Master the arts at NDMOA

​Where can you find a life-size giraffe, classical music from the nation’s top string quartet, unique gifts, delicious culinary creations and works from internationally acclaimed artists? At our SimplyGraNDMOA!

Founded in the mid-1970s, the University of North Dakota Art Galleries began as 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 is nationally recognized for its ground-breaking human rights exhibitions, involvement with international artists, the commissioning of landmark works of art anchored in the Northern Plains and strength of its exhibition program. The Museum 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 spend a day at 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. 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 Executive Chef Heather Schneider creates many culinary masterpieces such as an Italian Chicken Sandwich, Avocado Toast, Salmon BLT and amazing vegetarian Brown Rice Bowl with roasted sweet potatoes, dried cherries, spinach and walnuts tossed in a maple cider dressing. The Café also features delicious daily entrée specials. Afterward, don’t forget to peruse through the Gift Shop filled with unique, artsy items.

North Dakota Art Galleries

Current & Upcoming Happenings

  • Elmer Thompson: The Inventor (now through April 7) – Growing up on a farm in rural North Dakota, Elmer O. Thompson (1891-1984) developed his creative impulses with photography, educating himself in matters of staging, lighting and processing. This unique exhibit features a look into Thompson's work in photography and his inventions that influenced the modern era.
  • The Museum Collects (now through April 7) – Now featuring works from talented artists including Judy Onofrio, Matthew Anderson, Marley Kaul, William Wiley, Paula Santiago, Teo Nguyen, Helen Frankenthaler, Julian Schnabel and many more.
  • Saint Louis Brass (March 24 at 2 PM) – Founded in 1964, the Saint Louis Brass Quintet is one of America’s longest standing brass quintets. These talented musicians perform the entire spectrum of great music for brass, from the works of today’s composers to Baroque and Renaissance music transcribed for modern instruments. Their performances combine light-hearted entertainment with serious classical music.
  • Family Day at NDMOA (March 30, 10 AM to 12 PM) – Family Day is a time when children of all ages and adults come together to work on projects that help us better understand the current Museum exhibit or learn about techniques and materials. It takes place on the last Saturday of every month during the school year, unless otherwise noted. Drop in or stay the entire time. There is no admission, although donations to cover materials are always welcome. Free parking is also available, compliments of the Museum.
  • Rolston String Quartet (April 7 at 2 PM) – The Rolston String Quartet is based in Toronto and its current members are recent graduates of Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory and the Glenn Gould School. They formed in 2013 at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Chamber Music Residency. In 2016, The Rolston took First Prize at the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition, then went on to receive the Cleveland Quartet Award for the 2018–19 and 2019–20 seasons.
Music in the park

For more information on the exhibits, events, café or gift shop, please go to or call 701-777-4195. Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday; 1 to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

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