Dickinson artists one step closer to opening art gallery and science center

DICKINSON, N.D. – Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

A group of artists in Dickinson says the best way to do that is with a space for artists.

The Badlands Art Association has been working to open a permanent art gallery and space for artists to create together.

The good news is they’re now one step closer to making that a reality.

Lydia DeJesus has always surrounded herself with art.

“I’ve had art in my heart my entire life,” she said.

A native of New York City, she moved to Dickinson 20 years ago. DeJesus thought her days of enjoying art were over.

“I thought that was a tradeoff for living here,” DeJesus admitted.

Instead, she discovered an entire art community in her new home. And much to her surprise, DeJesus has also become an artist.

“I just can’t draw,” she said with a laugh.

So, she’s focusing on mixed media, and on immersing herself in the arts. She’s now a board member working to open the Southwest Art Gallery and Science Center.

“Now I feel like I have something to give back and I have something to share,” said DeJesus.

“We’re the only region of the state without an art center and without a space like this for folks, so we have to make it happen,” said Janelle Stoneking, president of the Southwest Art Gallery and Science Center.

Local artists have been dreaming of opening the Southwest Art Gallery and Science Center has for a while, and now they’re a step closer to making it a reality.

An unused space in the lower level of Klinefelter Hall on the campus of Dickinson State University is now home to the Badlands Art Gallery. The exhibits change every six weeks; right now, photography is on display.

“Part of our goal is to expand the arts in southwest North Dakota,” said Stoneking. “This art gallery is the beginning stage of that.”

Because, they say, the arts can benefit everyone.

“For children, it can help with their problem-solving abilities and help them see the world in a different way. And there have been studies that have shown that art classes and art experiences help mitigate some of the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s,” explained Dickinson artist and board member Dustin Young.

And for people like DeJesus, it’s a way to keep a love for art alive, even in rural North Dakota.

The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 2-5 p.m.

The Badlands Art Association is raising money for the Southwest Art Gallery and Science Center

You can learn more about The Badlands Art Association here.

One of their biggest fundraisers will be a gala on November 18. Learn more about an “Evening for the Arts,” here.

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