Summer Art Series

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Our 2024 Artists

Click on an artist name below to be taken to their bio.

Artist Bios

Emily Blair

Emily was born and raised in Spearfish, and though she spent many nomadic years traveling the world, there’s no place like home. Potter since 2004, Emily’s first job in high school was as a studio apprentice to Shawn Funk, to whom she lovingly credits her attention to detail and bad trimming habits. Over the years, Emily developed her own whimsical style, often influenced by the colorful people and places encountered along the way.

Currently, she works out of a home studio in Deadwood and leads a double life between the Black Hills and living in a van down by the river with an artists’ community in Utah.


Michael Baum

Michael Baum is a South Dakota native, whom over the last twenty years has focused much of his time exploring the mountain ranges of California, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, and Alaska. His interactions with nature and the wilderness became the impetus for his graduate studies in fine art, which he completed at Washington State University with an emphasis in drawing and printmaking. Michael is currently an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. 

Michael’s work has been included in numerous national and international exhibitions. His drawings have been exhibited at Site: Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY, The Tucker Cooke Gallery, UNC Asheville, and featured in INDA 9, International DRAWING Annual. His work has been selected for the South Dakota Governor’s Biennial Art Exhibitions. Michael is a past recipient of a career development grant from the South Dakota Arts Council, funded by The National Endowment for the Arts. 

Regionally his drawing and print-based work has been featured at The Plains Art Museum, the South Dakota Art Museum, the John A. Day Gallery at the University of South Dakota, and The Dahl Arts Center. His work has also been accepted into multiple public collections, which include the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Oregon, the Museum of Art/WSU in Washington, the Boise Art Museum, in Idaho, the Missoula Art Museum in Montana, Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas and Special Collections, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, Colorado. 

Statement: This body of screen prints explore the ethereal beauty of clouds through the lens of half-toned imagery and dynamic color gradients. The layered backgrounds serve as metaphors for the complexities of change and the fragile nature of our environment. In capturing the fleeting nature of clouds, I seek to evoke a sense of transience and impermanence. Just as clouds shift and dissipate with the wind, so too does our world undergo constant transformation. Through these prints, I invite viewers to contemplate the interconnectedness of all things and the inevitability of change. 

Bridget Beck

Bridget Beck grew up in South Dakota where she graduated from Augustana University in 2000 with a BA in English and Art. She then went to Minnesota where she was an intern, fellowship recipient, and resident artist at Franconia Sculpture Park near Minneapolis, MN. Bridget spent time honing her skills at Socrates Sculpture Park, Mark Di Suvero’s Spacetime Studio in NY, and Josephine Sculpture Park. She has installed outdoor sculptures in California, South Dakota, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. While in Minnesota, Bridget received an AS degree in geomatics (civil engineering) in 2006. She spent six years designing roads in 3D, surveying the land, and inspecting road projects. In 2012, Bridget left the Midwest to attended graduate school at UCLA. She was a fellowship recipient and became the Director of the UCLA Summer Art Institute. She has taught art at California State University-Long Beach, University of California Los Angeles, Portland State University and currently teaches at Black Hills State University in South Dakota.

Lynn Birk

Lynn has always enjoyed art and started drawing when she was in grade school and continued to develop her skills into college, where she majored in Art. Currently, Lynn and her family live in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Many of the photographs she has taken and many of her paintings are of the surrounding scenery and people. Watercolor is her favorite media because it lends itself to so many different applications. She uses a number of techniques, combining brilliant to subtle color, washes, dry brush, occasional liquid and powdered watercolors as well as using sequins to add a little extra sparkle where needed.

SB Chandler

Sionainn Behre Chandler, known professionally as SB_Chandler, is an artist based in the isolated northern Black Hills of South Dakota. Not originally from the area, however, SB calls this place home.

SB Chandler’s art resonates with dark, sexual dissonance that critically examines the human condition. Focusing on themes relating to sex, gender, satire of religious practices, and relationship with nature, science, and technology.

Creative process involves experimentation with rituals.

