” Traditional High Tea” Images, Held At The Custer Senior Center, Saturday February 24

Traditional High Tea
At The Custer Senior Center, Saturday February 24, 2017
All Images: Peg Ryan/Custer Free Press

Prizes were awarded for the best hats at the Traditional High Tea Ceremony at The Custer Senior Center, Saturday February 24, 2017 All Images: Peg Ryan/Custer Free Press


Custer Senior Center Director Jill Kettle presides over the Traditional High Tea at The Custer Senior Center, Saturday February 24, 2017 All Images: Peg Ryan/Custer Free Press


Custer County Assistant Librarian Mary Richards, Library Director Doris Ann Mertz and Assistant Librarian Janice Stadler pause in their copious consumption of goodies to have a photo taken at the Traditional High Tea at The Custer Senior Center, Saturday February 24, 2017 All Images: Peg Ryan/Custer Free Press


Members of The Black Hills Ukulele Orchestra entertain at the Traditional High Tea at The Custer Senior Center, Saturday February 24, 2017, Front L-R, Julie Teasley, Hanna Honors, Kari Teasley, Rear L-R, Sheila Martin, Emmalee Hollick, Liz Mertz. All Images: Peg Ryan/Custer Free Press


Jan Knuckles, Edie Burkette and Sheila Thomas enjoying themselves at the Traditional High Tea at The Custer Senior Center, Saturday February 24, 2017 All Images: Peg Ryan/Custer Free Press



Indian Arts and Crafts Board To Host Juried Youth Art Competition and Exhibition


2016 Art Contest Winners. (l-r) First Place, ” A Bright Recognition” Shawana Lessert, Oglala Sioux Tribe. Second Place, ” Changing Disaster” J. Janis Bay, Mills Indian Community. Third Place, ” Lakota Women”, Breanna Good Shield, Rosebud Sioux Tribe.


The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) will host a juried art competition and exhibition for Indian youth.  The theme of the 2017 competition will be “We Are Still Here.”

Competitions and Exhibitions will be held at the following locations:

  • Sioux Indian Museum, 222 New York St., Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Southern Plains Indian Museum, 801 E Central Blvd., Anadarko, Oklahoma

The competition will be open to enrolled members of Federally recognized tribes between the ages of 12 and 18.  Proof of the youth’s enrollment in a Federally recognized tribe and written permission of a parent or guardian will be required.

The competition will provide Indian youth with a realistic juried art show experience; encourage the development and expansion of their skills in production and marketing; and enhance youth interest in culture, history, and the possibility of an artistic career.  All submissions of work will be judged by an independent panel of jurors.  Awards will be distributed in the amount of $250 for first place, $150 for second place, and $100 for third place.

All artwork must be submitted by April 7, 2017.  Winners will be announced on April 21, 2017.

An exhibition of selected works will be displayed at the participating museums from April 21 to May 26, 2017.

In addition, the IACB will feature selected works from the exhibition in promotional brochures to complement the exhibition.  Selected entries may be featured on the IACB website and in IACB promotional and educational materials.



Conor McMahon, Chief Curator, Indian Arts and Crafts, 605-394-2381, sim@ios.doi.gov

Why Do Conservatives Want the Government to Defund the Arts?


By Aaron D. Knochel,
Pennsylvania State University

Recent reports indicate that Trump administration officials have circulated plans to defund the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), putting this agency on the chopping block – again.

Conservatives have sought to eliminate the NEA since the Reagan administration. In the past, arguments were limited to the content of specific state-sponsored works that were deemed offensive or immoral – an offshoot of the culture wars.

Now the cuts are largely driven by an ideology to shrink the federal government and decentralize power. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, argues that government should not use its “coercive power of taxation” to fund arts and humanities programs that are neither “necessary nor prudent.” The federal government, in other words, has no business supporting culture. Period.

But there are two major flaws in conservatives’ latest attack on the NEA: The aim to decentralize the government could end up dealing local communities a major blow, and it ignores the economic contribution of this tiny line item expense.

