Visual Arts

See the world through the eyes of Black Hills artists

Step off Main Street in Spearfish into our Fine Arts Gallery. Around each corner (and even from the ceiling!) you will find bold, innovative, and diverse art pieces in every medium. All artwork in the gallery is created by Black Hills artists. Young visitors can enjoy the Gallery’s light-up art table and free kids’ craft activities. 

A passageway to the historic Matthews Opera House, the Gallery space transforms for art openings and community art projects. Events like the Community Art Show and partnerships with the Black Hills State University Graphic Novel Academy demonstrate that the arts are for everyone, and everyone is an artist. 

“I’m always amazed at the talent that can be found in the Black Hills area. I know I can always go to The Matthews to discover new works of art”

Visit the Matthews Art Gallery

Admission is free. The Gallery is open year-round, Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Summer Hours (June 1 – August 1) are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free parking is available directly in front of the Gallery on Main Street in Spearfish.

Submit your artwork to the Gallery

Artists of the Black Hills are invited to submit an application with three photos of their work and a brief artist statement to [email protected]. During the jurying process, the Gallery Committee will assess applicants based on the quality of work submitted and the needs of the gallery in terms of aesthetic balance and diversity. 

Our Artists

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

Artist Bios

Micheal Baum

His artistic practice employs human movement as a means to examine the convergence of adventure and art. The drawing, print, and artist book work Micheal creates are influenced by various outdoor pursuits, ranging from long distance cycling trips, to backcountry ski tours and extended treks. The resulting work exists as an indexical record of his travels relating to the abstract and physical facets of landscape. 

Given the long history of artists who have created work about nature and their environment, part of Micheal’s artistic practice is simply to finding new ways to respond to nature today.

Tom Bridges

After his father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, Tom was inspired to create his first dish using a lathe that was passed down from the family. He found a passion. Tom works his construction business but in the evenings he pours his energy into these unique one of a kind handmade pieces. 

The wood is exotic and natural in color, no stains or dyes have been used except for the epoxied pieces.  All the bowls and glasses are finished with food safe polish or epoxy. So pass the bread or enjoy a toast.

Renée Carrier

Having lived in the Black Hills region for thirty years, most mornings she may be found in her writing cabin, away from distractions.

“In the end, I believe my work speaks for love, loss, and restoration—especially this story.”

Tragedies and triumphs swing in a wide arc. Senga Munro blames herself for her daughter’s death—the defining tragedy of her life. In the aftermath, she learns what it means to be “other” in the rural West. She sees what others can’t, in the novel’s thread of magical realism. In finally waking from her grief, she re-inhabits the world, warts and all, as they say. 

Helen Goodman Champ

As a nature lover, Helen has a propensity towards landscape, and florals have been a constant in her creative work. Her style is loose and impressionistic. She wants the viewer to feel a personal connection through her art, and hopes it resonates at a meaningful level.

A member of Black Hills Art Association in Spearfish, and a student of Bonnie Halsey Dutton she is always looking for more to learn from the local art scene.

She and her husband retired to Spearfish after a 28 year career as a Kindergarten and Early Childhood Special Educator in Huron and Pierre. She used her love for painting as backdrops for her students’ art.

Skott Chandler

Skott is a photographic artist, and educator at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. 

Skott has exhibited throughout the United States, as well as internationally in Bordeaux, France, Hong Kong, and Geneva, Switzerland

Ethan Engel

Ethan Engel 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. He later went on to Black Hills State University, obtaining a degree in art and graphic communications.

His works are inspired by his history with autism, showing his internal conflicts and the struggles of understanding his disability. Using his work as a powerful 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.

“I want people to try and understand what autism is all about. How I deal with situations, my emotions. When you’re hearing me talk I do have that processing issue. That’s why I wanted to play with the viewer a bit and get them interacted and try to connect with how the story goes.”

Dustin Floyd

Dustin uses photography to explore the raw, primordial qualities of different environments. He’s especially drawn to the way weather can be a powerful introspective force. It can quickly shape our perceptions of natural spaces and our feelings about how we, as human beings, fit into the world around us.

