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Midwest State Arts Agencies Convene in Bismarck

by Anne Romens

An assortment of five nametags, stickers, and postcards from North Dakota
Photo Credit: Anne Romens

In early November 2023, North Dakota Council on the Arts welcomed Arts Midwest and fellow Midwest state arts agencies to Bismarck for an engaging summit on our partnership and shared commitment to the region.


A group of eleven people in formal businessware pose for the camera.
Photo Credit: Anne Romens
Arts Midwest and State Arts Agency Directors in the North Dakota State Capitol Rough Rider Gallery. From Left: Anne Romens (Arts Midwest), Torrie Allen (Arts Midwest), Alison Watson (Michigan), Kim Konikow (North Dakota), Miah Michaelson (Indiana), George Tzougros (Wisconsin), David Schmitz (Iowa), Joshua Davis (Illinois), Sue Gens (Minnesota), and Donna Collins (Ohio).

Arts Midwest had the pleasure of gathering with our state arts agency partners in Bismarck, North Dakota from November 1-3, 2023.

Thoughtfully hosted by our partners at the North Dakota Arts Council, this gathering welcomed Executive Directors from Iowa Arts Council, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Indiana Arts Commission, Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, Ohio Arts Council, and Wisconsin Arts Board (we missed you, South Dakota!)

Part of Arts Midwest’s commitment to bringing the nine Midwest state arts agencies together to connect and discuss needs and opportunities across the region, this summit included strong conversations about our programs, services, and goals; delicious local fare; and inspiring visits with local arts organizations.

Highlights from our time together include a daylong conversation at the North Dakota State Capitol with our state partners. 

The group also visited the Heritage Art Tunnel and the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum – currently home to “On the Edge of the Wind: Native Storytellers & the Land” exhibition, curated by North Dakota Council on the Arts State Folkorist Troyd Geist.

Learn more about the exhibition and hear the stories and interviews on the Museum website.  

A green mural under a bridge showing corn, teepees, and buffalo
Photo Credit: Anne Romens
The Heritage Art Tunnel mural by Mel Gordan shows the history of North Dakota’s agricultural and energy industries.

On Friday, we toured downtown Bismarck’s art and gallery scene, stopping at the 5.5 Art Alley, the Bismarck Art & Galleries Association, The Capital Gallery, Bismark Downtown Artist Cooperative, and Gallery 522.

The 5.5 Art Alley is home to a mural that was recently featured in Arts Midwest’s Creativity News Desk.

Our time together was invaluable to our work – deepening our partnership, our understanding of this vast region, and experiencing the vibrant arts community in Bismarck.

We extend a heartfelt thanks to Kim Konikow, Executive Director of the North Dakota Council on the Arts, for such a lively and welcoming time in Bismarck.  


  • A smiling person of light skin tone and shoulder length wavy brown hair, wearing tortoiseshell rimmed glasses, earrings, and an olive green shirt under a black blazer

    Vice President

    Anne Romens (she/her) is Vice President at Arts Midwest. She oversees all fundraising, communication, grants and program initiatives and has been at Arts Midwest for 13 years.