The relationship between government and the arts

Historically, the relationship between the state and culture is as fundamental as the idea of the state itself. The West, in particular, has witnessed an evolution from royal and religious patronage of the arts to a diverse range of arts funding that includes sales, private donors, foundations, corporations, endowments and the government.

Prior to the formation of the NEA in 1965, the federal government strategically funded cultural projects of national interest. For example, the Commerce Department subsidized the film industry in the 1920s and helped Walt Disney skirt bankruptcy during World War II. The same could be said for the broad range of New Deal economic relief programs, like the Public Works of Art Project and the Works Progress Administration, which employed artists and cultural workers. The CIA even joined in, funding Abstract Expressionist artists as a cultural counterweight to Soviet Realism during the Cold War.

The NEA came about during the Cold War. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy asserted the political and ideological importance of artists as critical thinkers, provocateurs and powerful contributors to the strength of a democratic society. His attitude was part of a broader bipartisan movement to form a national entity to promote American arts and culture at home and abroad. By 1965, President Johnson took up Kennedy’s legacy, signing the National Arts and Cultural Development Act of 1964 – which established the National Council on the Arts – and the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965, which established the NEA.

Since its inception, the NEA has weathered criticism from the left and right. The right generally argues state funding for culture shouldn’t be the government’s business, while some on the left have expressed concern about how the funding might come with constraints on creative freedoms. Despite complaints from both sides, the United States has never had a fully articulated, coherent national policy on culture, unless – as historian Michael Kammen suggests – deciding not to have one is, in fact, policy.

Flare-ups in the culture wars

Targeting of the NEA has had more to do with the kind of art the government funded than any discernible impact to the budget. The amount in question – roughly US$148 million – is a drop in the morass of a $3.9 trillion federal budget.

Instead, the arts were a focus of the culture wars that erupted in the 1980s, which often invoked legislative grandstanding for elimination of the NEA. Hot-button NEA-funded pieces included Andre Serrano’s “Immersion (Piss Christ)” (1987), Robert Mapplethorpe’s photo exhibit “The Perfect Moment” (1989) and the case of the “NEA Four,” which involved the rejection of NEA grant applicants by performance artists Karen Finley, Tim Miller, John Fleck and Holly Hughes.

In each case, conservative legislators isolated an artist’s work – connected to NEA funding – that was objectionable due to its sexual or controversial content, such as Serrano’s use of Christian iconography. These artists’ works, then, were used to stoke a public debate about normative values. Artists were the targets, but often museum staff and curators bore the brunt of these assaults. The NEA four were significant because the artists had grants unlawfully rejected based upon standards of decency that were eventually deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1998.

As recently as 2011, former Congressmen John Boehner and Eric Cantor targeted the inclusion of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress” (1986-87) in a Smithsonian exhibition to renew calls to eliminate the NEA.

In all these cases, the NEA had funded artists who either brought attention to the AIDS crisis (Wojnarowicz), invoked religious freedoms (Serrano) or explored feminist and LGBTQ issues (Mapplethorpe and the four performance artists). Controversial artists push the boundaries of what art does, not just what art is; in these cases, the artists were able to powerfully communicate social and political issues that elicited the particular ire of conservatives.

A local impact

But today, it’s not about the art itself. It’s about limiting the scope and size of the federal government. And that ideological push presents real threats to our economy and our communities.

Organizations like the Heritage Foundation fail to take into account that eliminating the NEA actually causes the collapse of a vast network of regionally controlled, state-level arts agencies and local councils. In other words, they won’t simply be defunding a centralized bureaucracy that dictates elite culture from the sequestered halls of Washington, D.C. The NEA is required by law to distribute 40 percent of its budget to arts agencies in all 50 states and six U.S. jurisdictions.

Many communities – such as Princeton, New Jersey, which could lose funding to local cultural institutions like the McCarter Theatre – are anxious about how threats to the NEA will affect their community.

Therein lies the misguided logic of the argument for defunding: It targets the NEA but in effect threatens funding for programs like the Creede Repertory Theatre – which serves rural and underserved communities in states like Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Oklahoma and Arizona – and Appalshop, a community radio station and media center that creates public art installations and multimedia tours in Jenkins, Kentucky to celebrate Appalachian cultural identity.

