New facility coming

Empty building space in downtown Grand Forks chosen for new Art Creation Center.

The empty space above Sanders in downtown Grand Forks will soon be the location of the new Art Creation Center. Photo by Chester Beltowski/The Dakota Student. 

A new art center that could provide gallery and studio space for UND artists is being planned for downtown Grand Forks.

The Arts Creation Center would be run by the North Valley Arts Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the arts community in Grand Forks.

The facility will include five classrooms and artist studios, a gallery and lounge space, plus two large rehearsal and performance spaces for music and theater, according to floor plans. It is tentatively scheduled to open in January 2015, above the Sanders 1907 restaurant.

“We can always use it,” UND associate ceramics art professor Wesley Smith said. “We can always use more spaces for people to make art.”

UND is interested in using the center for classes during the day. Local non-profit organizations will have access to it during the evening. NoVAC’s office will also move into the center, and its goal is to emphasize that it will be available for use by everyone in the community for free.

“I can’t wait to see all the people who come in, and for it to provide an equal opportunity for young minds to pursue art,” Grand Forks based graphic designer David Combs said.

NoVAC also will be organizing all-ages classes at the center, for anyone in the community interested in improving their art skills. Its classes will not be affiliated with UND, so they will not count toward college credit.

“They’ve asked me to teach there,” Combs said. “I’ll be teaching painting, hopefully.”

Combs is a recent graduate from the Art Institute in Minneapolis. He enjoys a variety of art forms such as drawing, painting, graphic design and photography.

Smith predicts plenty of UND’s art students will use the studio space, except those needing “heavy equipment, such as those doing ceramics and metal-smithing.” He said painters and drawers will probably be the center’s biggest users.

The Arts Creation Center will feature a gallery and lounge space in its entrance, according to a floor plan on its website. This is something desperately needed, according to Smith.

“A NoVAC gallery would be amazing,” Smith said. “We have a teeny-tiny gallery for students here (of UND’s Hughes Fine Arts Center) and it is highly overbooked.”

The new center’s completion will depend on fundraising. With a goal of raising $750,000 — including construction cost — NoVAC is searching for investment partners and anyone interested in helping spread the word.

“NoVAC sponsors a lot of things in the community,” Smith said. “It’s good that the new center will be run by a long-standing organization.”

Jaye Millspaugh is the multimedia editor for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].