Bismarck is about to get a whole lot more "artsy"!  According to a press release, the North Dakota Capitol Grounds Planning Commission gave its final approval for the Heritage Art Tunnel project, an initiative to establish art within the existing pedestrian tunnel under US Highway 83/State Street connecting the North Dakota Heritage Center to Myron Atkinson Park.  How fun?!  I think this is Awesome.

Professional artist Melissa Gordon has led the art development and will lead the implementation process. The art approved by the North Dakota Capitol Grounds Planning Commission was developed based on the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction’s North Dakota Studies curriculum to depict the evolution of North Dakota’s two main industries: energy and agriculture.

“The timelines will start on the eastern end of the tunnel with prehistoric time and end to the west with modern-day aspects.” artist Melissa Gordon states in her artist’s statement regarding the project.

The approved art has been reviewed by the North Dakota Capitol Grounds Planning Commission, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, North Dakota Department of Agriculture, Bismarck State College Energy Center, and the North Dakota Historical Society.

The Heritage Art Tunnel Project began in May of 2019 when a partnership between Dakota West Arts Council and Bismarck-Mandan Chamber EDC Leadership Program participants was established to develop the project. Further information on the project can be found at

The project has received a $10,000 grant, and a capital campaign has begun for the project now that approval has been granted. The next step is to seek a permit from the North Dakota Department of Transportation and continue to raise funds for the project.



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