Sophia “Pip” Clarke

Sophia Clarke spent the formative years of her life in The Bahamas. The country’s vibrant colours, history and bold personalities inspired a similar ferocity in Sophia’s attraction to lively palettes. Her work contains consistent threads and connections to her home, ranging from folklore, social issues, and flora and fauna. The ties between people and land are not only apparent but the core of Sophia’s work.

Sophia recently received a Bachelor of Education from Black Hills State University Spearfish, SD in 2023, majoring in Art and English. She is currently a teacher at Central High School. @socaandsunshineart

Ammerte Deibert

Ammertte Deibert has been dabbling in art, with various methodology since the late 60s when she took art classes at BHSU. Since that time, she is Professor Emeritus in sociology at Grand View University in Des Moines, lowa. In 2019, she opened up an art gallery, with her husband, Miners’ Tin Cup in Lead where she has been selling her art. She believes her travels to over 40 countries have helped her in conveying her art. Ammertte considers herself to be an expressionist. She helped start an art movement called the Black Hills Post-Naturalist Art Movement. At the moment she likes to use watercolor in opaque strokes with black ink. She is interested in nature and western South Dakota features.

Ethan Engel

Ethan Engel (b. 1990) is an artist born and raised in Winner, SD. His passion for art began at four years old when his grandmother taught him how to paint ceramics. Educated at Black Hills State University (Spearfish, SD) with a degree in art and graphic communications his works are formed by his history with autism, showing his internal conflicts and struggles of understanding of how his disability functions. Using his work as a powerful feeling of catharsis, Ethan strives to teach the public more about autism through his painting, sculpting, photography, and mixed media works—creating positive, informative imagery from his personal experiences. He was a 2014 recipient of the VSA Emerging Young Artist Award given by the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), as well as Best of College High School and Photography 2015 Honorable Mention Award from Photographer’s Forum magazine. Ethan is currently living and working in Spearfish, SD.

STATEMENT: Motivated by memory, my current work examines a history of bullying, guilt, and perceived differences through text. I employ a wood-burning tool to cut those words through a raw canvas. The raw canvas represents the “flesh”, the burning represent the scarring psychological wounds delivered by my peers. I want to reverse the text because I want the viewer to understand how Autism affects the way I process words and information. 

Growing up, I’ve struggled a lot with Autism through academics and the misjudgment from of peers. I want to tell stories of my life with Autism through art so people can understand how I live with it every day. I feel that expressing my scarred memories or internal conflicts through art softens a burden I carry, but more importantly, tells others I function just as everyone else. I am on a journey to share my story though art.

Tia Erin

Tia Erin is an experimental artist living and working in South Dakota. Her work is a reflection of her constant exploration of mediums and motivations using cyanotypes and a foundational piece in the process. The assembling of pieces and fragments with the intention to leave some things up to happenstance guides most of her creative process. Finding the balance between contrasting visual elements such as geometric shapes and lines in conjunction with organic forms or mixing digital and physical components. Paired with a fascination for investigating the boundaries of numerous creative processes and creating new dynamics by mixing mediums has created an endless opportunity for experimentation and collaboration.

Tia has exhibited in several spaces in South Dakota and Wyoming including the Dahl, Matthews Opera House, and BHSU. Working as the Visual Arts Coordinator at the Matthews she continues her art explorations and working with the community to host accessible creative environments. @tia.erin.artistry

Fawn Frost

The first time I ever got spanked was when I painted the HUGE the bolder with nail polish when I was three years old… I guess I wasn’t supposed to do that. I was born and raised in Washington. I am Kiowa and Lakota raised on the Columbia River. I Received an Indian Studies Degree and Outdoor Education in 2013 at BHSU. My main medium would be acrylic, but also pen and ink. My all-time favorite art is found art… It’s everywhere! Ultimately, I feel if I am able to stir an emotion in you … then my job is done.

Helen Goodman-Champ

When Helen paints, it’s more like a celebration of what she witnesses. She finds it exciting to drop in color on the paper to create a new dimension.  Through her father’s joy and love of nature, she was brought up to appreciate and notice the simplest and smallest of wonders in a delightful way in his shared joy.. she likes to think he is still with her whenever she splashes color across the paper.

