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Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity

704 1st Ave N, Fargo, ND

Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity is an innovative community art resource at the Plains Art Museum.

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.

The center is housed in the buildings west of the museum and encompasses 25,500 square feet of rehabilitated space. The renovated area is 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 offers studio classes to adults, students in grades K-12, other youth, after-school groups and visiting artist-in-residence.

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

During its inaugural year, the Center for Creativity provided instruction to more than 5,000 Fargo Public School students – mostly in grades kindergarten through five. 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 is 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 includes 11 pottery wheels, four electric kilns and one large gas kiln.

The Plains Art Museum did not take on any debt to complete the $6.4 million center.

The project was completed partly through donations from the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Trust. In December of 2011, 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.”


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