Medora: Art Destination or Bust!

The first week of June was full of painting activities for Medora visitors. The first ever “Spur Your Inner Artist with Drawing and Watercolor” 4 -day workshop was held in the Bill and Jane Life Skills Center from June 5-8th.

Taught by Wahpeton, ND native and visual artist/veteran teacher Barbara Benda Nagle, this class was a creative vacation for those who may benefit from the inspiration of the Badlands. Many in the class signed up for the Stay and Paint package, which included the workshop, lodging and the Medora Musical. At least half of the students classified themselves as beginner artists yet they all progressed rapidly through the process from drawing to painting.

Barbara summarized the class of 12 students this way: “The artists in this group came with a variety of abilities and perspectives and left with a fresh way to see their worlds through lights and darks, colors, and through challenging themselves by designing the rectangle instead of copying photographs.”

Spur Your Inner Artists 2017 showing their favorite workshop pieces.

Barbara held an art exhibit at the Von Hoffman through July 2nd, and met with Medora visitors as they came through the exhibit. This exhibit focused on western North Dakota themes, such as bison, horses, rodeo, and included a portrait of Cowboy Lyle Glass. Three years ago, at the Hot Air Balloon Rally, Benda Nagle saw Cowboy Lyle and the sun was hitting “just right” on the side of his face, so she asked if she could take a photograph for a painting.  Lyle obliged, and he was pleasantly surprised to see his likeness hanging on the wall of the Von Hoffman House.

Barbara provided art demonstrations before the Medora Musical June 7-10 and July 1st and 2nd. Even Teddy and Edith Roosevelt stopped by and purchased a small painting of a Meadowlark, Teddy’s favorite bird.

On June 9 and 10th, Barbara and twin sister, Beverly Benda, provided “Tip and Twirl with the Twins”, free watercolor lessons for children at the Von Hoffman and the Wind Park.  Over 75 children participated, including a Girl Scout troop. They “registered” by signing their name on the giant bison poster.



Would YOU like to partake in these art activities in the future? Two workshops are already in the works for the upcoming year, with the first taking place before the Cowboy Christmas, December 8 – 10. If you would like to be on the mailing list for the workshops, please email or visit Barbara’s website

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