The Arts Culture Map also showcases some of the area’s favorite attractions and landmarks.
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Arts and Culture Map

The Bismarck-Mandan Arts and Culture Map came about through talks between the Dakota West Arts Council (DWAC) and the Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau (BMCVB) in the spring of 2021. The BMCVB was working to spotlight local artisans in the Visitor Information Center’s Genuine Dakota Gift Shop (located at 1600 Burnt Boat Drive, Bismarck, ND 58503) and through that, the idea to have a local artist collaborate with the BMCVB to create a map, highlighting the area arts & culture sites, came to fruition. The goal is to raise awareness of the vast number of arts and culture offerings in and around Bismarck-Mandan and to remind the community of, and expose visitors to, those amazing locations.

About the Artist

Nicole Gagner Painting
The 2021 Bismarck-Mandan Arts and Culture Map was designed and painted by local artist, Nicole Gagner. Nicole is an artist living and working in Bismarck, North Dakota. She studied in Georgia and California and has traveled extensively, painting and drawing around the world, including painting in Utah, New Zealand and at a Voices of the Wilderness Artist Residency in Selawik, Alaska, but she is delighted to be living and working on the northern prairies again.

Nicole works as a teaching artist with a wide variety of students of all ages and abilities, from the very young to elders in care facilities, and all in between. Her work began with VSA ND and Options Community Services, bringing art to students living with disabilities, and that has informed her practice as a teaching artist and the belief that art is for everyone.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, Nicole has worked to take residencies and workshops online in a variety of ways, including live video classes, instructional YouTube videos and any other way to bring art to her community, including completing a collaborative mural while maintaining safe social distancing. She started the Bismarck Mandan Studio Virtual Crawl to connect artists to an audience while everyone stayed safe at home and has also started Meadowlark Mercantile Art vending machines, as a new way for artists to sell their creations; one is located in the Bismarck-Mandan Visitor Information Center’s entrance. She was selected as a Change Network Cohort for 2021 and was selected to participate in the Springboard for the Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute.

Nicole is a passionate community development organizer and rural arts activist, influenced by a childhood of watching people connect over creative pursuits like woodcarving, lacemaking, quilting, pickle making and other ways of preserving historic traditions and outlets for self-expression. Humans are innately creative and want to make and create, and there is an immeasurable value to encourage those unspeakable ways of expression to foster connection. This has led her to become a board member of BisMarket, the regional farmers market, and has manifested in collaborative artist residencies and facilitating the organization of a collaborative touring art show with the BisMan Writers Guild called The Art of Writing.

More information about Nicole’s artwork can be found at or follow @PainterNicole on Instagram and Facebook to see what she is up to next. Information about Meadowlark Mercantile can be found by following @MeadowlarkMercantileArt on Facebook or Instagram and information about the Bismarck Mandan Studio Crawl can be found at

Here is Nicole with her large outdoor mural, Grandma's Pickles, in downtown Bismarck's art Alley 5.5.