The Big Read Spearfish presents Graphic Novel Art Exhibit at THE MATTHEWS, Feb. 5-26

Artist Jo Powell (submitted photo)

SPEARFISH, SD –  The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center continues its Big Read celebration of “The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett with an exhibit celebrating Graphic Novel Art.  The exhibit will present the work of five Black Hills artists.  The opening reception will be held 5:00-7:00 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5 in the art gallery.  This show continues to run from until Feb. 26 in the art gallery 10:00-5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The event is free and open to the public.

The Graphic Novel show will feature illustrations of local Spearfish artists. The work ranges from ink and paper pieces to canvas and oils. During the opening reception in the art gallery, “Graphic Novel Live” takes place with live models posing on The Matthews’ stage. This allows patrons the experience of sketching the human form. Professor Desy Schoenewies, from the BHSU Art department, will be on-hand to provide help for those who may be new to this art form.

Chanel Wiggan (submitted photo)
Chanel Wiggan (submitted photo)

“The graphic novel format showcases illustrations from 1920s icon movie posters to the current 2016 Japanese Manga,”  says Samantha Thompson, gallery manager.  “We hope that patrons coming to see the show will gain an appreciation for the artistic and storytelling talent that goes into creating a graphic novel–perhaps even inspiring them to become readers of this genre. By showcasing local artists who are engaged in this medium, we are personalizing the experience and highlighting the talent we have in the Spearfish community.”

The artists featured in this show are:

  • Desy Schoenewies, BHSU art professor

  • Jo Powell – illustrator, writer, and sculptor, retired art teacher, and a “forever art educator”

  • James Canfield – Spearfish artist

  • Chanel Wiggan – BHSU Art Student

  • Devin Stephens – BHSU Art Student

Graphic novels are visual storytelling. Instead of focusing just on the author’s words, the reader also participates in the visual element.   Readers get to play along with what the artist has visually imagined. It’s a combination of the joy of reading a novel and the experience of watching a movie.

Comics versus Graphic Novels

According to Shayna Monnens, youth services director at Grace Balloch Memorial Library, “Many people have the misconception that a graphic novel is just a comic book. They are similar but are also quite different.  A comic book is a serialization of story panels–snippets of a large over-arching story line. These may or may not be in any sequential order. Think of comic strips like “Calvin & Hobbes” or “Garfield,” remarks Monnens. “A story is told in a range of panels, usually numbering from 3-5. The story is concise, quick, and tells the reader something in short order. While the individual stories may be short and told in smaller sections, comic book storylines can last for months or years.”

Monnens continues, “The graphic novel gets to go further. It breaks out of the number of panels. Authors continue on with the storytelling and keep the reader engrossed for pages–similar to reading a novel.  There are story chapters in graphic novels that range anywhere from one to hundreds of panels. Graphic novels are more complex stories, generally finishing a story within a book or two.”

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Managed by Arts Midwest, this initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book. Spearfish is one of 75 communities nationwide participating in The Big Read from September 2015-June 2016. From January through March 2016 our community will celebrate “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett with a full calendar of events. You can view a full calendar of events for The Big Read in Spearfish at

The next event for The Matthews is Detective Cosplay Game Night, 6:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, in the art gallery. This is a free event for ages 15 and up. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center is a non-profit organization located at 612 N. Main Street in Spearfish, South Dakota. To learn more about The Matthews either contact by phone, at 605.642.7973 or their website at

Third Annual Burning Beetle Event.

An inflamed mob approaches the sacrificial Pine Bug effigy Saturday evening on Pageant Hill to re-enact The Third Annual Burning Beetle and Bug Crawl Event. Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press
Late Saturday afternoon, Steve Baldwin (pictured) Jimmi Lee, Karl Svensson, Gary Lipp, and Kris Svensson made final adjustments to the burn pile. Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press
The Beetle developes a fiery case of indigestion, as the mob stands by waiting to torch the slash pile the despicable creature is sitting on. Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press
Members of the Custer Volunteer Fire Department add fuel to the impatient mobs torches, who await the signal to totally toast the “Bug”. Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press
The jubilant mob, urged on by the primordial rythm of members of the Custer High School Band percussion section, torch the slash pile. Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press.
As the “Bug” burns, the large crowd enjoys a fireworks diplay before heading out to other events planned for the evening. Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press
The “Blues Bros.” Craig Bobzien and David Thom rock on as Hank Fridell, far right and members of the Black Hills Ukulele Orchestra look on. HerbRyan/Custer Free press.



