Medora to host poetry gathering, art gallery May 27-28

The Badlands will be teeming with artistic beauty this weekend. Medora's Community Center is hosting the 2023 Western Art Showcase and Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering this Saturday and Sunday.

Medora sign
Medora sign.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

MEDORA, N.D. — The Badlands will be teeming with artistic beauty this weekend, with paintings on display and cowboy poetry to be heard. Medora’s Community Center is hosting the 2023 Western Art Showcase from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 27 and 28, put on by the Badlands Art Association. The 37th annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering will be held there on the same days.

More art opportunities

Lizzy Henderson is the BAA Community Outreach Coordinator. She will assist in showcasing for sale the work of more than 20 North Dakota artists, photography from the late cowboy Lyle Glass, along with a vendor who does leatherwork and will offer a live demonstration. The artwork displayed will generally have a Western theme. Additionally, Jacob Krein will be playing live music on his guitar. Krein runs the Hebron Historical Museum and Pioneer House.

“Medora holds a special place in my heart. And I do think that some people overlook some of the activities because it’s a lot of tourism,” Henderson said, adding that she spent a few summers working there. “So to me, as an artist I feel like it's really important that rural North Dakota can grow our art community, because compared to the rest of the country, we're a little behind when it comes to the art scene… I've been doing everything I can from my position to try to get younger people involved, more people involved and people who are passionate.”

Paint and sip Henderson
Henderson uses her art skills to host paint and sip classes that raise funds for nonprofit organizations.
Contributed / Lizzy Henderson

She seeks to bring greater variety in the cultural activities on the Western Edge.

“I was born and raised in North Dakota. Then I left, traveled and lived in Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and whatnot. Living in a rural community, I feel like a lot of people get into the same patterns,” she said. “They go to the same bars, First on First. There's just not a lot to do here and I want to make more things to do more art opportunities. If I had the time I'd do the music stuff too. But there just aren’t enough minutes in the day.”


She’s been putting this plan into action, hosting paint and sip classes to raise money for the BAA and provide locals with a fun artistic learning experience.

One of Henderson's many pieces, she calls this one 'Space Cowboy,' and said his name is Maurice, a clever play on the popular Steve Miller Band classic. "Most of my art is inspired by music," she said.
Contributed / Lizzy Henderson

Sharing and Preserving Cowboy Culture

The daytime poetry shows are free, while admission to the evening shows is $20. Saturday will feature “Ask a Cowboy Poet” from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and cowboy gospel singing at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Each will be followed by a program from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and evening shows at 7:30 p.m.

Lowman ranches 20 miles northeast of Sentinel Butte. He said his heart belongs to his family, his animals and preserving the Western culture. He’s been hosting this gathering since 1987. He said it all traces back to his Badlands childhood with his brothers, when their father would sing them old cowboy songs. Lowman has published six books of his poems and is a member of the ND Cowboy Hall of Fame.

“It's an old cowboy tradition, an oral tradition. I started recording extraordinary events on events on the ranch or at home for self amusement,” Lowman said. “It's not a judged event. It's not a first, second or third. It's a sharing of tradition. And the camaraderie there is priceless… Make friends, listen to other people's experiences and have a good time.”

Bill Lowman
Bill Lowman.
Contributed / Service Printers of Dickinson

It will feature several cowboy poets from throughout the Dakotas and Montana. They include D.W. Groethe, Brent Voigt and Bonnie Krogman among many others. The poetry event is dedicated in memory of Hettinger musician Carole Lynn Rosencrans. She passed at the age of 83 on March 3.

For more information, call Lowman at 701-872-4746 or email Henderson

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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