She has practiced watercolor techniques since her retirement in 2012. Mostly taught by trial and error, she also gives much credit in finding her own style to Angela Fehr who freely gives permission to create from one’s own heart. Her YouTube channel and online artist community classes gave her the inspiration and encouragement to foster and grow her confidence since 2018.

She is a member of The Black Hills Art Association of Spearfish, The Northern Plains Watercolor Society, and an associate member of Artists of the Black Hills. She displays/sells her works on her FB page Dragonfly Watercolor Designs, as well as at The Art Nest and The Matthews Opera House and Art Center both in Spearfish SD. 

She received  Honorable Mention for her Bridal Veil Falls in 2022; sponsored by Norther Plains Watercolor Society at the Dahl; and in 2023 awarded The People’s Choice Award for her Prairie Pasqueflower at the Matthews Opera House and Art Center. Both award-winning paintings were donated to the Hupp Cupp Auction in Huron. The donation for the Artemis House in Spearfish was her Vase of Flowers..  she gets great satisfaction in donating and fundraising for worthy causes…

Statement: My style is loose and fluid, and am influenced by impressionistic style. My watercolor experience is both a meditation and a prayer and I find process over product most gratifying.

Facebook: Dragonfly Watercolor Designs

Lyndsay Hedman

Lyndsay Hedman is an artist who is known for her many different interpretations of

houseplants. She is currently working towards her bachelor’s in fine arts in Graphic Design and

Studio Art at Black Hills State University. It was from Black Hills State University that she got

into some of her first exhibitions. She has been in the Art at BHSU Exhibition, the Annual

Student Juried Exhibition, and the President Selections Exhibition. She does not specify in just

one medium but prefers to use many. A good amount of her pieces tend to use acrylic paint,

graphite, and encaustics. One of her biggest influences are houseplants. She worked at a

greenhouse, and it was from there she was intrigued by them. She saw them as a

representation of growth, and she thinks that her work has the ability to show that to others.

Carol Hilgemann

Carol Lee Hilgemann was born in 1947 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She received a B.S. degree in art education from Northern State University, Aberdeen in 1969. That fall Carol moved to Fairbanks, Alaska teaching at Taylor Junior HS & Bed Eielson HAS< Eielson Air Force Base, retiring in July of 1997. Since 1989 Hilgemann’s work has been featured in numerous national group exhibitions. Solar exhibitions include the Well Street Art Company, Fairbanks: the International Gallery of Contemporary Art, Anchorage; Slaska Pacific University, Anchorage: the Alaska Stae Museum, Juneau: and the Fairbanks Arts Association Bear Gallery. Her work in private and public collections include the Alaska State Museum, Juneau: Anchorage Museum of History & Art: University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks: and the DImond High School 1$ for Art, Anchorage, Alaska. She is featured in the book Found and Assembled in Alaska by Julie Decker, and in COLLAGE in all dimensions by Gretchen Bierbaum & Patrina Gerdner. Currently, Hilgemann lives in Spearfish, SD, and is an Emeritus Member of Artist of the Black Hills and a Signature Member of the National Collage Society.

Statement: Assemblages and collages have been noticeably practiced since the early 20th century. To me, these techniques are the perfect metaphor for the culture of our times. Hunting, gathering, stockpiling and sorting images, objects and ideas become major components of my creative expression as antique and common place objects are figuratively ang symbolically pieced together in intimate, small scale assemblages/ collages.

The fragments that make up the assemblages are similar to the images and moments that make up our daily lives. Each element has a history and a context. No fragment is important by itself, but taken all together, they assume a significance that is greater than the sum of the parts.

I intend to have the pieces work at the visual level by the careful placement of objects as distinct but related forms, and at the emotional level by suggesting important cultural and spiritual content from the artifacts.

I am interested in evoking memory and emotion from the debris of life, reinventing and redefining, mixing the mysterious with the popular, always alert to unexpected relationships. Using materials that have a previous history gives the work a multitude of meanings. Ultimately, assemblages are representations of the complexity of human existence.

