Dakota Midday: Redlin Remembered For Art, Charity, And Conservation

Apr 25, 2016

Terry Redlin sketching near the Redlin Art Center in Watertown.
Credit Redlin Art Center

Terry Redlin, a renowned South Dakota artist, died on Sunday night at age 78.   Redlin retired from painting nine years ago. He died in a Watertown care center after a long-term battle with dementia.

Redlin is known for his oil paintings of wildlife and outdoor scenes. The Redlin Art Center in Watertown features his original work. 

Julie Ranum is the Executive Director of the Redlin Art Center. She says Redlin became an artist thanks to a college scholarship.   

“Had it not been for that opportunity he never would have been able to afford to go on to college.  He went to art school in Minneapolis to the Saint Paul School of Associated Arts and went on to be a commercial artist for 20 years.  And, at the age of 40 he decided to venture into the world of wildlife art.  And that was 1977,” says Ranum.   

Redlin moved back to Watertown and in 1997 he and his son Charles founded the Redlin Art Center to house his original paintings. Ranum says his art continued to gain popularity.  So much so that in Sioux Falls students, teachers and school officials voted to name an elementary school after him.  

“I was the one the place that call to Terry Redlin and there was complete silence on the other end fo the phone when I called, and I finally had to say are you there terry?  And he said, ‘Julie, do they know what kind of student I was?’ And I said it doesn’t matter anymore Terry.  But it was something he was very humbled by to have that school named after him,” says Ranum.  

Ranum says Redlin often made donations to conservation efforts like Ducks Unlimited. During his career, his donated work raised more than 28 million dollars for charities.    

You can hear a longer interview with Julie Ranum and SDPB's Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh by clicking play below.

Governor Dennis Daugaard ordered flags across the state to half-staff on the day of Redlin’s funeral.   A public viewing is scheduled for this Friday, April 29th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Redlin Art Center in Watertown.   A private funeral and burial is planned for later.