Art For Life


NCAC has been helping improve the health and wellness of elders at the Lakota Good Samaritan Society through intensive one on one art interaction from community artists. The need has never been greater during lockdowns that have had the elders stressed out and held up in their rooms with no visitors or interaction
with other residents. The elders’ enjoyment from our creative collaborations was immediately felt throughout the care facility, helping bring some joy to the elders and workers making things a bit better. Last year Marcy Grohs played her violin and Jennifer Parker turned windows into canvases, creating large scale paintings while
safely visiting with residents outside their windows. Currently, our Executive Director, Kirby, is working with residents one on one in his glass studio through technology. What started out as an ornament project with a video to watch, has turned into custom collaborations with the resident in the driver’s seat. Most of the residents had never seen hot glass before, including David who said, “I’ve never seen glass blowing but my grandpa blew glass with his brother…” David shares this story: In 1875, the Saint Olav left Bergen Norway for New York. Beautiful weather turned ugly and the waves got huge. Three brothers were forced to throw their fortune hidden in wooden crates overboard to help keep the ship from sinking. The brother’s fortune was in hand blown glass, mostly goblets. After arriving empty handed in New York, the highly skilled brothers settled in rural North Dakota. Two farmed and one joined the railroad. The two farming brothers built their glass studio where they made goblets smaller than a thumb and bigger than a forearm. They made horses and plates and much more. The brother’s created art in secrecy and only sold their glass wares to a merchant in Minot. Most of the glass art was functional and was used until it broke except a few horses held onto by relatives. David did not understand the significance of the skill level required to create the goblets he described, let alone that they were made 146 years ago in North Dakota. Another resident, Joann asked, “Can we make a purple heart for my son?” Kirby asked her, “Was he in the service?” She replied, “No, he had a bad ticker and his fingernails and lips were always kinda purple. The kids at school were real rough on him but he embraced the purple and claimed himself to be a purple people eater just like the Minnesota Vikings defense.” Her son passed away at age 19 after an open heart surgery. Kirby and Joann together created a purple heart pendant for her to wear. Curtis, a Native American bead artist from Devils Lake, has tied countless beads over the years. However he had never seen how glass beads were made. Kirby started by making a centerpiece turtle pendant and then used the remaining left over color from the turtle to pull a tube of beads to demonstrate how the beads that Curtis ties are created. Curtis looks forward to tying his new beads up and Kirby is planning some further collaborations with Curtis and other elders for our upcoming art auction where we will be fundraising for our2021 Stump Lake Fine Arts Youth Camp. Art For Life is an 18 month program. NCAC rotates between the three nursing homes in Nelson County. It is a beautifully rooted program and a blessing for all involved. This project is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

If you would like to volunteer please contact Kirby Berg , or one of the board members at or 701-296-4410 and leave a message.  

Take a peek inside lives that are enhanced via art!
Check out this video and see the importance of arts in the community .
NCAC is proud to be part of ART FOR LIFE. 🙂

NCAC knows the value and importance of art in all stages of life! Therefore we give back in our “Art for Life” Program.
“Art for Life” – The Therapeutic Power & Promise of the Arts
Produced by the North Dakota Council of the Arts in the hopes of encouraging individuals, organizations, and institutions to utilize art therapy or therapeutic art activities. This complimentary publication documents a pilot program and study with elders in a long-term care facility.

Art for Life has been growing because of the positive changes seen in people lives.

See “Art for Life” in action and why it’s so important to support the arts in Nelson County: