Northwest Arts Center Grand Opening set for April
MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University will commemorate completion of the new Northwest Arts Center, the Walter Piehl Gallery, and the Native American Artifact Collection with a grand opening celebration from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday, April 19, in the lower level of Gordon B. Olson Library. The dedication program will start at 6:15 p.m.
Mandan-Hidatsa storyteller/musician Keith Bear, New Town, N.D., and cowboy poet/singer-songwriter D.W. Groethe, Bainville, Mont., will participate in the dedication of the center’s Walter Piehl Gallery and the new exhibit space for MSU’s Native American collection.
Piehl, who recently retired from a 50-year career teaching art at MSU, is donating a major body of his work to the center’s permanent collection. The grand opening exhibit, “Retrospective: Covering 1962-2018,” is an overview of his work.
“As far as having a gallery with my name on it, I didn’t push it, but if they wanted to do it and thought it would help in promoting the art center, I was happy to go along with that,” Piehl said. “I am also happy to be donate a major collection of my work as a permanent display in small parts and large parts here at the center. There is some pride involved with having my name on it, but it’s more of my way of saying thank you to the university that has been good to me for, now, going on 48 years. They have encouraged my work and have been helpful in promoting my work outside of the class room.”
Heavily influenced by his early experiences on the rodeo circuit, Piehl’s works have earned the admiration of collectors across the United States and abroad.
Piehl has said he didn’t have access to art museums when he was growing up in rural North Dakota and that he became a teacher not only to pursue his love of painting, but to teach and share his appreciation of art with others. With the creation of the new Northwest Arts Center, MSU now has a museum-quality exhibit space accessible to students, area residents, and people throughout region.
“For our region to have a facility like this one that passes the muster of being a major museum with the kind of climate controls to receive first-class exhibitions was very important to me,” Piehl added. “That is the real importance of a project like this.”
The 6,730 square-foot facility is transitioning to be the permanent home for the Northwest Arts Center, replacing the gallery located in MSU’s Hartnett Hall. The new gallery, display cases, and storage areas are climate controlled, providing protection for MSU’s permanent collections and artifacts. Climate control also makes it possible for the Center to exhibit national and international touring exhibits.
“This new arts center will help MSU further promote the arts and be a wonderful source of pride, not just for students, faculty, staff, and friends of MSU, but a great source of pride for Minot and our entire region,” said MSU President Steven Shirley. “Further, within this new center, I can think of no one more deserving than Walter Piehl to feature with a gallery and addition to the permanent collection. What an exciting new addition to the Minot State University campus!”
“It’s such a step forward from what we have had here,” added Northwest Arts Center Director Avis Veikley. “We were limited in what we could have as shows in the past because of the space. We now have a climate controlled exhibit area and just the shear space we have now is great. I have more lights than I’ve ever had. There is a great reception area for entertaining people, and we are much more accessible to the general public here than where we were before.”
The Northwest Arts Center will also be the permanent display space for MSU’s premier Native American artifacts collection, including the Ralph Hubbard Collection, the Harold Robinson Collection, the Clarence Parker Collection, the Wilson Collection, and the Miller-Tibbs Collection, and as well as other MSU art collections
The gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Parking and visitor entrance are on the south side of the library. Exhibits at the Northwest Arts Center are free and open to the public.
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