Roots Road Trip: Granary Rural Cultural Center

The temperature has nudged up to 4 below (our thermometer read 22 below when I got up this morning), so I’ve holed up in the house for the day. That makes it a perfect time to inaugurate a new blog feature, the Roots Road Trip.

No, I won’t be talking about a winter Caribbean cruise or a Tuscany wine tour. Instead, once in awhile I’ll highlight interesting and off-the-beaten-path spots in this region, ones that are full of life and culture but likely are not on the typical traveler’s radar.

Our first stop? A small acreage on a gravel road up in northeast South Dakota, the Granary Rural Cultural Center.

My husband and I discovered this rural gem in 2005 when Cory entered a couple of his paintings into the Granary’s abstract art exhibit (Abstract art in South Dakota, you ask? Yes, it does happen!). We were glad to deliver the paintings there ourselves and have the chance to check it out. The Granary campus includes two restored historic buildings–an art gallery and a workshop/performance space–nestled into a couple acres of former farmland. The land has been shaped into an outdoor exhibit space of sorts, highlighting both prairie landscape and outdoor sculptures. The campus is dedicated to nurturing artists, especially young artists, “within small communities in North and South Dakota where access is very limited for artists and the public” (from mission statement here).

We were thoroughly impressed with the place and loved looking through the art exhibit as well as strolling around the grounds soaking up the summer sun and collecting ideas for our own little acreage. I love the fact that the Granary combines the land with art. The people there understand how much of an influence the prairie landscape has on our artists, even on those who don’t depict traditional landscapes. I also love that this isn’t just a museum, only preserving history (not that there’s anything wrong with that–I’m all for historic preservation), but it’s a place that makes history. Its activities engage Dakotans in creating culture and community. We need more places like that here on the plains.

Click on the photo below for a few more pictures from our trip to the Granary a couple years ago.

Granary Rural Cultural Center

Click here for a virtual trip to the Granary via their informative website. And if you’re in northeastern South Dakota this year, take a detour north of Highway 12 and see the good work they do at the Granary for yourself.


About EMH

Forty-something. South Dakotan. Mother to 11-year-old K.L. Wife to Cory. Lutheran pastor. Novice organic gardener. Sustainable living aspirer.
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One Response to Roots Road Trip: Granary Rural Cultural Center

  1. flyingtomato says:

    May I also recommend the sculpture garden just east off the Elkton/Sanai exit (127) from interstate 29, about 5 miles south of Brookings? I was planning on blogging on that little gem later on this week…thanks for this post–I will have to check it out next time I’m that far north!

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