Small towns bring on big art

Leslie Silverman
Locals and visitors to the Hill City area can enjoy two art shows right down the street from each other this weekend.
Crazy Horse Memorial  will showcase the 33rd annual Gift From Mother Earth art show with over 20 exhibitors selling a wide variety of artwork. The three-day show and sale begins June 14 at 8 a.m. although artists will be on hand setting up June 13 for those who want to purchase early.
Gift From Mother Earth is a juried show and a “great way to buy a one-of-a-kind piece that you won’t be able to get anywhere else in the Black Hills,” said Travis Dewes, cultural programs manager at Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. “It’s just a great way to spend the day or the weekend. There will be many different types of artists  and a lot of diversity unlike anywhere else in the Black Hills.”
Dewes says artists from all over the continent will  show and sell their works. It’s the only program at the mountain where Native and non-Native artists are on display. An application is required of all artists and the criteria is Native art and/or Western and Native-inspired art.
Dewes calls the show a wonderful “blending” of contemporary and traditional art. This year there are 21 artists of all types of art making it a difficult show to judge; professional artists will award only one best in show.
Also over the weekend Crazy Horse will have seven performers.
Champion hoop dancer Jasmine Bell performs along with her family at 11:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Those dance performances are 45 minutes in length.
On June 13-14 Jeremiah Moreno will drum and sing while June 15-16 Darren Thompson will do a flute performance. Each music performance lasts 30 minutes.
“Make it an entire day, making an outing,” Dewes said, encouraging locals and visitors to come to the mountain, spend some time and then go to Hill City for the Fine Arts in the Hills (FAITH) show and sale.
Kristie Van Bogart, president of the Hill City Arts Council, agrees. Last year FAITH combined with Mother Earth for promotional purposes and the show ended up with  record attendance.
“It’s a great opportunity to see and purchase from a  wide variety of artists,” she said.
Van Bogart adds  reminding people of the ease of moving from one show to the other saying, “it’s 10 minutes from Hill City to Crazy Horse and vice versa.”
FAITH has 18 artists, most of whom have never been a part of this show. It is also a juried show and as it has moved away from sculptors and into other arts like fiber, painting and jewelry it also becomes more difficult for the judges.
“We would love to have more sculptors but we have done a fun job of developing a new group of followers,” said Van Bogart.
FAITH alo continues to attract a younger group of budding artists by offering free activities for children throughout the weekend.
“We are really proud of the kids’ events this year. We are really excited. One of the artists hosting them is a brand new artist to us,” Van Bogart said.  
Children’s activities run both Saturday and Sunday.
Elise Rowe-Leather will show children the artistry of stamping between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. From noon to 4 p.m. children can make jewelry with Tamara Spotted Tail.
Between noon and 2 p.m. children can try their hand at printing with Jessica Kautz. There is also a gourd-decorating class with Lori Long from 2-4 p.m.
FAITH kicks off June 14  with an evening reception for artists and sponsors  that opens to the public at 6 p.m.
FAITH runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday with free admission both days.

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