February 27 – April 24, 2015
Mary T. Hercher is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Born in Kadoka, South Dakota, Mary was raised in the Black Hills region. She holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from South Dakota State University. After retiring as an educator, she now lives in Black Hawk, South Dakota, where she pursues her photography career.
Mary began taking photographs at the age of 12, when she received her first camera as a birthday present. Over the years she has dedicated much of her time to studying the elements that make up an exceptional photograph. She draws inspiration from the family photos received from her grandmother and from her surrounding natural landscapes. Mary enjoys taking photographs of places, plants, and animals that are culturally significant. She took her first photography class in 2002, and began to undertake photography as a serious endeavor in 2012. Using a Canon 7D, along with a variety of lenses, her photographs capture contemporary aspects of the natural world. Most of her photographs are taken in western South Dakota. Her love of the land and sense of connection to the Badlands, Black Hills, and surrounding prairies enhance the themes and quality of her work, which have appeared in art museums.
In 2014 her artwork was exhibited in the Dahl Arts Center’s Mountain Art Show, and at the Gathering of People, Wind, and Water in Rapid City, South Dakota. In 2014, her image “Flame Skimmer” was also featured on a South Dakota winery label.
Evans Flammond Sr.
May 8 – July 5, 2015
Evans Flammond, Sr., an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, is a skilled artist and craftsman. Born in Rosebud, SD, and raised on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations, he now lives in Oglala, SD, with his family. Evans has two sons, Evans Jr. and Edward, who are also exceptional artists and aspiring musicians.
Inspired by the Northern Plains Native arts, Evans began producing imaginative drawings at the age of seven. As his talent and creativity grew and matured, Maynard Barker, a Santee Dakota mural painter and Evans’ uncle, encouraged Evans to turn his drawings into paintings. Influenced by nature and a love of the outdoors, his techniques and ideas evolve with the creation of each new artwork. Working with a variety of media including ledger art, metalwork, and hide painting, Evans seeks to portray Lakota art as adaptable and innovative as he draws from designs of the past. While portraying traditional themes, he adds a modern twist through the use of vibrant colors and detailed designs to make his art stand out in art exhibits.
His artwork has been exhibited in both galleries and art shows including: All My Relations Art Gallery, Minneapolis, MN; Prairie Edge Trading Co & Galleries, Rapid City, SD; Red Cloud Art Show, Pine Ridge, SD; and A Gathering of People Wind and Water, Rapid City, SD. Evan’s artwork can be found in the collections of several art museums including: The Red Cloud Heritage Center, Pine Ridge, SD; the Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul; South Dakota State Capitol Collection, Pierre; as well as numerous international private collections.
Oscar Howe: A Centennial Celebration
May 30 – September 7, 2015
Recognizing 100 years of Howe’s impact on art and how he broke the barrier of traditional American Indian styles.
Born on May 13, 1915, Oscar Howe grew up in poverty on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in South Dakota and was taught the rich traditions of his Dakota heritage through his grandmother’s colorful stories. These stories came to be the lifelong themes for his art.
Howe’s first major commission came in 1940, when he was hired by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to paint a mural at the Mitchell City Library and then a series of ten murals in the Mobridge City Auditorium shortly after. A few years later in 1948, Howe was then commissioned to create a series of murals for the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota and would continue to create new murals for the Corn Palace annually until 1971.
In 1957, Howe joined the faculty of the University of South Dakota as an assistant professor of art. Howe would spend the next 25 years at USD, where he had a profound impact on future generations of American Indian artists such as Robert Penn, Herman Red Elk, Donald Montileaux, and Arthur Amiotte. It was during this period of time that Howe was named South Dakota Artist Laureate and reached his apex of development as an artist, producing many of the works seen in art exhibits that are recognizable as distinctly Oscar Howe.
After a lengthy battle with illness, Howe passed away in 1983 and was buried in Vermillion, South Dakota.
Howe used bold colors, shapes and movements in his paintings that are vibrant in an art museum to honor and tell the stories of his culture. It was primarily through Howe’s efforts that it became acceptable for Native American artists to break away from traditional American Indian styles to other artistic styles.
Howe’s goal was to express truths through his paintings that were deeply personal to him and his people.
“What I hope to accomplish in my painting is satisfaction in content and form with completeness and clarity of expression, and to objectify the truths in Dakota culture and present them in an artistic way.”
