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Home is Where the Art Is: New Katherine Kilbourne Center celebrates grand opening in downtown Fargo this Sunday

Home is Where the Art Is: New Katherine Kilbourne Center celebrates grand opening in downtown Fargo this Sunday

At last: it’s here!

After years of dreaming and planning, the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity is ready to help young artists’ dreams come true. The center will celebrate its grand opening from noon to 5 p.m. this Sunday in downtown Fargo.

The center — a collaboration between Plains Art Museum, Fargo Public Schools, other area school districts and area artists — is a dynamic studio and exhibition space for learning, discussion and display of creative work.

color entry

The center is housed in the buildings west of the museum and encompasses 25,500 square feet of rehabilitated space. The revitalized area will be connected to the existing Plains Art Museum via a 50-foot Bradley J. Burgum Skybridge. (The late Brad was the son of the center’s namesake, who was a major advocate for youth, art and education in the region.)


The center will offer studio classes to adults, students in grades K-12, other youth, after-school groups and visiting artist residences.


One of its cornerstone clients will be Fargo Public Schools, which means budding, young artists in the Fargo School District will have even more opportunity to discover and polish their gifts. The expanded center — which boasts numerous classrooms and spaces for creating art — will replace the district’s smaller Creative Arts Studio at Clara Barton Elementary.

During its inaugural year, the Center for Creativity will provide instruction to more than 5,000 Fargo Public School students — mostly in grades kindergarten through five. After its first year open, the museum hopes to increase participation to a total of 16,000 students annually, including youth from other school districts.


One stand-out feature of the revamped space will be a re-installation of the ceramics studio of the late Robert Kurkowski, a Fargo-based artist, arts advocate and long-time Creative Arts Studio educator. The center’s Robert Kurkowski Ceramics Wing will include 11 pottery wheels, four electric kilns and — hopefully, as fundraising allows — one large gas kiln.


The Plains Art Museum did not take on any debt to complete the $6.4 million center, said Nicole Ellis, communications manager at Plains Art Museum.


The project was completed partly through donations from the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Trust. This past December, the Burgum family gave $300,000 from the trust toward the museum’s capital campaign, in addition to issuing a $200,000 challenge grant (which was matched with $228,000 from community members, businesses and foundations). These donations were given atop an earlier Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Trust donation of $200,000 in 2008.

“‘K,’ as our mother was known to many, was a believer in the concept that art should be present and accessible for everyone in day-to-day life,” said Doug Burgum, Katherine’s youngest son and Kilbourne Group’s founder. “She undoubtedly would have been a tireless supporter of the Center for Creativity and would be incredibly honored that the center bears her name.”

Sunday’s open house promises to follow through on K’s mission. Families and guests can take a turn on a pottery wheel, make and take T-shirts, create a blinged-out ornament for the Bradley J. Burgum Skybridge, take part in clay-karaoke (clay-raoke, perhaps?), participate in face-painting of artworks, get involved in a scavenger hunt and check out quick-draw workshops.

There also will be prizes, food and a chance to tour nine new exhibitions.

Early birds will be rewarded. The historic ribbon-cutting and dedication will take place at 12:15 p.m. Early guests can lay claim to being the first to cross the Bradley J. Burgum Skybridge into the center and will receive free giveaways.

skyway interior

“It will be fun to see people in here on Sunday,” Ellis said. “That’s really what this is all about.”

And did we mention that it’s all free?

For more information, please call 701.232.3821 or click on We can’t wait to see you there!

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