It was a successful day painting in the park. I had a lot of really nice people stop by to see me. One from as far away as Philadelphia, some from South Dakota, some near Rolla, some from Bottineau. Overall it was a good turn out. The afternoon was spent doing some painting and doing a lot of talking to people, which was nice after spending so much time alone this week. I seriously love the kind of people who come to campgrounds like this. It’s like you just took all the nicest people there are and put them all together and everyone is so happy. The hardest part of the afternoon was dealing with painting in the wind, but I made it work.
The one thing that struck me after talking to some wonderful ladies from a rural area, is the lack of art education in rural North Dakota. It is something I have not really thought that much about. I did not grow up in big cities, but the towns I grew up in, which include Dickinson, ND, Glendive, MT and Williston, ND, all had art education for me. I actually think one of the benefits I got from moving and switching schools is the many art perspectives I was exposed to.
I did not go to college for art. My only education is from my junior high and high school experiences. That is where I learned important fundamentals like composition and color theory. It is also where I got to try all different kinds of mediums until I found the one I loved the most. Art class and art club are where I found my friends. Without those experiences, I don’t know where I would have even started with working on art, or if it is something that would have continued through into my adult life. For me painting has been such an enriching and rewarding activity. In the long North Dakota winters, working on my artwork is the one thing that gets me through! I wish I had a good answer for how to bring more art into rural schools. Is it at all practical to have a shared traveling art teacher? Is that even safe with how dangerous our roads can be in the winter? Does anyone have the funding for something like that? What is the answer? Until we find it, keep reading those books, keep watching those YouTube videos, keep studying other peoples’ artwork and have fun ordering all kinds of art supplies! I highly recommend checking out dickblick.com! Don’t be afraid to try new things.
The final activity of my week was our big group art project. We had a great turnout! I heard the count was 49 people. It was perfect because I had 50 pieces of art for everyone to help me with. Everyone got to make a piece of what turned into a 5’x10’ piece of art featuring all 12 of the endangered species from North Dakota. We put it all together like a giant puzzle and it turned out great. Thankfully all my years in Girl Scouting helped prepare me for doing such a big group project. I couldn’t have done it without help from the park staff! They are so great to work with.
In the morning I head home. I am looking forward to the soft cushioned feeling of my memory foam topper on my Tempur-pedic bed! It sounds like my dog has been a little depressed with me gone and I have missed her. I have missed the humans at my house as well, of course! This has been an amazing experience, but it is time to go back to my regular routine.
I wish I could stay for just another day or two so that I could enjoy the park as a guest and not as someone up here working. I would have loved to have done more hiking. It is a nice cool calm night and a campfire and a glass of wine sounds really nice. Instead I will go pack and start cleaning out the cabin. This is been a great experience and when I hope to repeat someday!