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June 10 opening day celebration for "Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe" and "Continuum: Honoring Oscar Howe’s Legacy"

"Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe" at South Dakota Art Museum
"Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe" at the South Dakota Art Museum
June 10-Sept. 17, 2023

The South Dakota Art Museum at South Dakota State University celebrates the opening of the highly anticipated Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe with free festivities for all ages, from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on June 10. The opening day celebration takes place inside the museum and on Anderson Plaza and the Campus Green behind the museum, 1036 Medary Ave., Brookings (inside in the case of inclement weather). A complete listing of the day’s events is available.

Visitors on June 10 will be the first to view the South Dakota Art Museum’s exhibition of Dakota Modern and Continuum: Honoring Oscar Howe’s Legacy and will have the opportunity to meet and hear talks by exhibition curators and artists. People of all ages will enjoy performances by Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux) musicians, dancers and story tellers from noon to 4 p.m., with food trucks and activity tables open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All events and museum admission are free of charge. Seating for the morning and evening talks is limited; free seat reservations can be made from the museum or by calling 605-688-5423.

South Dakota Art Museum Director Donna Merkt said she hopes this day will be centered around community and celebration.

“This is a very special weekend, as people travel from across the country to visit the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings. It is an honor for the museum to host not only Oscar Howe’s stunning artwork, but also the incredible artistic talents traditional to people of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ through music, visual art, and storytelling. We hope friends near and far will celebrate Howe’s artistic legacy and visit the museum throughout the summer to see these special exhibitions.”

The day begins with a “Coffee with the Curators” at 9 a.m. in the museum’s lower level. Two of the Dakota Modern curators, Kathleen Ash-Milby and Christina Burke, will be in Brookings for the opening celebration and will provide a “Conversation with the Curators” at 10 a.m. This is a ticketed program with free reservations as explained above.

Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., activities and performances will be going on outdoors (if there is poor weather, all programs will continue indoors). Activity tables hosted by community partners will be set up outside with engagement activities for families. There will also be food trucks available to purchase meals and snacks.

First up for outdoor performances is Bryan Akipa, a Dakota flute player, maker and artist at noon. Akipa studied art under Oscar Howe as a young man for six semesters and he is also featured in the exhibition, Continuum: Honoring Oscar Howe’s Legacy. On performing and participating in the Museum’s programs and exhibitions, he said, “All of this…remembering and thinking about Oscar Howe, talking about him; I’ve really enjoyed it…so much came from this show, and it’s been really important to me.”

The performances outdoors continue with a Hoop Dance performance by Jackie Bird at 1 p.m. In all her performances, Bird has been praised for her ability to get her audience involved with her contemporary and traditional music, songs and dances, while sharing the beliefs of her Native American culture.

At 2:30 p.m., WAKPA IPAKSAN, the Flandreau Indian School Youth Drum Circle, will perform with dancers. Visitors are encouraged to dance along. Closing the outdoor performances at 3:30 p.m. is Jerry Fogg, Yankton Sioux artist and storyteller. Fogg will share stories and teach about the history and values of his people.

The day closes with “Oscar Howe Legacy Talk” from 6:30–8 p.m. in the museum’s auditorium. Oglala Lakota artist Keith BraveHeart will moderate a discussion with three artists who studied under Oscar Howe: Colleen Cutschall, Donald F. Montileaux and Bryan Akipa. They will discuss their artistic work as well as Oscar Howe’s impact. All four artists are represented in Continuum: Honoring Oscar Howe’s Legacy, the South Dakota Art Museum curated exhibition that features artworks by students of Oscar Howe and their protegees.  This presentation is free, but registration is required. 

About "Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe" at the South Dakota Art Museum

Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe culminates its national tour in Oscar Howe’s home state of South Dakota. Dakota Modern will be on view June 10–Sept. 17 at the South Dakota Art Museum at South Dakota State University in Brookings. This retrospective exhibition celebrating the art of Yanktonai Dakota artist Oscar Howe was curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby and organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Portland Art Museum. Major support was provided by The Henry Luce Foundation, generous support was provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and additional support was provided by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.

The exhibition of Dakota Modern at the South Dakota Art Museum, and corresponding education and outreach programs, is supported by many generous donors, including First Bank and Trust, an anonymous benefactor, South Dakota State University Office of the President and the Wokini Initiative, Venance and Deborah Lengkeek and Meyer Orthodontics.

Significant operational support for the South Dakota Art Museum is provided by South Dakota State University. Additional support is provided by the South Dakota Arts Council (with funds from the state of South Dakota, through the Department of Tourism and the National Endowment for the Arts) and museum members and donors.

For more information about Dakota Modern at the South Dakota Art Museum and the museum’s Oscar Howe Collection visit the South Dakota Art Museum , email the museum, or call 605-688-5423.