Northwest Art Center has a lot to offer art

Shyanne Belzer/MDN The Northwest Art Center’s gallery entrance is placed on the south side of the Gordon B. Olson Library at Minot State University.

Northwest Art Center at Minot State University has a newer gallery, but that hasn’t stopped it from already offering unique shows through hard work.

The gallery opened its doors in January, taking a portion of what used to be the basement of the Gordon B. Olson Library at Minot State and turning it into a modern art exhibit. Avis Veikley, who is the gallery director, is proud of the new gallery and all it has to offer.

“We held our first show in January. We got the keys about 3 days before school started for the semester, so we quickly got things going,” Veikley said.

Formed into three areas, there is the front area with hung art and a few places to sit, an internal gallery, and an area that will eventually hold Native American artifacts.

The internal gallery, the Walter Piehl Gallery, is temperature and climate controlled. This will allow the gallery to host artistic works that may require special climates and opening the door to far more options than other gallerys may have.

The same can be said for the area of the gallery that is planned to hold Native American artifacts. While they are prepared for display, a wall of glass cases that are climate controlled as well are waiting.

The Walter Piehl Gallery was named after a professor at the college. Piehl is a nationally known artist and has worked at the college for many years.

The gallery is a part of the North Dakota Art Gallery Association, a group of about a dozen galleries from around the state. The group meets once a year to go through portfolios of a variety of artists and plan on different cooperative shows.

During the month of March they held two shows that displayed a large variety of works. One focused on a travelling show called North Dakota Art50. This show is in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the North Dakota Council on the Arts and displays the art of 50 artists around North Dakota. The second was art created by the art faculty at Minot state.

On April 19 they held their grand opening of the gallery and began the showcasing of two new shows. The show’s focus was to give guests and art viewers the opportunity to see what the Art Education department has to offer through the art that was created.

One thing that Viekley really enjoys is that some of the shows to come will display art created by artists from around the world, saying a few have art from artists in Canada, Australia, and even Japan through ad requests that shows will put out for new artists online.

“I’m excited about some of the international shows because they expand our reach a little bit,” she said.

Since the gallery works not only to care for the art and the planning, but also placing and putting together the shows they receive, Veikley has a couple of student helpers to help ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Veikley graduated from Minot State University with a major in music and a minor in art. For her, music and art has always been a part of her life and something she wanted to do.

“I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid and I’ve been doing music since I was a little kid,” she said.

She began working at MSU part time as an adjunct professor in the music department. Then, in 2006, she moved on to full time and also began to help out with the galleries around the campus. She enjoys what she does and spends a lot of time working on bring the art to the students of Minot State and the community.

The Northwest Art Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. When they hold special events such as receptions or exhibits, they will take place in the evenings typically from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

If interested in special events, they are always posted and publicized ahead of the event on Minot State University’s online events calendar.

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