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Founded in the mid-1970s, the North Dakota Museum of Art began as the University of North Dakota Art Galleries, a temporary exhibition space primarily for the benefit of university students.
Then in 1981, the North Dakota State Legislature designated the University Galleries as our state’s official art museum. With its expanded mission came a new name: the North Dakota Museum of Art (NDMOA).
NDMOA currently collects contemporary, international art in all media. It is charged with both gathering and displaying the visual history of the region. The museum is also assembling a survey collection of contemporary Native American art, starting with the early 1970s when the movement emerged.
If you’re a fan of all things far out and fabulous, you definitely need to pay a visit to NDMOA, especially to check out the Barton Lidice Benes permanent exhibit. Ranging from a mounted giraffe and warthog to tribal masks and antiques, this eclectic collection will leave you awestruck. Acclaimed artist Barton Benes gifted the contents of his New York apartment to the museum, which includes over $1 million in African, Egyptian and contemporary art. Through tremendous fundraising efforts, NDMOA raised the money to dismantle his apartment in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood and recreate it in North Dakota.
NDMOA is also noted for the many musical events it hosts throughout the year. As part of its Sunday Concerts in the Galleries, visitors can enjoy an afternoon performance by nationally and internationally recognized classical musicians from all corners of the globe. Given the superb acoustics of the building, the Myra Presents Concerts Series is sure to please. Throughout the summer, sounds of American roots, blues, jazz and rock fill the NDMOA sculpture garden. Guests are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy some great tunes under grand skies.
After checking out all NDMOA has to offer artistically, make a stop at the Museum Café for a delicious lunch. Much heralded Chef Heather creates many culinary masterpieces such as a Soppressata & Fig Sandwich, Salmon BLT and Beef Stroganoff, along with daily entrée specials. Don’t forget to peruse through the Gift Shop filled with unique, artsy items.
For more information on the exhibits, events, café or gift shop, please go to www.ndmoa.com or call 701-777-4195.