Ted Hummel

Ted Hummel was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, moved to California briefly, then came to live in Lead to work in the Homestake Gold Mine. A lifelong artist with little formal art training, he has dabbled in pencil, pen and ink drawing, stone carving, and now wood carving. His first wood carving was actually done along the banks of the Missouri River back in Bismarck when he was a teenager.

Now, coming full circle, working with wood again, he finds inspiration in the wood found in the forest of the Black Hills, from roots of fallen trees to long dead tree stumps, to railroad ties from railways built by Homestake back in the 1880’s, washed down Spearfish Canyon after the floods in the early 1900’s.

Mary Ann Larsen

Over the years, Mary Ann has been developing an oil painting technique using rich colors and textures.

Mary Ann moved to the Black Hills about twelve years ago. Now in Spearfish, she has her own studio where she continues to paint full time. Her works include landscapes from Spearfish Canyon, Custer, western Wyoming, and beyond.

She mainly paints in oil on stretched canvas, using bold impasto techniques created by painting layer upon layer of contrasting cool and warm hues. Most recently, she has added metal silver leaf and certified 22K gold leaf to her canvases which crafts dramatic brightness and shadows.

Paula Manley

Paula Manley is an artist based in Spearfish, South Dakota. Her preferred medium is oil painting, through which she expresses her deep connection with nature and her personal experiences. Through her realistic and intricate brushwork, Manley aims to capture the vibrant and vivacious essence of her surroundings. Drawing inspiration from her upbringing and the memories of her family and friends, her work exudes a sense of warmth and familiarity. With her bold and bright color palette, she invites the viewer to immerse themselves in her world and witness the beauty of nature through her eyes. Her paintings serve as a visual representation of her personal journey, reflecting her passion for the natural world and the people who have touched her life.


Lucinda “Cindy” Merrill

Cindy has always had an urge to create. As a young girl her interest was piqued when she received a sketchbook for her ninth birthday.

After working 30 years in the Black Hills gold industry; where she had the opportunity to create several unique designs, she now has time to explore other artistic journeys.

Her interpretation of reference material as well as her varied imagination make an eclectic body of work using many different media. Some of her interests include acrylics, colored pencil, pencil, polymer clay and mixed media. She always enjoys trying something new.

Cindy likes using all the colors In the box; from earthy neutral colors to the bright colors of the rainbow. A lot of her work is bright and happy and she hopes through her art she can brighten someone’s day. Cindy believes there is a patch of blue in every grey sky. You just need to capture it.

Allen Morris

Allen Morris is a photographic artist based in South Dakota. He is an Assistant Professor at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota where he teaches classes in the Department of Art and Department of Mass Communication. His research relies on a variety of light-sensitive materials, both digital and analog, coupled with contemporary and historical photographic processes and techniques. Morris’ work examines the relationship between humans and their environments with a particular interest in the impact that they have on the creation and evolution of human identity in social, personal, and political levels. His work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally. He is an active member of the Postcard Collective and the Society for Photographic Education.

Roger O’Dea

Roger O’Dea is an award winning photographer and long time Black Hills area resident.

He started making photographs with a Kodak Instamatic film camera in grade school becoming more serious about his craft during college at Black Hills State University.

Searching out and finding the unique in the ordinary has always been his passion.

Unique landscapes and alternate views of common objects and familiar places are his favorite subjects, often shooting in black and white to emphasize the contrast, shapes, and textures in a scene without the distraction of color.

He finds his inspiration in the normal and natural, as well as the strange and sublime.

In addition to creating digital images, Roger still enjoys 35mm film and Polaroid instant photography. @rodea909

Tim Peterson

Tim Peterson was born in Minot, ND, and graduated from Northern State University in Aberdeen in 1975 with a bachelor’s Degree (with honors) in studio arts. He has made his living as gallery and commercial artist for over 40 years.  Peterson has had many solo exhibitions and group exhibitions.  He is a veteran of the plein air circuit in the West having participated in over 40 events winning multiple awards including many Best of Show awards.

Tim has been a member or officer of many arts organizations in the Black Hills and continues to be active in many, teaching workshops and giving demonstrations. His work is in many private and public collections including the South Dakota Art Museum, the State of South Dakota Public Art collection, Washington Pavilion, Dahl Fine Arts Center, and Northern State University.

