How to Get Involved in the Arts at NDSU

From theatre to music, visual arts to classroom studies, North Dakota State offers ample spaces for you to create and learn in all mediums of the arts, whether you’re a drama kid, band nerd or art buff. 

Lost Boys from Theatre NDSU’s production of ‘Peter Pan’ cluster around Wendy Darling.


Housed in Askanase Auditorium, on the corner of 12th Avenue and Albrecht Boulevard, the theatre arts program at NDSU offers two opportunities for students to flex their inner Shakespeare.

Theatre NDSU is the main program, offering four main stage shows throughout the year. Students are welcome to audition for shows, which range from epic tales to merry musicals and classic plays. If you’re not much for performing, Theatre NDSU also has opportunities for students behind the scenes.

Outside of their main programming, NDSU also offers Newfangled Theatre. Newfangled is an entirely student-run company of students passionate about performing. Newfangled hosts two events each year: the first is 7/11, a project that encourages students to write seven plays, each 11 minutes. The group also hosts a main stage production, which is an entirely new play devised by an NDSU student.

NDSU students also receive free tickets to each show, so if performing isn’t your thing, watching can be the next best thing.

For more information on Theatre NDSU and Newfangled Theatre, visit their pages on the NDSU Performing Arts website.


From lilting voices to blaring brass, opportunities for music at NDSU are everywhere.

The Challey School of Music has plenty of ensembles for students to join. No matter your skill or commitment to music, there’s an ensemble for you. Non-auditioning choral groups include Cantemus and the Statesmen (women’s and men’s chorus, respectively). The Gold Star Marching Band, University Band and Percussion Ensemble are all instrumental, performing groups that also do not require audition.

For a full listing of ensembles, their instructors, audition scheduling and more information, visit the ensemble page on the NDSU Performing Arts website.

There are also recitals, by faculty and students, that allow students an opportunity to see their peers and professors perform. More formal events are also in abundance, including the popular Madrigal Dinners in the holiday season and scattered concerts throughout the year.

Less formally, the Songwriters Guild at NDSU is a student-run organization that gives students a place to write and perform songs within NDSU and the larger Fargo-Moorhead area. To get involved or for more information, contact the group’s president, Emily Lange.

Emma Beatrez, a junior in art, working on one of her inverted nude paintings at Renaissance Hall.

Visual Arts

NDSU boasts a large visual arts building in downtown Fargo that hosts a multitude of classes, gallery spaces and events. Every art form, from printing to painting to pottery, is offered by passionate faculty.

You can find visual arts not only at Renaissance Hall, but also on NDSU campus proper. On the second floor of the Memorial Union is the Memorial Union Gallery, a space for local, national and international artists to display their work. The Memorial Union Gallery not only hosts a variety of exhibits during the school year, but also provides open mic nights, artist receptions and artist events.

The Memorial Union Gallery also has an adjoining shop that sells local artwork during regular business hours. For more information on the Memorial Union Gallery, including current exhibitions, events and hours, visit their page on the Memorial Union website.


It would be remiss if I didn’t point out the wealth of learning opportunities in the arts at NDSU.

Each of the programs I mentioned above, from theatre to vocal to instrumental to visual arts, carries with it a catalogue of classes that goes above and beyond involvement in an activity.

Theatre classes cover topics not only reserved to performance (including Storytelling and Acting) but also expand students’ knowledge of world film, world theatre, costume and stagecraft, as well as learning about history of dramatic literature.

Music at NDSU includes classes that teach fundamentals of music performance, including piano, guitar, strings, wind and percussion. There is also plenty of vocal classes. In addition, students can learn about music history and where pop music comes from.

Finally, the visual arts give hands-on learning on a variety of art mediums. Everything from painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, photography and even graphic design is available through the visual arts department at NDSU. There are also classes on art history, how to think and design creatively and digital media.

NDSU’s Campus Connection page offers a listing of the full catalogue of classes for each program listed above. Students should check to see if certain requirements are necessary for each class and should talk to their advisor when planning a course schedule to ensure it fits their academic plan.

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