On January 1, 1983, the Bismarck Art Association and Elan Gallery consolidated to form the Bismarck Art & Galleries Association. In 1991, Bismarck Art & Galleries purchased the building at 422 East Front Avenue.
The Bismarck Art Association was the beginning of many art activities in North Dakota. In the early 1940’s a few interested people joined together to exhibit paintings of their ancestors and friends. A show was held each fall with artwork and attendance growing. In 1992, the five day event brought 6000 people to view work submitted by 300 artists.
The Bismarck Art Association created the Elsa Forde and Gannon Galleries at Bismarck State College.
The Elan Gallery formed in 1967 when a group of Bismarck artists under the leadership of Connie Gerdts sought a permanent location to study, paint and display their work. The gallery name “Elan” means to go forth with enthusiasm. Elan provided demonstrations and classes year round with special emphasis on children’s classes.
Monthly exhibits of local, regional and national artists provided a wide spectrum of interests. Since 1974, Elan hosted a summer art fair now known as Capital A’Fair.