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New North Valley Arts Council space will be above downtown restaurant

Things seem to be coming together for a new arts center proposed for downtown Grand Forks.

The North Valley Arts Council, the organization behind the push for the Arts Creation Center, received a $90,000 grant earlier this month from the North Dakota Department of Commerce's tourism division.

The center would provide space for organizations to make, rehearse, perform and share art of all forms.

The grant joins another $75,000 grant awarded to the group last year. The NoVAC's executive director, Marie Strinden, said several grant applications have been submitted to national and state organizations, and staff members are in the process of writing more.

The grants would pay for part of a $920,000 remodel of a second floor 6,000 square-foot space at 22 S. Third Street -- above Sanders 1907 restaurant.

The remainder of the cost would be covered by private donations.

More space

The center's creation will give the Grand Forks art community something its members have been lacking for quite some time -- more room for activities.

"Nobody has any space," Strinden said.

Preliminary floor plans show two performance or rehearsal, studio and classroom spaces, but input is still being sought from community members on what should be accommodated by the center.

"We know what the space will look like, but we want to make sure the programming will match," Strinden said. "We're still looking for input from community partners.... We want this to be a space everyone can use."

The classroom is expected to hold up to 50 students. Community and university groups have expressed interest in using the space.

The center would also become the home of NoVAC's new offices and a central hub for contacting art groups.

Strinden said the community could place calls to any art group at the center instead of contacting individual offices that may not be staffed the entire day. Mail for groups also could be sent to the art center.


The need for an arts center is one that dates back decades, according to Strinden.

"There has always seemed to be a space crunch," she said.

Past attempts to create a similar center had not been successful, but the most recent effort has two of its four phases fully funded.

During the start of its design process, Strinden told the Herald last October floor plans had been drawn up for 16 buildings.

NoVAC selected the space, and Strinden said Sanders 1907 owner Kim Holmes is excited to have them as upstairs neighbors. A 20-year lease with the option to renew was signed for the space.

A number of construction projects still need to be done before the organization moves into its new place.

Demolition work in the space has started with the installation of new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems to follow.

The remodel would include part of the restaurant downstairs. A secure, private entrance from the street would be added, and an elevator would be installed to make the center accessible to the physically disabled.

A tentative completion date of 2015 has been set for the project.

Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1108 or send email to