Welcome to Agincourt: How Local Artist Brings Make-Believe Iowa Town to Life

What started off as an idea during a commercial break has now turned into a living, breathing story

MOORHEAD, Minn. — You won’t find this small Iowa town on a map, but you will find it at the Rourke Art Gallery Museum in Moorhead.

KVRR’s Jessie Cohen tells us how one NDSU professor turned artist and architect has brought his story to life.

What started off as an idea during a commercial break has now turned into a living, breathing story.

“Ron has a gift. I would say perhaps more than one gift,” said Jonathan Rutter, the Executive Director of the Rourke Museum.

Agincourt, Iowa.

The town that time forgot and geography misplaced…where over 100 people have been a part of its creation.

“That’s what’s been so much fun. Involving people and seeing them get into the spirit of the place and contribute some of their own. Their talents and their ideas and their stories,” said Ron Ramsay, the creator of Agincourt.

“He lets people play and I think the artists and the creators involved with the project really get excited by that,” Rutter said.

As an associate professor at NDSU, creator Ron Ramsay had his students design buildings in various time periods for this make–believe town.

He only had a few rules.

They must be authentic to the style, the technology and the socioeconomic conditions of the time.

“More importantly, they had to tell a story. It couldn’t just be a building. It had to be a building of, by and for people,” Ramsay said.

The more minds involved, the bigger the story became.

“We’ve had musicians compose things for the celebration. Costumes were designed…The chapels are dedicated to Saint Ahab who doesn’t exist by the way we made him up,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay says Agincourt will forever live in his mind but there are three things he’s learned from this adventure.

Number one…

“Do not put your energy into anything that doesn’t permit you to understand yourself better and to change,” Ramsay said.

Number two…

“There is a very, very fine line of distinction between hard work and intense play. There are times as a child, as an adult, that you’ve been so insanely working on something that it’s turned into play,” Ramsay said.

And number three…

“There is a huge difference between fantasy and imagination. And this is about imagination,” Ramsay said.

He hopes people dive into their imaginations to appreciate the interconnectedness of each part of the story.

Ramsay says this will probably be the last exhibition but there is a possibility of a book about this made up town.

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