Becky Grismer

Becky  Grismer was born and raised in eastern South Dakota. She received her BA in Fine Art from Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD, in 2002. She lived and worked in St. Paul, MN, for several years before returning to South Dakota where she currently resides in the Black Hills working as a sculptor.

Becky’s sculptures are created with tree bark and other materials found in nature. She can be found searching for materials in the forest and in South Dakota’s shelterbelts. Her work has been included in public collections and can be found in private collections throughout the world.

Carol Lee Hilgeman

Assemblages and collages have been noticeably practiced since the early 20th century. To Carol, these techniques are the perfect metaphor for the contemporary culture. Gathering and sorting miscellania is a  major component of her creative process. She figuratively and symbolically pieces together both antique and commonplace objects to form small-scale assemblages and 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 context. No fragment is important by itself, but taken as a whole they assume a significance greater than the sum of the parts.

She intends to have the pieces work at the visual level by the careful placement of objects as distinct yet related forms, and at the emotional level by suggesting important cultural and spiritual content from the “artifacts.” Ultimately, her assemblages are representations of the complexity of human existence.

Douglas Hoff

Douglas Henry Hoff was born in 1948 and graduated as valedictorian of his high school class in 1966. He attended and was an honor student at Black Hills State University and the SD School of Mines and Technology. He and Marlene (Molly) were married in 1968, while attending SDSMT. When his parents considered the sale of the family farm Doug and Molly decided to give ranching a try and later bought the farm. 

Doug based his novels on the true story of Molly’s grandparents, Anna and Iver Tenold.

Vicki Hoffman

After retiring from nursing, Vicki learned how to draw and paint and use a variety of mediums. The character of each animal she paints interests her. Vicki hopes to convey a bit of their character in her paintings.

William Lopez

The process Will has developed in the past six years incorporates a technique he calls “chip away”. When creating ceramics, the artist pushes the limits of the clay, applying pressure at a specific time, and allowing new forms to arise, with the goal of designing something delicate, structurally sound, and seemingly perfect.​

The breakdown process gives every piece a 50 percent chance of surviving, after already having been pushed to its breaking point. Will’s greatest influence is my mother, who lives with Huntington’s Disease (HD). A slow progressive neurodegenerative disease. Will has watched her break down one piece at a time, slowly losing abilities and pieces of herself. HD is hereditary, a 50 percent chance of passing the disease on, with no known cure or effective treatment. Thankfully, Will has tested negative. He hopes to advocate for HD by spreading awareness through the art community, as well as donating a portion of profits towards research.

Maria McCoy

Silence and isolation were the catalysts that sparked Maria’s creativity and propelled her to explore her artistic talents. She found purpose, light, and happiness in her creativity. Maria hopes to engage the viewer, invoke thought, and bring joy.

“Fear shall not stop me from learning and growing as an artist as it is this fear from which my art is born.”

Darrell Mohr

Like many artists born in The American West; Darrell is inspired by the vastness of the geography and its sheer beauty. He is influenced by the wildlife, the land and the skies. It provides constant inspiration, stimulation and awe.

From a very young age, Darrell was fascinated by and admired Native American culture as well as that of other indigenous peoples across the Earth. In a lot of his work Darrell tries to incorporate indigenous motifs or patterns. 

The biggest overall influence on Mohr’s art the last 10 years has been stained glass. Darrell has been working in a style mimicking stained glass with bold thick outlines and bright colors.

“I love nature and I love science. I also often try to incorporate scientific or biological principles such as adaptation or mimicry into my art.”

Diane Myers

Originally from Wisconsin, Diane moved to the Black Hills in 1993 with her husband Jack and their children.  Her heart found a true home here in the Black Hills of South Dakota not only for her family but for her artistic talent.

She started off by painting personalized portraits of family, pets, homesteads, buildings, barns, and churches. She always found her true artistic passion in the form of all animals both tame and wild.

Being intrigued by feathers, she began painting on turkey feathers in 2012. She loves to paint on all things natural:  wood, handmade paper and eggs, but feathers are her ultimate favorite canvas.

Tim Peterson

After more than a decade working almost exclusively in pastel, Tim finds himself shifting to watercolor as his preferred medium.  Tim is drawn to the challenge of watercolor, interested in the mental process of planning and executing a painting using a medium that often has a mind of its own very challenging.