‘Oscar Howe: A Centennial Celebration’ contained contributions from the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University, the Sioux Indian Museum, the Dahl Fine Arts Center, and the Rapid City Performing Arts Center.
Paul High Horse
July 10 – September 18, 2015
Paul High Horse, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, is a skilled painter and mixed media artist. The son of Bryant High Horse and Sara Margery Horse, Paul was born in Neptune, New Jersey. At the age of three, Paul’s parents relocated to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota so that their children could be immersed in their native culture. He lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation until he left to attend Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he completed both a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications and a Master of Education degree. Paul currently lives with his family in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, where works full time as a secondary school art teacher and an artist.
Art has been an important component of Paul’s life since childhood. It was not until 2008, however, that he began concentrating on the creation of his own artwork and sharing it with a public audience in art exhibits and at art museums.
Inspiration for Paul’s artwork comes from the symbols, traditions, and values inherent in Lakota culture. Circles are a common visual element in Paul’s paintings due to the prominence of the circle in Lakota art and culture. Paul uses a variety of media in his work including acrylics, archival inks, and watercolors.
Many of his pieces are executed on wooden panels, but he also uses canvas and paper as media for his artwork. His art incorporates a modern approach to the rich historical context of the Lakota people.
Paul has received several awards for his work, including Best Emerging Artist at the 2014 Gathering of People, Wind, and Water, A Native art market and cultural celebration, in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Best Two Person Show at the 2014 Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards in Nebraska. This art exhibit marked the first display of Paul’s artwork in an art museum setting.
October 9 – December 4, 2015
Wesley May, an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, is a talented painter and muralist. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Wesley now resides in Bemidji, Minnesota, where he works full-time as an artist. Wesley began his artistic career at the age of six, when he began to imitate the drawings of other family members. As a teenager, Wesley began to expand beyond drawing into the realm of painting. Through experimentation and self-discovery, Wesley developed his own unique style of painting over the next several decades.
The first step in Wesley’s creative process is to draw a sketch of a subject that inspires him. He begins with a single line, and then carefully adds additional lines in order to gradually build shapes and forms. Once the drawing is complete, Wesley selects a small vignette from within the larger drawing that will become the subject of the painting. He then applies paint to canvas and begins to create the painting. Using acrylic paints, Wesley works in a freehand style, without the use of underdrawings. The final product is a striking image of flowing lines and bold colors embodied with deep meaning.
Inspiration for Wesley’s work comes from his spiritual beliefs as well as from the individuals who have influenced his life. The four colors of the medicine wheel are an important component of Wesley’s paintings, intended to demonstrate both the beauty and simplicity found in both life and art. He believes that there are no mistakes in art and through live painting demonstrations at art museums Wesley encourages others to create their own artwork and push their artistic boundaries.
Wesley has received numerous awards for his art exhibits including: Contemporary Best of Show at the 2009 Ojibwe Art Expo, Bemidji, Minnesota; Best of Show at the 2008 Red Lake Nation Fair, Red Lake, Minnesota; and Best Representation of Women and Children at the 1997 Red Cloud Indian Art Show, Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
February 5 – April 22, 2016
Marlena Myles, an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Dakota Tribe, is a multifaceted artist who works in both traditional and digital formats. She is a graduate of Central High School in Rapid City, South Dakota, and currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she works as a graphic artist and website designer.
Early in her career, Marlena worked primarily in traditional charcoal drawings and portraits. Over time, she evolved as an artist and her work now focuses primarily of digital vector drawings. These drawings are built on a geometric pattern of vibrant but distinctive colors resulting in jewel-like scenes. Her artistic process is organic and fluid. Images seen in both dreams and the world around her often provide the initial inspiration for her virtual artworks. From these visions she then creates unique patterns and designs that form the basis of the vectored illustration. These patterns are digitally manipulated into shapes that represent animals or people. The unique layering of shapes and forms is a proprietary technique that Marlena developed herself through trial and error. Although Marlena is primarily a self-taught artist, she is part of an international art collective in which artists share new techniques and ideas with each other.
Inspiration for Marlena’s work comes from her Dakota ancestors and language. She believes that art is a means of sharing cultural awareness through a medium more powerful than the written word. Marlena hopes that her art will bring joy to the art exhibit viewer and inspire Native youth to connect with their past to create a future that is alive and embodied with traditional cultural values.
Marlena’s work has exhibited at several art museums including: All My Relations Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota; the 2015 Gathering of People, Wind and Water, Rapid City, South Dakota; and the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, Warner, New Hampshire.
