Nestled into a cornfield in northeast South Dakota, the Granary Rural Cultural Center is a place to celebrate the beauty of both art and nature. Here’s a look at what visitors will find when they take a trip to this arts oasis the middle of the countryside.
The Granary Rural Cultural Center certainly is rural. Turning north at Groton takes visitors down county roads, gravel roads, and finally to a set of buildings, sculptures and trees nestled in a field. Lora Schaunaman is the Program Director for the Granary. She says the center is the brainchild of the late John Sieh, who grew up watching his mother paint every evening.
“Just that creative outlet for her was so memorable to him,” Schaunaman says. “That he was inspired that ‘someday,’ he imagined in the back of his mind, ‘when I retire from all of my jobs, I’m going to create a place for rural artists to celebrate the arts.’”
Schaunaman says Sieh began two decades ago with the granary building on his grandparents’ homestead. That space has been added on to, and is used for rotating art exhibits during the Granary’s open season. Another building houses events and historical exhibits. The center is also designed to get people outside. Visitors can take the “Walk With Dakota” path and view sculptures representing the history and heritage of the area.
“This is a place that’s dedicated, in the country,” Schaunaman says. “Nature is such a huge part of this campus. These sculptures are made to be viewed outdoors. And not just outdoors, but in appreciation of nature. There are many kinds of different trees planted here. There are many kinds of landscaping that have been done including a meditation hill.”
Schaunaman says some people may view the remoteness of the granary as a negative. But she says its rural aspect is part of the charm of the place. There’s no traffic, no noise, and few people, making it a beautiful place to look at art and create art.
You can visit the Granary's website for more information.