His favorite subject matter remains with mostly unobserved or underappreciated architecture of the past, its environment and passersby, a quiet contemplation of what once was. The small dramas of everyday life, makes a fabric of common experience, connecting us as a community. Tim is intrigued by the universal truths of our shared moments. 

Jayne Rose

Born and raised in northwestern Illinois, Jayne found her talent in art at a very early age: kindergarten. All through grade school, high school, and college, the visual arts were her main focus – along with getting married, having two daughters, and running a busy country inn and fine dining restaurant. The last couple of items on that list took her away from art. In 2000, Jayne went back to her first love, oil and acrylic painting.

Savanna Schara

Savanna is a multimedia artist with an impulse to create and a passion for bringing out the artist in others. Her current series Avant-Garbage is a homage to the planet and an exploration of the human impact. Inspired by the Black Hills, pollution, music, and looking beyond the surface; Avant-Garbage is about discovering what garbage can be.

Christopher Scott

Christopher was born in New Hampshire and grew up in Massachusetts, and has lived in the American west for nearly all of his adult life. Self-taught in art, he has been seriously involved in painting (primarily with contemporary-abstract styles) for over 30 years and has exhibited his artwork in MA, UT, SD, CA and AK. 

He has also painted two outdoor murals in Lead SD, including the prominent “Newton’s Neutrino Nexus” on Highway 14, just north of the traffic light. Christopher believes that art should stimulate the mental, spiritual, emotional and aesthetic realms.

Kathy Sigle

The western way of life is important to Kathy Sigle. She grew up with horses and many times visited her grandparents’ farm, spending time around the milk cow or the herds of cattle. Kathy has spent countless hours on the working ranch, gathering references for her paintings. She feels the authentic western lifestyle is slipping away, and she needs to capture the fading scenes with her brush. These fleeting moments are what excite and spur her to keep this lifestyle alive for others to see and experience.

As Kathy prepared for college, her dad asked her what she wanted to do for a career, and she said, “All I have ever wanted to be was an artist.” “I believe I have been given a talent and my goal is to paint everyday and become the best artist I can be. Even now, after years of painting, I realize the more I work in watercolors, the more I have yet to learn. It’s an exciting journey and I hope you enjoy experiencing my artwork as much as I have enjoyed painting it,” remarks Kathy. She is always excited about what is next to come.

Jan & Bob Sisk

Sometimes, professional and hobby work combines to produce unexpected results. This is exactly what happened when Jan and Bob Sisk combined their talents.

Bob is an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed a 27-year career as a high school biology teacher. His interest in photography provided a unique medium for his classroom as well as ongoing opportunities to explore the natural world. Jan taught high school English for many years and was recognized as a teacher-consultant of the Dakota Writing Project. The Black Hills natives now live near Newell.

Publications include: Common Plants of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, TR Treasures (a Theodore Roosevelt National Park portfolio book), and Carrizo Plain (a natural history guide). Their work has also appeared nationally in Nature Photographer magazine.

As photographer and writer, Jan and Bob hope to play a role in helping to ensure that nature’s beauty remains for future generations. Knowledge and recognition inspire people to appreciate and enjoy the natural world.

Heidi Stefanich

Ever since her first Polaroid camera, Heidi has been fascinated with photography. Now, after a few decades, two kids and lots of life, she picked up the hobby once again, finding that it fills a space inside her that craves creativity and beauty. The art of photography compels Heidi to look at her surroundings in a completely new way, examining details in the textures, colors, light and shadows around her. She finds herself looking at familiar landscapes, objects and even people with fresh eyes as she continues to explore the art, science and magic involved in photography.

Heidi has had her work  in Wyoming Wildlife magazine, The Wyoming Wildlife Calendar, WREN Magazine, and The Dahl Mountain Photo Competition + Exhibit as part of the Dahl Mountain Culture Festival.

Sue Stoddart

Sue Stoddart has been living in the Black Hills area since 1992. She works primarily with oils and watercolors, using them to interpret landscape and still life arrangements. Sue does a lot of outdoor ( plein air) painting and likes to combine that with explorations of the Black Hills.

