Published on September 2nd, 2015 | by AberdeenMagazine
A Legacy of Rural Dedication
Come See the 2015 Granary Harvest of Arts Exhibition
We in the Dakotas take pride in a strong work ethic. Whether it requires waking at sun-up to start daily farm chores, grading students’ homework until “The Late Show” airs, or returning home from a work day wearing more paint than the commissioned oil painting itself, we rural Americans will go to painstaking lengths to complete a job – and complete it well. We’ll accomplish each job so well that we will be able to attach our name to it with pride. Why do we bother with such strain? Like those before us, our current way of life was built on the legacies of previous, dedicated generations; we’re leaving something better for the future. Such was John Sieh’s legacy and vision.
Sieh’s mother – a farmer’s housewife – would spend her nights painting with watercolors after daily farm life had concluded. Not only was the farmstead left as a legacy to her son, but her love for art as well. The Granary Rural Cultural Center sits on the original Sieh farmstead. A gift to the people of Brown County, Sieh provided the perfect location to mesh traditional prairie life and current cultural events. The Granary provides an environment where artists, non-artists, locals, tourists, and people of all ages can gather together to enjoy and appreciate the arts.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting with Lora Schaunaman, Chairperson for The Granary Harvest of Arts Exhibition. “Do you believe that living in an area with strong ties to traditional culture makes it more challenging for artists to express new ideas?” I inquired, “…Such as displaying fiber wall art to audiences that may be more familiar with traditional quilt patterns (where function negates beauty)?” Schaunaman’s response resonated with Sieh’s vision. “His vision was always: do art, be inspired, enjoy viewing, attend classes, attend workshops, to teach about art and culture of the prairie… and to keep people who aren’t even artistically inclined to come appreciate art.”
Artists in all areas of specialty were encouraged to submit pieces for the juried Granary Harvest of Arts Exhibition. “We’re hoping to make this an annual event. Last year, we started small and hope to gain momentum each year,” explains Schaunaman. Artists could submit in five categories: Painting, Drawing, Photography, Mixed media/Fiber arts, and/or 3-Dimensional. If 2014’s “small start” of 60+ pieces of work is any indication of 2015’s show, the late Sieh and his mother’s legacy is sure to be a strong one in the arts.
More information on submission specifications can be found online at: http://brown.sd.us/node/436 or by calling the Granary Rural Cultural Center at: (605) 715-7117. The Granary is a non-profit organization.
Who: All Ages
What: Harvest of Arts Fine Art Exhibition
Where: Granary Rural Cultural Center, 40161 128th St., Groton, SD 57445
When: July 25 – September 27, 2015
Why: To provide Dakota and Minnesota area artists a unique space to display a range of works that the whole family can enjoy.