Here you will find skilled and supportive faculty and an arts environment that is intellectually and creatively stimulating.

We're here to help you learn and grow through a mix of foundational study and explorative research. Our faculty provide the environment and tools necessary to help you along your path of exploration and visual problem-solving as you discover new ideas, creative insights and imaginative expressions. In addition to drawing and design courses, you'll take four semesters of art history and have an opportunity to explore myriad mediums during your academic tenure here.

Art and artists thrive here. Northern is a strong liberal arts university with the resources and facilities to offer you excellent educational opportunities in the visual arts. Our undergraduate programs are taught by dedicated faculty who help you find your place in the world of art and reach your full potential. ​


Artists create visions and insights that mirror how we live and engage each other within a culture. Through a keen sense of visual acuity, intuition and concentration, we create visual insights into problems and expressions that are shared with the community so life can be more informed and meaningful. In a continual search for quality, the work guides us toward revealing new ideas, creative insights and imaginative expressions of what it means to be human. We provide the environment and the tools to help our students along this path of exploration.

A degree from Northern's art department prepares you for careers in graphic design, visual fine arts and art education.

Senior Art Exhibitions

Art students: Planning your senior art exhibition? Contact the School of Fine Arts at 605-626-2497 with questions - and don't forget to fill out the Art Exhibition Form so the Communications and Marketing Department can send a press release on your behalf!

Northern Art Galleries

Visiting Artist Program

Clinics, Camps and Workshops

Sculpture Program

First-Rate Facilities

Northern has one of the nicest art studios in the state, and seniors have the opportunity to work in a private studio. Tour our Mac lab in Dacotah Hall or our Arts Studio in Spafford Hall.

Other Facilities

Students will find ample space and equipment to explore art education, design, art history, advertising design, computer and design, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, printmaking, and mixed media and fiber arts.


The spacious Spafford Studios area features natural light, hardwood floors, and spaces for design, drawing, and painting and printmaking labs, with semi-private studio spaces for junior and senior art students.


The Spafford Studios are also home to the ceramics, sculpture and printmaking studio classrooms. The ceramics lab features four gas kilns and three large capacity electric kilns. The ceramics area features a generous work area with eight ceramics wheels.

The sculpture area features MIG welders, power equipment for woodworking, a bronze/metal foundry and well equipped hand tools.

The printmaking area features a Takach Intaglio press and Graphic Chemical Lithography press. The print lab offers traditional lithographic stones, tools for etching, relief and monotype methods, and technology equipment for digital printmaking.


Graphics and photography students will find that the newly renovated Dacotah Hall Design Studio features spacious graphics classrooms offering iMac workstations and professional Adobe Creative Cloud graphics software such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects.

The graphics area also features high-end printers and digital drawing and video production equipment, including Apple's Final Cut Pro editing software.


The Dacotah Hall Design Studio also offers a modern darkroom and chemical room, eight film enlargers and facilities for processing black and white film. Digital photography is well supported with cameras, iMacs and high-quality inkjet printers. Students will also find a state-of-the-art lighting studio with a green screen for video and digital imaging applications.

Our Mission

The mission of the Northern State University Department of Art is to provide educational experiences and quality instruction in the understanding, production, and performance of the arts.  These educational activities are intended to fit the needs of students seeking general and liberal education goals, as well as those planning to prepare for teaching or professional careers in the arts.  Within the framework of the School of Fine Arts, the Department of Art serves as the visual arts component, whose primary function is specifically towards the education and training of students majoring in art.