 Statement: I am interested in the lower strata of the American Diaspora, gas stations, trailer parks and back alleys of the West and architecture past its prime if it ever was. Many of these venues retain the dignity of function even as derelicts in the making. Theirs is a temporal life as is ours.

Desy Schoenewies

Desy Schoenewies received her M.F.A. in painting from Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri in 2010. Desy taught middle school and high school art in the St. Louis area before moving to San Francisco, California in 2010 where she taught art at the City College of San Francisco. Desy is currently Professor of Art at Black Hills State University, teaching courses in art education, drawing, and painting. Desy has served on the Board of Directors with the Rapid City Arts Council in Rapid City, South Dakota and the Matthews Opera House and Arts Center in Spearfish, South Dakota. Desy has a range of experience working with a variety of mediums and themes, including oil, encaustic, collage, drawing, and illustration. Her work is consistently exhibited in local, national, and international shows, including the last three South Dakota Governor’s Biennial exhibitions. Desy is also working on an ongoing research project, 56 Houses Left, documenting the 1989-2009 land acquisition of a neighborhood nearly a square mile wide in Bridgeton, MO by the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for runway expansion. She is also a signature artist member with Artists of the Black Hills, an amateur DJ for 89.1 KBHU and 90.7 KHJT in Spearfish, and an avid crafter.

Sarita Shocky

Sarita Shockey is a textile artist living in Sturgis South Dakota. The main focus of her art quilts is capturing the beauty of the Black Hills and Plains.  Sarita has maintained a life long passion of art and creativity. Her art quilts are informed by a lively sense of color, with elements that include vintage beads, fabrics, embellishments and old barn wood. She creates textile jewelry using feedsack fabrics and vintage findings.  She also makes Bohemian totes and backpacks using vintage fabrics, brocades, trim and other repurposed materials. All of her quilts are original pieces.  

Tobias Steeves

Tobias J. Steeves—a.k.a. AWAA—is a photographic artist.  AWAA stands for “Amateur with an Attitude,” a playful nickname Tobias affectionately earned from his younger siblings when he first started capturing “creation’s light” at the age of fourteen and was determined to prove he had an unrivaled eye for detail.  In the 12 years since those youthful, explorative days, AWAA has sought to master his craft and become a true professional in the craft and format of photographic art, and has won numerous awards and been recognized for his art and passion in storytelling and the ethereal effects of his work, but the nickname stuck, and has been his signature and photographic persona since.  When behind the lens, his greatest joy is framing a shot that illuminates the world in a unique way such that it captivates the viewer to contemplate all that is good, true, and beautiful.  For those who contemplate his work, he hopes the story the artwork tells will become their story, one they retell in their own voice as they live and grow with it.  Although he works extensively with macro photography—precisely because each vignette is a world in itself—he enjoys the entire range of artistic photography, striving bring attention to the missed moments of the natural world or the smallest details of the most common items as they strike his eye as he wanders the world around him.  AWAA lives in Spearfish, South Dakota where creation’s light shines gloriously throughout the year. 

Susan Stoddart

Susan has lived in the Black Hills for over 30 years. During that time, she has grown to love the peaceful beauty of the forest and trees. 

Through plein air study, Susan creates impressions of forest scenes using watercolor.  As a former Geology major, she is drawn to natural mineral pigments such asthe variety that can be found in iron oxides such as umber, ochres, and sienna. Often, the majority of her paintings are created with these pigments as they just seem to fit with Black Hills scenery.

Susan has a spontaneous painting style in order to quickly capture the essence or mood of a scene. This is important when painting outdoors because the light and atmosphere can change fast – completely altering a landscape. Even in studio work, Susan likes to keep the painting loose to retain the impulsive appearance of her art. This style also seems to preserve a bit of the mystery found in the forest. She loves all the drips, splatters, and accidents inherent in the watercolor medium. 

One of Susan’s favorite places to be is in the forest painting and at times hiking quite a ways to find her subject. Listening to the woods come alive, absorbing the scents, sun and wind, then putting all those things into her art are part of her creative process.  She hopes her paintings transport you to a place of peace and beauty.

