Photos by Hillary Ehlen, Meg Spielman Peldo and Jon Offutt
Downtown Fargo has recently welcomed with open arms a brand new artist collective, Dakota Fine Art. Located on the first floor of the historic Dakota Business College, this new venture was proposed by a talented group of nine local and regional artists. Together, they have established a must-see destination on South 8th Street. Now, you can see how they have set up their space and learn how they intend to transport unique pieces straight from artists’ hands into your home.
The Making of Dakota Fine Art
After several members of the group proposed the idea of starting a new artist collective in Downtown Fargo, they began reaching out to other artists who they thought might be willing to join in their endeavor. The group of nine is comprised of artisanal furniture maker Steve Revland, glassblower Jon Offutt, printmaker Eric A. Johnson, woodturner Dale Cook, watercolor and mosaic artist Janet Flom, photographer Meg Spielman Peldo, painter Karen Bakke, ceramist Annette Marchand and painter and printmaker Susan Morrissey. Each individual is a co-owner of Dakota Fine Art.
In addition to their works, Dakota Fine Art will also host the work of guest artists on rotation. “Dakota Fine Art is a unique collective of nine local and regional artists who all own and operate the gallery space together. We also represent other artists on a rotating basis, providing fresh work constantly,” said Spielman Peldo. For their grand opening on May 31, those guest artists included Walter Piehl, David Norstad, and Michael Dunn.
At Dakota Fine Art, the artwork is enhanced by the historic nature of physical space in which it is displayed. Revland has been close with the building owner, Lee Watkins, for many years, so it was only natural that they chose this location for the collective. When asked what he thought of this new arrangement, Watkins said, “Fargo is changing, and a lot of it is for the better. Certainly the development of Downtown is unique.”
Making Connections with the Makers
Because the collective is owned by the artists, it gives the public an opportunity to meet and purchase art directly from the artists. It also gives the artists an opportunity to work directly with designers and decorators in a more affordable way because there is no middle man.
“Our goal is to provide a beautiful space that brings art buyers together with art and artists,” Spielman Peldo said. She then compared the “Support Local Art” movement to the farm-to-table trend that is gaining popularity in the FM area. “People here care about supporting local, whether it’s farm-to-table dining or making connections with regional art makers to enhance their home and businesses environment,” she explained. The artists also noted that walking into Dakota Fine Art should feel like walking into any downtown boutique.
2D and 3D Displays
The collective features a wide variety of 2D and 3D artwork exhibited on rolling walls and glass display cases. Offutt noted that their placement was intended to create a sense of cohesiveness and continuity throughout the space. Bakke added, “We have a really nice variety of artwork. Nobody does the same thing, and I think it’s a good group of artists.”
Dakota Fine Art’s grand opening was held on May 31. The event was well attended and the artists received a warm welcome from the community. “We love the energy in Downtown Fargo and look forward to bringing buyers together with meaningful art,” Spielman Peldo concluded.
Dakota Fine Art
11 8th St. S Fargo, ND