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An outside view of the Okerstrom Fine Arts building, which houses NMC's Art program
NMC Fine Arts program students conduct a photo shoot

An NMC Fine Arts program student in the studio

An NMC Fine Arts program student painting

Fine Arts

The NMC Art Department is located in the historic and architecturally significant Shirley S. Okerstrom Fine Arts Building located within walking distance of the Dennos Museum Center, northern Michigan's premier art museum. Offering classes in both locations, our Studio Art and Art Appreciation courses are some of the most unique nationwide. Many of our instructors have been recognized locally and nationally for their work as practicing artists and their students have gone on to become distinguished artists, business people and teachers.

Concentration Areas

 At NMC, you can

  • Build a portfolio that will take you to the next level
  • Work toward a successful transfer or career with help from instructors who are also professional artists
  • Take advantage of art-specific scholarships, available to incoming or current NMC students
  • Participate in the Annual Studio Art Exhibition at the Dennos Museum Center
  • Choose from many classes including: Drawing, Life Drawing, Pottery, Painting, Watercolor, Printmaking, Art History, Art Appreciation, Digital Photography, Sculpture, and 2D and 3D Design.


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Art-specific Scholarships:

  • Daniel R. Olson Memorial Art Scholarship for outstanding pottery student, available to incoming or current NMC students
  • Paul Welch Art Department Scholarship, available to incoming or current NMC students
  • Patricia Prout Scholarship, available to photography students entering their second year at NMC

In The News: Art Department Says Goodbye To A Former Faculty Member

Steve Ballance artworkOn October 21, 2020, the NMC Art Department lost former faculty member Steve Ballance. Steve contributed his talents to the art department for many years. He first joined the Northwestern Michigan College faculty in 1971 as a part-time instructor of photography. Then from 1981 through 2000 he taught Photography and Art Appreciation and served as the Head of the Art Department from 1986–2000. He also served as Head of the Physical Education Department(1981–1986) and taught sailing to students at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. His affiliation with the College continued until 2015. His artwork is owned by numerous private collectors. He considers his work with his students as his most important accomplishment. Learn more »