- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A foundation that’s associated primarily with history is reinventing itself in the growing downtown arts community in Bismarck.

The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation will have offices in the old Woolworth building and use most of the space for a retail art gallery, the Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1polqrJ) reported.

The foundation created and supported the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center for nearly 20 years. But the facility was taken over in the fall by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, relieving the foundation of the heavy lifting.

Foundation president David Borlaug said the gallery with works by known and emerging artists will be a revenue stream to support the interpretive center.

“We hope to combine history, art and culture, but, at the same time, our legacy commitment will always be there,” he said.

Borlaug said the foundation knows “how to do art,” and that it has long been central at the interpretive center.

“With this gallery, we will bring great art to the community,” he said.

A gallery grand opening is planned in the summer with initial exhibits by Minot artist Walter Piehl, who is known for colorful Western abstracts, and the late Gary Miller, whose pieces focus on the Great Plains landscape. Borlaug is looking for founding members willing to chip in $5,000 to get the gallery going.

Eileen Walsh, executive director of Dakota West Arts Council, said it’s exciting that Bismarck’s downtown is turning into a vibrant art neighborhood.

“Bismarck is the capital city of North Dakota and artists from all around the state should have an opportunity to display their art,” Walsh said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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