The Great Race
March 4 – April 15, 2016 & May 16 – June 25, 2016
Long ago, there was a great race between the four-leggeds and the two-leggeds. The purpose was to determine which of the two groups of contestants would have precedence over the other. One unintended consequence of the race was that the Black Hills were caused to come into being.
The exhibit focused on the short narrative of the race by James LaPointe (Oglala Lakota) that is in his 1976 book, Legends of the Lakota.
‘The Great Race Exhibit’ divided the 1,218 word narrative into eight vignettes. Each vignette was interpreted or illustrated by four types of artworks -- 2-D artwork, 3-D artwork, a poem, and a musical score or song. These eight vignettes recounted the Great Race narrative using LaPointe’s words, along with artworks by 32 contemporary Lakota artists: eight poets, eight painters, eight musicians, and eight 3-D artists. Eighteen of these artists are residents of South Dakota, whereas the other fourteen live all across the United States, from Oregon to New York, and Arizona to North Dakota.
This innovative art exhibit featured its very own soundtrack and each vignette reception was hosted and sponsored by a community organization from Lakota Reservations and the Rapid City area.
This art exhibit was brought together in collaboration with the Center for American Indian Research & Native Studies (CAIRNS) and featured in select art museums.
Journey to Mount Rushmore
July 2 – October 30, 2016
Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Completion of Mount Rushmore
This art exhibit showcased the connections between the Rapid City community and the carving of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, as well as the Innovation and Creation of the sculpture that was intended to inspire travel and visitors.
From the ideas of a State Historian, into the hands of master sculptor Gutzon Borglum, through the trying times that were persevered, we revealed the connections of our State and our Community’s roles in prevailing to create what is now our Nation’s Shrine to Democracy. We uncovered the connections and stories often not told or seen and expanded on them while paying tribute to all that transpired to make it possible.
The art exhibit was sponsored by the Mount Rushmore Society in partnership with the Journey Museum & Learning Center, Minnilusa Historical Association, and the National Park Service in recognition of the 75th anniversary of completion of Mount Rushmore.
July 29 – September 30, 2016
Wade Patton is a contemporary Oglala Lakota artist who provides a new perspective on Native arts for audiences. Born on the Pine Ridge Reservation and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota, Wade grew up with an appreciation for the arts and culture that surrounded him. As a child he naturally gravitated to art, preferring to draw rather than play outside. After receiving a BFA from Black Hills State University, Wade left South Dakota to pursue his artistic career in Boston, Massachusetts. He spent over a decade in Boston developing his craft as well as working as a professional art framer. Wade recently returned to South Dakota, where he now works full time as an artist.
Although Wade is best known for his oil pastels and ledger art, he explores a wide variety of media in his work, including ceramics, quilting, and painting. One of Wade’s signature subjects is clouds, which often find their way into both his ledger art and pastels. While these clouds invoke imagery of the Great Plains skies, in actuality, they were inspired by the views from the Boston framing gallery where Wade worked for many years.
For this art exhibition, Wade has continued to expand his reach and vision, creating unique works with the intent of breaking out from the style of his earlier art. The subject matter for these works center around traditional Lakota cultural themes: bison, dragonflies, and the six pointed star. These themes have been given a modern interpretation, influenced in part by a recent trip Wade made to Boston, and his exposure to other contemporary artists. Through the use of layering, Wade has created vibrant drawings that build on geometric shapes to create fluid and dynamic images to showcase in an art museum.
Wade has received multiple awards for his work including: The ML Woodard Award at the 2016 Red Cloud Indian Art Show, Pine Ridge, South Dakota; Special Award, Emerging Artist Division at the 2015 Gathering of People, Wind and Water, Rapid City, South Dakota; and a 2016 Artist in Residency at Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer, South Dakota.
October 28, 2016 – January 5, 2017
Genevieve Bluebird, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, creates paintings that depict powerful images of Native American women and traditional aspects of Lakota Sioux culture. Born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Bluebird is a graduate of Flandreau Indian School. She went on to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as the United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, North Dakota. Bluebird currently lives in Rough Rock, Arizona, with her family.
Art has been a part of Bluebird’s life since childhood. While she learned the fundamental techniques of painting as a student at IAIA, she continued to develop as an artist through self-teaching and experimentation.