Papers of Virtuoso Violinist Roman Totenberg Now Online

January 14, 2016

The Library of Congress has launched a new online presentation of 130 items documenting the life and career of virtuoso violinist and revered teacher Roman Totenberg (1911-2012).

The presentation—drawn from his personal papers, which were a gift to the Library from the Totenberg family—includes photographs, correspondence, video interviews, concert programs, publicity material and solo violin parts from core repertoire with Totenberg’s personal performance annotations. There is also a separate presentation of 61 woodblock prints, drawings and watercolors drawn from the Totenberg Papers that were created by his friend, Russian-born artist Ilka Kolsky, at .

“Roman Totenberg’s career as an orchestral soloist and chamber musician as well as a renowned teacher was remarkable for its variety—the music he performed, the venues where he appeared, the musicians with whom he collaborated, the students he taught—and for its phenomenal longevity,” said Susan Vita, chief of the Library’s Music Division. “The online presentation samples the treasures in the Roman Totenberg Collection, giving a fascinating view of the distinguished Polish-American violinist. The Totenberg Papers are part of the Library’s important violin-related collections which also include the papers of Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Josef Gingold and Isaac Stern, among others. The Music Division plans to expand its online violin presence in the coming years to draw attention to the wealth of potential research material in our collections.”

Totenberg, who was born on Jan. 1, 1911 in Łódź, Poland, enjoyed an extraordinarily long and varied career, spanning nine decades and four continents. He made his debut as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic at age 11 and performed his last concert when he was in his mid-90s. He was still teaching at age 101, shortly before his death in May 2012.

He moved as a child with his family to Moscow, where he first studied the violin and witnessed firsthand the Russian Revolution. He continued his studies in Warsaw as a teenager, followed by study with Carl Flesch in Berlin and Georges Enescu in Paris. In 1935, he made his U.S. debut with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Having established himself internationally, in 1938 he chose to immigrate to the United States under the distinguished artist visa program. Soon after, he went to extraordinary lengths to aid family and friends trapped in Poland during World War II and the Holocaust.

Totenberg served as the director of chamber music at the radio station WQXR in New York and as first violinist of the WQXR Quartet from 1940 to 1942. Later, he performed as the founding violinist of the Alma Trio, collaborating with the group from 1948 to 1951. While continuing to perform as a soloist internationally, Totenberg established a distinguished legacy as a pedagogue, teaching at the Peabody Conservatory, the Mannes College of Music, the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Music Festival, Boston University, Tanglewood, Kneisel Hall and the Longy School of Music. He maintained an extensive repertoire and championed many compositions of his contemporaries, including works by Karol Szymanowski, Darius Milhaud, Paul Hindemith, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Arnold Schoenberg and William Schuman.

After Totenberg died, his family donated his papers to the Library of Congress. He is survived by his daughters Nina Totenberg, the NPR legal affairs correspondent; Jill Totenberg, CEO of The Totenberg Group, a corporate communications firm; and federal Judge Amy Totenberg. His wife of 56 years, Melanie (née Shroder) Totenberg, died in 1996.

Future additions to the online presentation will include audio recordings of Totenberg in concert, featured articles and a special release of vital materials related to the Totenberg family during the Holocaust.

The Music Division at the Library of Congress contains an unparalleled collection of manuscripts, scores, sound recordings, books, libretti, music-related periodicals and microforms, copyright deposits and musical instruments. Manuscripts of note include those of European masters such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms, and those of American masters such as Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein and Charles Mingus. For more information about the division’s holdings, visit