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Red Door Art Gallery

Red Door Art Gallery is committed to increase and diffuse knowledge; to encourage the appreciation of art in all forms; to maintain in the City of Wahpeton a physical location for displaying visual arts; to collect, protect and preserve objects of artistic interest; to provide facilities, expertise, and materials for artistic education, and to offer opportunities for aesthetic enjoyment.


1. Can you introduce us to the Red Door Art Gallery and its significance within our community as the visitors center?

Located in the renovated National Bank Building at 418 Dakota Ave. in downtown Wahpeton, the Red Door Art Gallery has been attracting Twin Towns Area and Southern Red River Valley visitors and residents for more than a dozen years. Gallerygoers are able to take in multiple points of interest when at the Red Door, including eight exhibitions per year including the annual Student Art Show and Rural Art Juried Exhibition. They also can view how a traditional bank building evolved into a beautiful, stimulating environment for sharing ideas, appreciation of art and culture and the strength of having a community worth visiting and promoting to others.

2. What inspired the creation of the Red Door Art Gallery, and how has it evolved over time?

Roger Jensen, as of April 2024, is completing his latest term as one of Wahpeton’s park board commissioners. A beloved figure in Wahpeton, known for service to landmarks including Chahinkapa Zoo and the outdoor Sculpture Garden in Chahinkapa Park, Jensen was also pivotal to the creation of the Red Door Art Gallery.

In 2009, Jensen considered the National Bank Building while searching for a home for the arts. Having a background in architectural drafting and estimating, as well as being a visionary, Jensen had – and has – the drive to envision what exists today as the beautiful Red Door Art Gallery. He spent many hours promoting the project to community members and the Three Rivers Arts Council (TRAC). In August 2009, the City of Wahpeton provided a no interest loan to allow for the purchase of the National Bank Building.


The long task of gutting and renovating the building began. Most of the renovations were accomplished with the help of building trades students from North Dakota State College of Science. Like the Northern Bank Building and Chahinkapa Park and Zoo, NDSCS has been a cornerstone of growth, education, success and furthering of community pride for generations to come.

The NDSCS students worked on the Red Door Art Gallery project as a part of their curriculum. Their efforts, along with the skills of many local carpenters, painters and other craftsmen, continue to renovate the gallery.

Opening its doors in May 2011, the Red Door Art Gallery achieved a victory in 2016 when it became the visitor center in Wahpeton. For nearly a decade since, the gallery has furthered its vision of becoming the center point for artistic promotion and artistic aspirations for Southeast North Dakota and West Central Minnesota. As of April 2024, the Red Door remains the only art gallery in Richland County, North Dakota, and Wilkin County, Minnesota.

Since its opening, the Red Door Art Gallery has been committed to increasing and diffusing knowledge. The gallery encourages the appreciation of art in all forms and maintains within Wahpeton a physical location for displaying visual arts. In doing so, the gallery has and will collect and preserve objects of artistic interest, while also protecting works of art from needless destruction and providing facilities, expertise and materials for artistic education and aesthetic enjoyment.

Due to its proven early success, the gallery continues to receive critical funding from the North Dakota Council of Arts, the City of Wahpeton, the Convention and Visitor Center and the Richland Wilkin Community Foundation.


3. Could you share some of the current exhibitions or events that visitors can look forward to at the gallery?

The Community Juried Photo Contest, open to residents of Richland and Wilkin counties, begins May 21. It will continue through June 1. Participants may pay $10 to submit a photo or $25 for three photos. There is a limit of three photos per participant. Prizes will be awarded to Best of Show, First Place in Person Voting and First Place Online Voting winners. For more information, including size requirements and other technical aspects, visit the Call for Works section of

Planes, Trains & Automobiles is the Red Door Art Gallery’s current exhibit, which will conclude May 18. Following the Community Juried Photo Contest, the gallery will host Summer Travels from June 4-July 27 and have artists Ellen Diederich with Carmen Bruhn featured from June 4-29. The following month, Shawn McCann will be the featured artist from July 1-27.

