Bringing South Dakota Heart into American Art

South Dakota is renowned for its sweeping vistas of pine-laden mountains and rolling prairies. When visitors come to South Dakota seeking outdoor recreation, they are oftentimes left in awe over the abundance of attractions devoted to fine arts. Visitors to Watertown in the northeast region of the state can visit the Redlin Art Center, which features 150 original oil paintings by Terry Redlin – one of America’s most revered outdoor artists. Southeast of Watertown is the university town of Brookings, which features the South Dakota Art Museum – six galleries displaying the works of Harvey Dunn, Marghab Linens and Paul Goble as well as numerous works of art by Native Americans and artists of regional, national and international fame. For a taste of local flavor, head to Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s largest city. This bustling community features SculptureWalk, an exciting exhibit of outdoor sculptures displayed year-round all over Sioux Falls’ historic downtown. Artists place their sculptures in the program for one year, letting the public vote for the best sculptures based on a variety of categories. While visiting downtown Sioux Falls, be sure to also stop by the Prairie Star Gallery, which features Native American artwork from many of the Northern Plains tribes as well as artists representing the Navajo, Santo Domingo and Potawatomie tribes. In the southeast corner of the state lies Vermillion, which hosts the National Music Museum. This comprehensive museum includes more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments from virtually all cultures and historical periods and is one of the most inclusive music collections in the world. The Dakota Discovery Museum in nearby Mitchell features four art galleries displaying works by many revered artists such as Oscar Howe, Gutzon Borglum and Charles Hargens. Also located in Mitchell is the World’s Only Corn Palace, where the building literally serves as an artful devotion to South Dakota’s primary industry, agriculture. Each year, a new theme is selected and a local artist is hired to replace last year’s mural with fresh ears of corn depicting the new theme. Located just an hour west of Mitchell on the banks of the Missouri River are the sister communities of Chamberlain and Oacoma. Located in the small-town community of Chamberlain is the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center, which offers more than 14,000 square feet of display space. The center features an impressive collection of art, artifacts and educational displays that depict the proud heritage of the Lakota people.

Visitors to the western side of the state also have a variety of opportunities to view fine art. Lying in the foothills of the Black Hills is Rapid City, the largest city in South Dakota west of the Missouri River. Rapid City is a culturally-inspired town and is home to a number of attractions sure to satisfy art enthusiasts of all tastes. Located downtown, the Dahl Arts Center features three galleries, an events center and an education complex. The Dahl Arts Center is dedicated to showcasing works from all media types and features a wide range of artists of local and national fame. Also located in Rapid City is the City of Presidents – a collection of bronze statues depicting each of America’s past presidents dispersed on street corners throughout the downtown district. While visiting downtown Rapid City, be sure to stop by Prairie Edge, which features a wide array of Native American art and crafts. Across the street from Prairie Edge is the Main Street Square, which serves as the centerpiece to downtown Rapid City. Visitors to the Black Hills can continue their art-inspired journey to Spearfish, where the Termesphere Gallery displays reality-depicted images painted on geocentric domes that provide a retrospective view of our world. No visit to South Dakota would be complete without a visit to South Dakota’s largest homages to the arts. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, known as America’s Shrine of Democracy, features a museum, the Grandview Terrace, Presidential Trail and the Sculptor’s Studio, which displays unique plaster models and worker tools related to the sculpting process. Located a short distance from Mount Rushmore National Memorial is Crazy Horse Memorial which, when completed, will be the largest sculpture in the world. This on-going project includes the Indian Museum of North America, the Native American Cultural Center and the Sculptor’s studio home and workshop.
South Dakota’s diverse landscapes have mystified and inspired artists on local, national and international stages. Encapsulating the cultural natural beauty of life has motivated artisans throughout history. South Dakota’s effect on the fine arts is no exception – Native American culture, the Wild West and the beauty of Earth are all conveyed through art, much of which can be found on display throughout South Dakota.

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