While the present administration and the conservative movement claim they’re simply trying to save taxpayer dollars, they also ignore the significant economic impacts of the arts. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the arts and culture industry generated $704.8 billion of economic activity in 2013 and employed nearly five million people. For every dollar of NEA funding, there are seven dollars of funding from other private and public funds. Elimination of the agency endangers this economic vitality.

Ultimately, the Trump administration needs to decide whether artistic and cultural work is important to a thriving economy and democracy.

The Conversation

Aaron D. Knochel, Assistant Professor of Art Education, Pennsylvania State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.



PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Arts Council (SDAC) is now accepting grant applications for its Artists in Schools and Communities (AISC) residency program, which provides matching grants to schools and other nonprofit organizations for artists in residence. Applications must be received through the AISC online grant form.

Through the AISC program, students – adults and children alike – will learn about fine arts in a relevant, hands-on environment.

sdaclogoopti8316Grantees choose their artist from a roster of professional teaching artists endorsed by the Arts Council. Disciplines include dance, literature, writing, music, theater, visual arts and traditional arts. A theater residency could include classroom workshops or a full-length production featuring local students at the end of the week. In the visual arts, choose from pottery, painting, drawing, sculpting, murals and more. There are traditional arts residencies in American Indian hoop dancing and rodeo clowning. To view the extensive list of roster artists and read about the residencies offered, visit www.artscouncil.sd.gov/aisc/meetartist.aspx.

The deadline for grant applications to be submitted online is March 1. The simple, online form is available at www.artscouncil.sd.gov/aisc.

An office of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, the South Dakota Arts Council’s mission is to provide grants and services to artists, arts organizations and schools across the state, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the state of South Dakota. For more information about SDAC grant programs and artist rosters, visit http://www.artscouncil.sd.gov.

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.

“Cardboard Chaos” an Interactive Creative Makerspace to open in Spearfish

Photo: The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center

SPEARFISH, SD – The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center, through the work of ArtCentral, will host Cardboard Chaos, an interactive creative makerspace for all ages, in the Matthews’ Art Gallery.

Cardboard Chaos will have an opening event at 3-5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 3, in the art gallery. Normal hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from February 4-25. The event is free and open to everyone.

Cardboard Chaos is an interactive creative makerspace where children and adults can delve into their imaginations to construct artwork, invent toys, and build play areas out of cardboard. Cardboard, tools, and an assortment of other materials to unleash creativity will be provided. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center was selected in 2016 as a recipient of a $200,000 Bush Foundation Community Innovation grant for ArtCentral, a community collaboration to centralize the arts as an integrated asset for inclusivity, economic development, and sustained outreach in the Spearfish community. Community Innovation grants support organizations, working in collaboration with others, to use problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions for challenges that face their communities.

“I am so excited for this project,” said Kate Kelley, Cardboard Chaos committee chair. “This will be a fun place for people to come and use their imaginations by creating whatever they want using cardboard and simple craft tools. It is the first project to come out of ArtCentral, which is funded by a Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation. If Cardboard Chaos is well-received, then we hope to offer this event in other locations for our community to enjoy during winter months.”

“The ArtCentral Committee has been working hard over the last several months. It is great to see our discussions transition into actions,” said Elizabeth Freer, ArtCentral Manager. “This project is just the beginning of our work and I am looking forward to seeing the positive impact of the arts on our community.” Cardboard Chaos is funded through a Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation. Donated materials and volunteer time from local community members are also key to the success of this project.

About the Bush Foundation
The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. We encourage individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area. Since it was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, the Foundation has invested nearly one billion dollars in grants to thousands of organizations and individuals. Website: http://www.bushfoundation.org.

The next event for The Matthews is the comedy-drama play, “Steel Magnolias,” Feb. 16-19. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit http://www.MatthewsOpera.com.

