Sarah Lerud stands next to her painting of her great-great-great-great grandmother’s farmhouse in Norway. The exhibit of her pastels and oils are on exhibit at the Mercy Gallery located between CHI Mercy Health and Sanford Health in Valley City. Photo and story submitted to

By: Steve Urness (

VALLEY CITY, N.D. ( – Area artist, Sarah Lerud’s paintings are on display at the Mercy Art Gallery located at the gallery space in CHI Mercy Health leading to Sanford Health.

Spokeswoman Sharon Buhr said Valley City, Washington, D.C., and Norway are the three main themes expressed through her work. Lerud is fascinated with the memories of places and wants her paintings to express the feelings of these sites. She uses pastels and oils to transform her thoughts and memories into color while representing architectural buildings, monuments and statues.

Included in her Valley City work are the Hi-Line Bridge, the front yard where she grew up, her grandmother’s home near Marion and artwork by her son, Jack.

Buhr said the Washington, D.C. pieces reflect on her time living in Washington, DC and visiting the monuments with her family. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is the monument held dearest to her heart because of the influence her Vietnam Veteran dad has had on her. Her dad lost his sight along with two friends standing on either side of him in combat. The etchings of the names from the Wall in her paintings are those friends’ names.

The Norway artwork echoes her time spent in or near Oslo, Norway with her brother.  The Oslo pieces include the Norwegian Parliament building, The Norwegian National Theater, the Theatercafeen and sculptures from the famous Vigeland Park.  The barn, the front door, and the church are from her great-great-great-great grandmother’s farm and home town.

Lerud is the librarian at the Valley City Junior-Senior High School. The artwork will be on display now through the end of December of 2017.