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The North Dakota Museum of Art is the official art museum of the State of North Dakota. It is a private not-for-profit institution managed by its own Board of Trustees. The North Dakota Museum of Art Foundation manages the Museum's endowment. It was adopted in 1981.
The North Dakota Museum of Art
was founded in the mid-1970's as the University of North Dakota Art Galleries, a temporary exhibition space primarily for the benefit of university
students. In 1981 the North Dakota State Legislature designated the University Galleries as North Dakota's official art museum. With its expanded mission
came a new name: the North Dakota Museum of Art.
The first task was to find an appropriate and permanent home. A building fund, established in the late 1970s from private sources, had grown to $1 million. The staff and the Friends of the North Dakota Museum of Art, a non-profit organization established in 1985, raised an additional $400,000. The University of North Dakota agreed to give the Museum a 1907 gymnasium if the Friends raised the additional money needed for the renovation. In September 1989 the building, designed by Harvey Hoshour, an MIT graduate who worked for Mies van der Rohe before establishing his own firm in New Mexico, opened to great public enthusiasm. Artists participated by designing the public restrooms (neon artist Cork Marcheschi), the gift shop and the donor wall (Barton Benes), and the sculpture garden (Richard Nonas).
The North Dakota Museum of Art collects contemporary, international art in all media starting with the early 1970s (the founding of the Museum) onwards. It collects the visual history of the region. It is also assembling a survey collection of contemporary Native American art, starting with the early 1970s when the movement emerged. This does not preclude the acceptance of collections that are outside this focus if they would enrich the visual life of our audience, i.e. a historical textile collection.
The law designating the North Dakota museum of art, formerly the university of North Dakota art galleries, established in 1972 on the university campus in Grand Forks, as the official North Dakota state art museum is found in the North Dakota Revised Statutes, Title 54, Chapter 54-02, Section 54-02-11
STATE EMBLEMS, SYMBOLS, AND AWARDS
54-02-11. State art museum.
The North Dakota museum of art, formerly the university of North Dakota art galleries, established in 1972 on the university campus in Grand Forks, is designated the North Dakota art museum. Unless clear title is otherwise demonstrable, any work of art, artifact, or artistic property located in the state art museum is deemed to be the property of the North Dakota art
museum and is subject to disposition by the North Dakota art museum.