The Chautauqua Artisans Market Featuring Dick Kettlewell Photography Exhibit

“The Chautauqua Artisans Market is proud to present their newest gallery show with photography by Dick Kettlewell. Kettlewell has been a professional photographer and photojournalist for more than 35 years, and his work is amazing in beauty and detail. Kettlewell appears regularly in the Rapid City Journal with his column entitled, “The Spring Creek Chronicles” and is author of several books. This gallery exhibit runs through March 4th. Chautauqua urges everyone to stop by and visit during the winter season, enjoy browsing the latest creations by local artisans.
There is a special “Meet the Artist” event on February 10th from 10-1 when Mr. Kettlewell will be available to visit about his work and sign books.
Hours are 10-5 Tuesday – Saturday. Chautauqua is located directly across from the Train Depot Visitor’s Center at 629 N. River St. Hot Springs.





BHSU Photography Student Caleb Munger To Be Featured in Dahl Arts Center Emerging Artists Gallery


Photo: Caleb Munger

January 23, 2017

SPEARFISH… Black Hills State University photography student Caleb Munger has an exhibition Thursday, Jan. 26 from 5-7 p.m. in the Emerging Artists Gallery at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City.

Caleb is a firefighter from Newcastle, Wyo. and has spent the past year creating a body of work illustrating the perils, triumphs, and human experience from the perspective of the firefighters themselves. His work gives us a glimpse into the realm of firefighting, which is not often seen.

Portion of Artist Statement: “As a photographer I want to document the world of firefighting. Being a third-generation volunteer fire fighter, as well as a seasonal fire fighter with the US Forest Service, has had an enormous influence on my work. The fire service is filled with adrenaline, excitement, and devastation. I want to show the primal beauty of fire while showing the dangerous and courageous acts of firefighters and firefighting.”

THE MATTHEWS Brings Comedy-Drama “Steel Magnolias” To The Stage

Cast L-R: Mikayla Lemaster, Pat Rogge, Sydney Bridgeport, Alexandra Schoenberner, Amy Ruff, Deb Brunette. Photo: supplied by The Matthews

January 23, 2017

SPEARFISH, SD – Warm your insides with laughter and tears this cold February in Spearfish. The ensemble cast of talented Black Hills’ actors takes The Matthews’ stage, Feb. 16-19. The play is directed by Joanna Mechaley. The Thursday-Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday show is at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are now on sale for $15 adults, $10 subscribers, and $5 youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online anytime at www.matthewsopera.com.

The cast is comprised of Amy Ruff as Truvy, Mikayla Lemaster as Annelle, Sydney Bridgeport as Clairee, Alexandria Schoenberner as Shelby, Deb Brunette as M’Lynn, and Pat Rogge as Ouiser.

The play opens with a discussion of Shelby’s wedding day to her fiancé, Jackson, in the fictional northwestern Louisiana parish of Chinquapin at Truvy’s in-home beauty parlor where the women regularly gather.

It covers events over the next three years with Shelby’s Type 1 diabetes and how the women interact at times with conflict, but in the end resolved as friends. Although the main storyline involves Shelby, her mother M’Lynn, and Shelby’s medical battles, the underlying group-friendship among all six women is prominent throughout the drama.

Director, Joanna Mechaley remarks, “’This is a show that is both heartbreaking and side-achingly funny. “Steel Magnolias” has become an iconic portrait of women and the bonds they form with each other.”

“It has been such a privilege to work with this cast of women. Each of them has woven a bit of themselves with a dash of the only-imagined to create, beyond expectation, a cast of characters that is endearing and amusing and all-together familiar,” continues Mechaley.

The next event for The Matthews is the inaugural concert of the Club Matthews Jazz Sessions series, by JAS Quintet at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 2. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit www.MatthewsOpera.com.

“Steel Magnolias” is a 1987 stage play by American writer, Robert Harling, based on his experience with his sister’s death in 1985. The play is a comedy–drama about the bond amongst a group of Southern women in northwest Louisiana. The title suggests the “female characters are as delicate as magnolias, but as tough as steel.” The magnolia specifically references a magnolia tree they are arguing about at the beginning.