4. How does the Red Door Art Gallery support local artists and promote art appreciation in our community?

The Red Door Art Gallery is open to artists who currently reside in North Dakota, Minnesota, or South Dakota, or those who call Wahpeton, North Dakota, or Breckenridge, Minnesota, their home town, or have a local connection. The artists are always invited to a reception in their honor during each exhibition. The receptions are always open and free to the public thanks to member support.


5. What unique features or aspects of the gallery make it a must-visit destination for residents and tourists alike?

Red Door Art Gallery staff and volunteers are known for being in tune with the events taking place in the Twin Towns Area. They answer questions, give recommendations and share insight with visitors, helping to enhance the experience for everyone. In addition to the Red Door’s library of art on display, the gallery has a diversity of pieces, from paintings to sketches to sculpture to pottery and a literal library of books. Additionally, visitors can enjoy the regional favorite, Sted Chocolate from Fergus Falls, Minnesota.


6. In what ways does the Red Door Art Gallery collaborate with other local businesses or organizations to enhance the cultural experience for visitors?

The Red Door Art Gallery is a member of the Wahpeton Breckenridge Area Chamber of Commerce, and participates in their events including the Wine Walk. During school years, the gallery hosts the Student Artist of the Month program. The gallery also serves as a host for the Borderline Chalkfest and the Headwaters Music Festival, which attract numerous visitors to downtown Wahpeton and Breckenridge each summer. The gallery maintains a presence at philanthropic festivities including the Power of 100 event, which benefits area nonprofits. Additionally, all of the Red Door Art Gallery’s maintenance since its opening has been performed by local businesses.

As a nonprofit, the gallery is grateful to be sponsored by numerous local businesses, including Bremer Bank, ComDel Innovation, Minn-Kota Ag Products, Bell State Bank, McGough Construction, Red River Valley & Western Railroad, Comstock Construction, McDonald’s, Smith Motors and Schmitty’s Plumbing.

7. Can you tell us about any upcoming workshops, classes, or community initiatives hosted by the gallery?

The Community Juried Photo Contest will include an artists’ reception on May 21. Artist Ellen Diederich will have a watercolor workshop from June 19-21. Starting May 21 and lasting through September on the evenings of artists’ receptions, author Christine Ellsworth will host a poetry therapy workshop. Muralist Shawn McCann will hold a youth chalk art class on July 11 as a precursor to the Borderline Chalkfest. McCann will serve as the gallery’s featured artist from July 1-27.

8. How does the Red Door Art Gallery contribute to the overall tourism and economic development of our area?

The gallery’s success earned it the 2018 Governor’s Award for Travel & Tourism, specifically known as the Flint Firestarter Award for Tourism Development Project. This honor was presented to the Red Door Art Gallery by the State of North Dakota.

It's a good time to explain why exactly the Red Door Art Gallery has a red door. Roger Jensen tried to direct interested individuals to the National Bank Building’s location in downtown Wahpeton. In order easily attract attention, Jensen had a local autobody shop paint the front door red. The image caught on, to Jensen’s surprise, and shortly after, it became official. The gallery was and remains the Red Door Art Gallery.


9. What feedback or testimonials have you received from visitors or artists that highlight the impact of the gallery?

As the visitor center in Wahpeton, the gallery directs all tourists to all local attractions, businesses and events. Multiple visitors have taken their picture in the gallery to commemorate visiting their 50th U.S. state.

Artists are always appreciative of having a local venue for their pieces and to engage with fellow artists and community members or visitors.

10. Finally, how can the community continue to support and engage with the Red Door Art Gallery's mission and activities?

First of all, come to the gallery. It is always free and open to the public. Next, become a member. Memberships start at $25. Also, consider attending classes, receptions and workshops. As well, it is greatly appreciated when you share your experiences and positive feedback with not only your neighbors, but people coming to the area.


418 Dakota Ave

Wahpeton, ND




T-Sat 10 am - 5 pm

Monday & Sunday: Closed