The Plains Art Museum sees itself as more than a collection of art; it is a civic, social and educational organization that integrates art and public life to make its community more resilient and welcoming.
Museums are traditionally perceived as institutions that are focused on gallery collections, galas and lectures. The Plains Art Museum acts as a dynamic and creative space that expands this traditional mindset. Initiatives reflect the whole community’s needs for education offerings, exhibitions, events and civic collaborations.
The Museum knew about the community’s need for updated gallery space, studios and art-making equipment. To find a solution, it partnered with the public school system, the parks district and other stakeholders. The group opened the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity, a facility that now serves thousands of people each year. The Museum uses a similar approach through partnerships and programs with Native, Sudanese and Kurdish communities; the results build visibility for many of Fargo’s cultural traditions. A diverse group of high school students have a dedicated place in the Museum’s programs thanks to an artist-designed garden and the Buzz Lab, a program that teaches participants about the importance of pollinators.
The Plains Arts Museum helps Fargo see art as a way to solve problems and it hopes to expand the definition of what an art museum can be across the region and beyond.