Folk Art History Ranges From Modernity To Dawn Of Civilization

Jun 5, 2017

A three-dimensional cross between a picture and a sculpture, created with leather by artist Clay Banyai.
Credit Victoria Wicks

Traditional art, or folk art, is now featured at The Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City. An exhibit titled "Black Hills Bounty" opened this weekend with a Friday night reception and Saturday demonstrations by some of the artists.

Folk art is characterized by identifiable methods of creation, some of them reaching back into antiquity. Weavers use a loom, spinners use a wheel, and indigenous artists use native materials.

Many of the items on display at The Dahl are simply decorative. There are forged metal calla lilies and three-dimensional leather creations suitable for framing.

But other items have use. There's a felt cowboy hat, a thick warm lap robe, and a bow with arrows used for hunting game.

Some of the arts on display are as old as civilization; others are as new as detailing motorcycles.

This weekend, SDPB's Victoria Wicks watched artists work and learned more about their crafts, to bring us this story.

Andrea Graham
Credit Victoria Wicks

The traditional arts exhibition at The Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City has been two years in the making. Guest curator Andrea Graham spent a year in the field finding Black Hills folk artists and another year putting it all together. Graham tells SDPB's Victoria Wicks that folk artists in various disciplines belong to tight communities, where she learned of artists by word of mouth.