Keith Warner brings history to area in artistic way

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Artist and historian Keith Warner has had a passion for educating people of North Dakota for a long time.  He spent years teaching in the community and now he is bring his love of educating to the Lake Region Heritage Center in the form of an art exhibition dedication to his hometown of Harlow.

Keith Warner celebrated the history of his hometown, Harlow with an art exhibit at the Lake Region Heritage Center.

The temporary exhibit, located in the main floor of the museum in the historic post office and federal courthouse in Devils Lake, is comprised of over twenty pieces of hand drawn artwork representing historic buildings that once stood in Harlow.  Warner said the drawings, which took three months to complete, were created originally for the town’s centennial gala. To complete, the drawings, Warner said he took photos of the original buildings and replicated them or, if no pictures were available, spoke to people who were familiar with them and drew them from descriptions given.

“I had them on sticks in the streets standing right in the location where these buildings used to stand,” Warner said. “The people [of the town and who came to visit] were amazed to learn the history of them and the town itself. They couldn’t believe it.”

Warner said the town itself is almost nonexistent as almost all of the buildings in the exhibit are gone except a select few, like the VFW hall.  Warner said this was part of the reason he decided to contact the museum and offer his collection for display, to offer the lake region history on the smaller town.

“When I looked on Facebook, I saw all these bigger towns that had exhibits about their history, but very little was being done about Lake Region,” he said. And you know there are a lot of smaller towns with a lot of history. And there are a lot of smaller towns that are gone now.”

In addition to wanting to tell about his own town’s history, he wanted to see the museum, which has been idle since COVID-19, become active again and wants to inspire others in the lake region to create exhibits for their towns to share in the community.

“It doesn’t have to be an art exhibit,” Warner said.  “My hope is that others will get interest and create an exhibit that represents their town, they could bring in artifacts form their town, pictures or whatever.”

According to the museum, the exhibit will last for at least the next month.  The museum is open from 10 a.m.- 4p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information on how you can contribute and exhibit, call (701) 662-3701.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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