Sitting in the midst of a huge crowd of friends, family and strangers Sept. 17, Beryl Wernberg of Bemidji had a smile on her face.

That day the legacy of her mother, Dorothea Paul, was on display.

Covering the walls, sitting on carts and placed on the tables throughout the Kerkhoff Auction Center building in Redwood Falls were original paintings and prints from the Dorothea Paul collection.

The well-known regional artist was being celebrated by a standing room only crowd there to get their piece (or pieces) created by her.

According to Wernberg between the original pieces and the prints, there were 971 items sold that day. Of that amount 386 original works were sold, with a few of her tools also up for auction.

While the actual amount of money brought in that day was not yet known, Wernberg said the day really wasn’t about that.

Wernberg said she had so much fun just being there with the people who really appreciated her mom’s works of art.

“There were folks there I had not seen for quite a while,” she said. 

Knowing those people from her mom’s past were there made the day very special.

While each painting that will hang on a wall helps to further the Dorothea Paul legacy for the future, the true legacy is in Wernberg’s plans to help others learn to appreciate what Dorothea did.

After the expenses, Wernberg said all of the proceeds from the sale of the Dorthea Paul collection will be used to establish scholarships for students in the area who are interested in pursuing her mom’s passions – for art and the rural way of life, its farming roots and its history.

Having grown up in Renville County, the scholarship will be offered to students in that area, said Wernberg, adding Redwood Falls students will also be able to apply for them in the future.

“I am still working out the details,” said Wernberg. “I want to find out how it will work the best. I want to make sure it will benefit as many people as it can, because that it what this is all about.”

Funds will also be used in area schools and centers to further the arts.

“I want to make sure that art classes can be continued in school,” added Wernberg, who said that was something important to Dorothea.

Wernberg expressed her appreciation to all who came and helped make the day a success.

“Doug (Kerkhoff) and his crew did such a fabulous job,” said Wernberg, adding there have been so many people who were willing to help her get ready.

That is just one more indication of what made this area so special to her mom.

Wernberg said she is also hoping to continue to tell the story of her mom through a museum or exhibit of some sort that will include a variety of her pieces.

Wernberg said she spent a lot of time preparing for the auction, and now she can focus her attention on ensuring the legacy of Dorothea Paul continues through the scholarship program, school funding and display of her work.