Bluebird’s artwork is inspired by her studies of American Indian history and Lakota oral traditions. Working primarily in acrylic paints, she creates realistic portraits of Native Americans. These paintings often feature imagery of traditional Lakota life and spirituality. Images of strong and positive female figures are a recurring theme in her work. Bluebird hopes that her art will inspire younger generations of tribal members to reconnect with their cultural values and beliefs in order to overcome the hardships they face in contemporary society.
Bluebird has garnered multiple awards for her art exhibits including: 1st Place, Julyamsh Art Expo and Powwow, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and 2nd place, Drawing Category, 2009 Red Cloud Indian Art Show, Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
December 14 – 18, 2016
Artworks by 16 contemporary Lakota artists illustrate the short narrative titled, "How the Lakota Came Upon the World".
This innovative exhibit focused entirely on the short Lakota emergence narrative title, “How the Lakota Came Upon the World.” The art exhibit divided the 1,251-word narrative into 16 “passage” and paired each passage with an outstanding example of a practical or artistic Lakota object. The selected objects were from the Sioux Indian Museum (one of the three Indian Arts and Crafts Board museums in the United States) and The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School. They spanned a period of time from before the Fort Laramie Treaty, all the way to the early 1970s. All of the objects were created by Lakotas and were collected from within the boundaries of the 1868 Treaty, including what are now Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock reservations, as well as the community of Rapid City.
In addition to the passages and art museum objects, original artworks by distinguished and emerging contemporary Lakota artists were featured. They creatively interpreted the passages and art museum objects from a contemporary Lakota point of view, thereby creating what we call “vignettes”. These 16 vignettes thus recount the Lakota emergence narrative in written words, museum collections and contemporary artworks, illustrating that the emergence narrative continues to be a source of creativity, and that the place of emergence in what is now the Black Hills was and always will remain a site of special significance in Lakota cosmology.
This art exhibit was brought together in collaboration with the Center for American Indian Research & Native Studies (CAIRNS).
Paul Goble - A Life's Work
January 20 - March 26, 2017
Paul Goble Illustrations of American Indian Stories
Author and illustrator Paul Goble was born in England on September 27, 1933. He grew up in a family where art and literature were valued and promoted. He also grew up with a deep fascination for the indigenous peoples of North America. As a young man he made several visits to the United States to spend time on reservations in South Dakota and Montana. He moved to America permanently in 1977 and became an American citizen in 1984.
Throughout his career, Goble garnered countless awards for his writing and artwork. In 1979 he received the Caldecott Medal, which is one of the most prestigious awards in all of children’s literature. Goble’s Caldecott winner, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, is just one of over 40 books in a career extending back to his first title, Red Hawk’s Account of Custer’s Last Battle, published in 1969. Throughout his long career, Goble focused on Plains American Indian history and retellings of traditional American Indian stories.
Award-winning Lakota author and illustrator S.D. Nelson says, “Paul Goble has a good heart. His paintings and his storytelling honor Lakota ways. Paul Goble, with his artistic insights, has shared our Lakota tradition and spiritual teachings with the world in a positive way. He is a true friend of our people.” Like Nelson, world-renowned Lakota flute player and hoop dancer, Kevin Locke, is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. In a letter to Goble Locke once wrote, “You’ve done more to heighten an awareness of our culture than just about anyone I can think of.”
Although Goble’s artwork is scattered throughout the world in private and public collections in art museums, the primary resource for access to works representative of his career is in Brookings, South Dakota, at the South Dakota Art Museum. The museum’s extensive Paul Goble Collection consists of over 500 watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations.
In a career spanning almost 50 years, Paul Goble dedicated his life and talents to showcasing American Indian stories. The purpose of these educational activities is to augment the exhibit “A Life’s Work – Paul Goble Illustrations of American Indian Stories.” The intention of the art exhibit is to celebrate the life and work of Paul Goble. The exhibit and educational programming are also intended to unite communities by bringing people together to enhance learning while looking closely at his images and sharing their perspectives.
This traveling art exhibit was a celebration of Goble’s life and career. The exhibit represented a small collection of his complete works but it provided visitors with the opportunity to enjoy artworks from different books and from different stages of his career. Art museum visitors were invited to enjoy Goble’s paintings and to witness for themselves the products of a scholarly commitment to accurate research, an abiding passion for art, and deep love for the people and cultures of America’s Great Plains. It has truly been his life’s work.
This art exhibit was a collaboration with the South Dakota Art Museum and The Journey Museum & Learning Center.