Originally known as the Red River Art Center, the Plains Art Museum was established in 1965 in the former post office of Moorhead, Minnesota. The museum was renamed in 1975, and remained in Moorhead until the year 1996. In October of 1997, the museum opened its doors to the public in downtown Fargo within a turn-of-the-century, renovated warehouse.
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The Plains Art Museum includes fifty-six thousand square feet of space to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret a wide variety of art. Its permanent art collection today consists of around four thousand works of art, including regional, national, and international fine art, as well as ethnographic objects. The fully-accessible building contains The Dawson Studio, the Hannaher's Inc. Print Studio, The Store, Café Muse, and the Goldberg Art Lounge, as well as several spaces for meetings and receptions, visitor services center, wood shop, frame shop, and areas for performances and storage of the museum's permanent collection.
The Plains Art Museum is also home to the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity. The center is a multipurpose arts facility that offers community classes, in addition to a studio and exhibition space for display, learning, and discussion of creative work. Studio programs at the museum focus primarily on the development of people's potential for deeper problem solving and learning through twenty-first century skills, such as communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. This 25,500 square foot expansion is connected the museum's original building through a skybridge.
Several self-guided and guided tours are available to visitors at the Plains Art Museum. Educational adult tours are designed for business organizations and community groups. Adults can also take part in art-making workshops through the museum's Experiences by Request program. Visitors can choose to explore the museum free of charge through a self-guided tour. The museum does, however, ask for reservations for groups larger than ten people .
For a small fee, guests can join a guided sixty-minute tour by reservation. These tours are led by educators of the Plains Art Museum, and take a closer look at the galleries of the museum. Visitors can request specific topics, which will be considered by the museum's Education Department .
Student groups can choose to take part in the Guided Gallery Tour or add tour of the studio as well. The ninety-minute combo tour, led by educators of the Plains Art Museum, is designed for students from preschool age through twelfth grade. The tour experience features an inquiry-based, interactive tour of the exhibitions on display in the museum. This is followed by a visit to the Center for Creativity to participate in one of the studio's art-making workshops. A minimum of fifteen people is required for the tour, as well as reservations.
The Plains Art Museum is also home to the Defiant Gardens, an initiative to connect artists with communities within public spaces. The term "defiant gardens" was borrowed from a study of wartime gardens by Kenneth Helphand. Since the beginning of the project, two artist-designed gardens have been constructed: the Heritage Garden and the Pollinator Garden.
704 First Avenue North, Fargo, North Dakota, Phone: 701-551-6100