These panels are all created with only three primary colors and white. They are mostly completed en plein air or from sketches created in the field. During the Covid-19 outbreak, when social distancing became the norm, Sue went out to the forest to paint. In the woods there is no virus or any of the clamor of daily life. It is a place where everything is alright with the world, even for just a moment. These little paintings are just a glimpse of the peace and solitude found at that time.

Richard Termes

Dick Termes is an internationally acclaimed artist whose work has been recognized from the US to Japan. His one of a kind spherical paintings have been published in books all over the world. Unlike most painters, Termes paints on spheres. Each Termesphere is a revolving three-dimensional space/time exploration of an entirely closed universe.

What is a Termesphere?

A Termesphere is an optical illusion, an inside-out view of the total physical world around you on the outside surface of a hanging and rotating sphere. If you were on the inside of this sphere, this painted image around you would seem normal. Termespheres capture the up, down and all around visual world using a six-point perspective system.

Dick Termes has been painting spherical paintings since 1968 when he received his Masters Degree from the University of Wyoming. He continued his pursuit with his thesis on the Termesphere at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles where he received his Masters in Fine Arts.

Kat Thompson

Kat Thompson lives in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota on a 5th generation ranch where she garners a multitude of resources for her drawings and paintings. She is blessed to have the cattle, horses, cowboys and cowgirls as a part of her everyday  scenery. Kat was a founding member of the Weaver Art Gallery of Sturgis; and has exhibited at the 1880 Gallery of Sundance, Wy. Kat helps local fund raisers and scholarships by donating her art pieces to sale events such as the Black Hills Stock Show Stockmens Ball-Youth Scholarship and the Tri-State Museum Fund.

Marion Toillion

Marion Toillion is a master artist who has enjoyed painting throughout her life. Her line of work is diverse, including portraits, landscapes, events, South Dakota’s important historical figures, animals, and flowers. In particular, she is interested in depicting landscape scenes of the Black Hills and South Dakota plains as well as portraits of Native American life.  Marion works in watercolor, allowing the media greater freedom in looser areas while maintaining tight control in areas she wants focus. Light is also an important part of her paintings.

Toillion is a signature member of the Northern Plains Watercolor Society. she studied art at the University of Nebraska as well as in Manila, Philippines and Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Toillion serves yearly as an artist in residence at Sylvan Lake Lodge.

Robert Vore

Robert has always been fascinated by landscapes and growing up in the area allowed him the opportunity to explore the endless beauty of the Black Hills.

Even though he has lived in various places from coast to coast he never lost his love of the Hills.  The constantly changing light and weather patterns provide endless possibilities.

Marianne Vinich

Marianne’s artistic life began in early childhood, sitting by her father’s side as he sketched portraits of their family. Her mother painted in oils and watercolors and went to welding classes, learning to sculpt metal.

“Beautiful art books were on every table in our home and I was encouraged by my parents to read them. On weekends, we would go as a family to art museums. We wandered the huge, cool rooms and viewed the priceless treasures,” remembers Marianne.

When she was six years old, her family moved to a large home, and her parents gave her an extra room, which they called the “fourth room.” Her parents filled this room with art supplies: watercolors, easels, conté crayons, pastels, pencils, several types of paper, a drawing table, and – her very favorite – oil pastels.

“Within this room, I created many ‘masterpieces’ and many messes. I was always praised for my creations and creativity. I was really blessed in life to have such a ‘colorful’ beginning,”

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 dark room. 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.

David Whitlock

David Whitlock’s artistic career has been as diverse as it is successful. He has worked for TV Studios, Hallmark Cards Inc., several magazines, wineries throughout California, and as a freelance artist for several theaters. His subject matter is as diverse as his style, ranging from subtle realism to bold and abstract. Unsurprisingly, David had many artistic influences as an early artist, most notably his friend and mentor, John C. Clymer.

Internationally renowned, David’s artwork can be found in galleries and private collections throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. He is a life member of the prestigious Carmel Art Association, and was included as a featured artist on the MY ART series on Ovation TV in 2007.

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