Statement: Susan interprets the Black Hills landscape with watercolor. Often painting en plein air, she packs her supplies on her wanderings into the forest to record places seldom seen.  Using expressive brushstrokes and mineral pigments, Susan shares with you the magic, mystery, solitude and peace found in the forest.

Kat Thompson

Self-taught in her arts, and has studied with various national artists. She has studied advanced classes in sculpting, oil, & watercolor. Kat has given art lessons in private, schools, & Community art clubs. Kat has two oil paintings in the permanent collection at the State Capitol. She was a founding member of the Weaver Art Gallery in Sturgis, SD. She has displayed her art at; Dahl Find Art Center in Rapid City SD, Mother Earth at Crazy Horse, Short Grass in Pierre SD, Black Hills Stock Show Quick Draw, Augustana Univeristy juried shows, and Dakota Masterworks Show. Kat has art at the 1875 Gallery in Sundance, WY, and The Matthews in Spearfish, SD.

Robert Vore

Robert Vore grew up on a ranch in Northeastern Wyoming. Being immersed in the landscape as a child has had a strong impact on his art. He graduated from San Francisco State University in 1978 with a painting major and a printmaking minor. After college, he took a job in the federal government and lived in various parts of the US. Upon retirement, he moved back to the Black Hills where he currently resides.

Robert works in representational as well as abstract. He develops his images through intuition by starting with a basic idea and letting the process lead the way. He works with a variety of mediums including acrylic, oil, collage, print, and charcoal.

Exhibits Include: Apex Gallery, Rapid City (solo); Wyoming Governor’s Capital Art (Juror’s Choice Award 2018); Clay Paper Scissors Cheyenne WY; Blue Door Gallery Cheyenne WY

Heidi Watson

Heidi’s style of photography has taken on many changes, but each change was for the better. It has been said, “Every new thing a person learns becomes an extension of him or herself.” For the last three years, she has been taking on a new approach to nature photographs by extracting parts of the whole to create an almost inner world from what she started with. To use Heidi’s own words, “One could call it almost abstract.” What you see is what you get with Heidi’s photography. She does not manipulate any of her images. All she does is what an art photographer would do in a darkroom. Rather than digitally doctor the image, she takes on a different perspective from when she first looked at the subject. This is a more challenging method, but, fortunately, Heidi loves a good challenge.

Bob Wilson

Bob Wilson is a native of Lead, SD. He has been fascinated with photography all his life, taking pictures with everything from his sister’s old Brownie to the latest in digital cameras. In 2005 he formalized this interest by attending and graduating from the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana.

That year he also created Frogworks Photography as a vehicle to promote and market his art. His photographic pursuits are eclectic and involve landscape, commercial, weddings, portraiture, and fine art. His past clients include the Smithsonian Institution, South Dakota Arts Council, Spearfish Economic Development Corporation, and various Black Hills businesses and individuals. Locally, Bob has focused on making images of the historical and abandoned buildings of the area, using the technique of high dynamic range digital photography to capture the detail and character of these vanishing treasures. He has also begun to scratch his international travel itch by traveling to and photographing people and landscapes in Peru, Ireland, Uganda, South Africa, and Morocco. 

Facebook – Frogworks Photography 

Melissa Wood

With paintings that are mostly inspired by her mid-western roots. Melissa Wood loves painting the landscapes in the region and also enjoys painting the wildlife that she is surrounded by. There is such contrast with the lush forests in the hills, and the beautiful harshness of the Badlands. You will notice one of her favorite subjects to paint is the Bison. They are so powerful and majestic that she is constantly drawn back to paint another.

Her paintings are often a reflection of her mood. Sometimes colorful and bold, and other times dark with rich messy texture. Paint for the pure joy it brings. Melissa is honored that many people like the outcome enough to hang her paintings in their homes, and hopes the paintings bring happiness.

Her art business has been designated as a “Trusted Art Seller” with The Art Storefronts Organization, which means you can shop with confidence, and know that she stands behind the quality and value of her products.

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