Staged in the beautiful Qu'Appelle Valley from 1967 to 1991, the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts offered students instruction in visual arts, crafts, drama, music, and writing. The Saskatchewan Arts Board recognized the need for a permanent school of the arts following the success of its popular summer workshops begun in 1950. Coinciding with this need was the availability of the Fort Qu'Appelle Sanatorium as an artistic retreat. Opened in October 1917, Fort San provided treatment for thousands of people who suffered from tuberculosis. By the mid-1960s, however, the sanatorium was only in partial use because of the successful drive carried out against the disease. With the support of the provincial Liberal government, Fort San was extensively renovated for use as an arts school. Premier Ross Thatcher officially opened the revived facility on July 29, 1967.
Over 1,200 children and adults attended the seven-week program at the School during the summer of 1968. Existing facilities were expanded and improved throughout the 1970s as the popularity of the School increased. Several well-known instructors taught at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts, and many talented artists emerged from the Fort San experience. In 1991, however, the School closed due to a lack of funding.