Having read your post, my first suggestion would be to really ask yourself what your purpose in creating this project is. If it's to learn about game development, then I'd ditch most concerns about the legal stuff at the door as it will just get in the way of making games. If learning is not your goal, and if you haven't already developed several games for yourself, I'd suggest changing your goal. Even within the industry, the hit/flop ratio for active industry professionals with years of experience is rather low.
As a programmer, your job is to get good at what you do, so that you can produce great quality code on any project at the drop of a hat (more or less). So stop worrying and get to programming.
what do I need to know about NDA's?
There are multiple articles around the web about why getting people to sign a non-disclosure agreement isn't really necessary or even a good idea, outside of the traditional Publisher/Developer relationship. So I wouldn't worry about it.
I'm a programmer looking for an artist but anything the artist would create for said game I want to remain property of said game and not have the artist be able to some day say to me if I use their art they would sue me or something.
What incentive does an artist have to provide you with artwork for free, without getting any say in its use? This is not legal advice, and I am not qualified to provide it, but unless you sign a contract with someone you are working with, you are entered into a Defacto partnership - meaning 50/50, or whatever any lawsuit comes out to. So basically, if by some fluke chance of luck, you end up making truckloads of money with your product, why WOULDN'T the artist want their artwork in your game? If you're not making money with it, does it really matter so much?
I want to work as a team with someone that's interested in the project I'm doing, but I also don't want to lose potentially months of work if the artist one day up and quits and tells me I'm not allowed to use the art they created for the game.
Since you would just be losing the artwork, you wouldn't be losing any time, just the artwork. You could always find another artist to produce the artwork for you if you wanted. Or you could program the game in such a way that does not require great artwork (and plenty of successful indies have done just that).
So in summary - stop worrying and get to coding!