It's a good time to be a North Dakota artist.
Minot woodworker Paul Horn of Prairie Art Creations said he's seeing bigger crowds at shows around the state. He was among local and regional artists whose creativity was on display at the Taube Museum of Art's Artfest in Minot Saturday.
Horn creates works of art from old cedar fence posts collected from farm friends.
Skye and Stetson Woodland create a collage on melted records as part of the children’s activities at Artfest Saturday.
"We find alot of grandparents buy for grandkids. They can remember the old fence posts and the stories that go along it them," he said.
As an established artist, Towner artist Andy Knudson said he is noticing the state's strong economy.
"This has been my busiest year ever. I am absolutely swamped," he said.
With agriculture prices up and oil money trickling through the region, people are more likely to spend money on art, he said. His decision to paint smaller art pieces also has caused business to take off as the less expensive artwork has been hugely popular.
Knudson, who also sells in other states, said the difference in sales is significant as the economy clearly remains depressed in much of the country.
Artists who display at Artfest say the purpose of attending isn't necessarily to sell their art, although they do that, too. They enjoy coming for the creative atmosphere that exists where artists gather and to advertise their work.
Advertising is important for new artists like Lindsey Meiers of Minot, whose charcoal drawings of wildlife drew a lot of interest at the show. Meiers said she is a wildlife advocate but she also likes the results she can create in drawing animals.
"It's interesting the textures you can create with charcoal," she said.
The pastels of Jane Kalmbach with Dakota Blessings in Kenmare reflect her interest in music and dogs. She paints commissioned dog portraits from photos submitted by owners. She also an art teacher through a school program of the North Dakota Council for the Arts and through the Duck Stamp program.
How much the economy affects her business is uncertain, she said.
"On a personal level, I have been doing very well. I don't know if it's the economy or if it's getting known. It takes a while to get your name out," said Kalmbach, who has been in the art business for about nine years.
Artfest is her favorite show, though. From the shows advertising to decorating, it truly promotes art, she said.
Spanish artist, Salvador Dali, was Artfest's inspiration for this year's event, as evident in the decor.
The children's art project, involving a collage on a melted LP record, was a reflection of Dali's famous melted clock painting.
The annual event opened Friday with premiere night. The fundraiser for the Taube featured 35 artists.