art & Design; Honors
  • Anna Huso, Photographer  

Pembina County

  • Patricia Caylay, Member of Fort Pembina Historical Society, Historic Preservation Commission
  • Zelda Hartje, Chair, Historic Preservation Commission, Property Tax Assessor
  • Barb Gunderson, Photographer
  • Lule Naas, Destination Red River Project Manager, Red River Regional Council
  • Becky Ratchenski, retired Library Director & Teacher
  • Lillian Stegman, Artist

Walsh County

  • Kelsey Beckstrom, Drift Prairie Development, LLC
  • Travis Bell, Farmer, Landowner
  • Agatha Frisby, Architect, Prairie Centre Architecture 
  • Emma Narloch, Student, Grafton High School
  • Cheryl Osowski, Red River Regional Council 
  • Crystal Voth, Art Instructor, Grafton High School
  • Jacy Whaley, Occupational Therapist 
Region 5

*Stakeholders to be identified at later date

Region 6

NDCA Board Member, Lead Contact

  • Amy Tichy, NDSU Extension Barnes County

Barnes County

  • Gratia Brown, Assistant Professor of Art, Valley City State University; VP of Bridges Arts Council
  • Hilde Van Gijssel, Bridges Art Council 
  • Nick Lee, Arts Administrator, Bridges Arts Council; Principal St. Catherine School
  • Tina Sackett, Grants and Contracts Officer, University of North Dakota 

Dickey County

  • Jodi Bruns, Leadership & Civic Engagement Specialist, NDSU Extension
  • Lorraine Ptacek, General Manager/CFO, Kustom Machine, Inc.

Foster County

  • Hope Carr, Main Street Investor, Business Owner

Griggs County

Logan County

  • Carmen Rath Wald, Former county extension agent, Tri-County German-Russian Tourism

LaMoure County

  • Emily Ptacek, Marketing/Quality Control, Kustom Machine, Inc.

McIntosh County

  • Marvel Gross, Ashley Arts Council; Tri County German-Russian Tourism Alliance

Stutsman County

  • Jodi Bunde, Dietitian/Director of the Dietary Department at SMP Health-Ave Maria
  • Anna Jacobson, Director of Education & Exhibitions, The Arts Center in Jamestown

Wells County

  • Laurel Wentz
Region 7

*Stakeholders to be identified at later date

Region 8

NDCA Board Member, Lead Contact

  • Kimberly Gaugler, Beach City Auditor (Golden Valley County)

Adams County

Billings County

  • Stacey Swanson, Tax and Zoning Director, 9-1-1 Coordinator

Bowman County

  • Brooklyn Engelhart, Creative Marketing Coordinator, Bowman County Development Corporation
  • Jean Nudell, Museum Administrator, Pioneer Trails Regional Museum
  • Sarah Snavely, Director, Bowman Regional Public Library; Visual Artist

Dunn County

Golden Valley County

  • Marcie Armstrong, Teacher
  • Michelle Marman, Artist
  • Lea Massado, Office Assistant, City of Beach
  • Scott Trotter, oil painter, chainsaw woodcarver

Hettinger County

  • Myra Klein, Former ED Hettinger County JDA/Economic Development, Visual artist and Arts Instructor

Slope County

Stark County

  • Terri Thiel, Executive Director, Dickinson CVB
  • Dustin Young, Visual Artist, Sales Consultant, Wallwork Truck Center

Large scale outdoor metal deer sculpture by Gary Greff, part of the ND Enchanted Highway project

“Deer Crossing” by Gary Greff, part of the ND Enchanted Highway project

Training will also be provided for North Dakota artists in creating large-scale outdoor public artworks. Artists will have increased skill and capacity and will therefore be eligible for additional funding opportunities, both in North Dakota and nationally.

Interested in getting involved? Contact us!

Kim Konikow
Executive Director, NDCA | 701.328.7590