corona virus

Artists And COVID-19: Shawn Espinosa

Apr 28, 2020

Many artists are losing money during the pandemic because shows and events are canceled. But that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped creating. Some work from  their studios  and sell to individuals across the country.

Native American tribes across the country used to warp rawhide into containers then decorate the outside with color pigments from nature. The traditional work is called parfleche art. Shawn Espinosa has been working with the medium for years. 

“Including parfleche boxes, pouches. Earrings are one of my really good sellers.” 

Art Organizations Struggling During Pandemic

Apr 28, 2020
Black Hills Playhouse

Many art organizations and nonprofits depend on public events and performances to pay the bills. Anything that draws a crowd can’t happen right now. So arts organizers and artists  are searching for  loans and grants to keep their work afloat.

Art organizations spend months, sometimes years planning their seasons. Jennifer Teisinger is the Executive Director of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra. She remembers when this year’s  plans dissolved. 

“Thursday March 12th is when we really started to see things change.” 

Parade Thanks Sioux San Hospital Campus Employees

Apr 21, 2020

Health care workers around the state and nation continue to put themselves at risk to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Rapid City, community members held a drive by car caravan to thank Indian Health Service employees. 

People honk horns, wave out car windows and hold up signs thanking essential employees. Health care workers line the sidewalks and wave back, their eyes grinning behind their face masks. 

Richie Richards organized the event. 

NDN Collective

A Rapid City organization is raising money to support Indigenous efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. NDN Collective has raised more than three million dollars for organizations working with Indigenous communities around the country.

NDN Collective was started a few years ago to help support Indigenous leaders and efforts. Now, they’ve changed their focus to funding pandemic relief. Nick Tilsen is the President.

Community Theater Brings Back Radio Plays

Apr 14, 2020

Before there was television, radio theatre entertained families in their homes. Actors read their lines complete with sound effects - and imagination helped the productions come to life. Well, the Sioux Empire Community Theater is bringing that tradition back. It’s a way to share shows virtually during the global pandemic.  


The Sioux Empire Community Theater’s ‘virtual season’ has begun. The first radio play is called  “Death of a Jazz Man.” It’s a Monty Python-esque retelling of “Death of Salesman.”


Artists And COVID-19: Kimberly Bachman

Apr 14, 2020

Elderly residents of assisted living homes could once enjoy musical performances and on-site entertainment. But the coronavirus pandemic means those events are canceled to protect residents in the homes who pose a high risk for COVID-19. 

Kimberly Bachman is a part time traveling musician. She plays banjo, mandolin and guitar under the stage name Kimberly Kaye. This year, she had a plan to tour the state. Specifically, she wanted to  perform her style of old time country, bluegrass music at nursing homes across South Dakota.

Artists And COVID-19: Jean Roach

Apr 14, 2020

Some artists depend on networking and social interaction to sell their work. But for now, travel to gallery shows and art fairs is on hold. And that means many creators are struggling for ways to make a living during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jean Roach creates and sells handmade jewelry. She’s been an artist most of her life, starting with beadwork.   

Artists And COVID-19: Dylan James Lewis

Apr 14, 2020

Musicians are canceling gigs months in advance to follow social distancing practices and avoid bringing people together in groups. It’s an essential public health response to a pandemic, but it also means no income for full time musicians.  

Dylan James Lewis is in several bands. He plays guitar and mandolin… is in a band with his life partner and pieces together his income.

“Giving music lessons, playing gigs and shows by myself as well as with other bands and then with my main project which is with my life partner and that’s called Humbletown.”

With recommendations to stay at home because of the pandemic, it’s tough for elderly people to keep stocked up on household supplies. To help, volunteers in Rapid City are putting care packages together.

Sunny Red Bear and her partner are delivering supplies to seniors in predominantly Native communities. 

“We’re starting in Lakota Homes and after today we’ll reach about 55 homes so far.” 

Their project started about a week ago. Packages include canned goods, grooming and cleaning supplies. 

WAVI Taking COVID-19 Precautions

Mar 17, 2020
Courtesy WAVI

  The nonprofit Working Against Violence Inc., or WAVI, offers a safe place for women and children in dangerous…abusive…and unsafe situations. The staff is taking precautions to help ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t put their residents in harm's way. 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Schools across the state have been shut down for the week for deep cleaning at the recommendation of Governor Noem. Some parents are making the best of their children's time at home by adding tradition to the curriculum. 

Kim Tilsen-Brave Heart owns a Catering company in Rapid City. She’s currently staying at home with her kids, and teaching them how Lakota history relates to their lives today.