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The Cathy and Ken Vogele Collection

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The Cathy and Ken Vogele Collection gallery shot

The South Dakota Art Museum is excited to share the first selection of works recently acquired from the Cathy and Ken Vogele Collection. The Vogeles have played an important role in cultivating American Indian arts and crafts in the state. Beyond building a substantial private collection, they have shared the wisdom of their connoisseurship as board members for the South Dakota Art Museum and Northern Plains Tribal Arts Show. The Vogeles also connected Lakota artisans to good quality materials and sales opportunities through their Sioux Trading Post shops in Rapid City and Mission. Their advocacy for and support of American Indian arts in South Dakota is a legacy that the South Dakota Art Museum is honored to preserve with this collection.

The Vogeles have been collecting American Indian artworks and artifacts for over 50 years. Ken, a native South Dakotan, grew up with an interest in American Indian artifacts. He met and married Cathy Kempf in 1968 and they began to build their collection the following year. The Vogeles moved to Rapid City in 1975. Ken opened his medical practice, posting signs in his exam rooms letting patients know "Dr. Vogele would like to purchase old American Indian artifacts such as Beadwork and Quillwork, etc." Cathy met and befriended Emma Amiotte, a Lakota artisan and Manager of the Tipi Shop at the Sioux Indian Museum and Crafts Center, and began learning more about contemporary Indian craftwork. Over the next few years Cathy and Ken deepened their commitment to collecting. They began attending auctions and conferences, developing friendships and networks with other collectors and Indian art dealers.

Cathy and Emma’s relationship evolved into a good friendship, with Emma becoming an adopted “grandma” to Cathy and Ken’s children. In 1981 Emma retired as Tipi Shop Manager and by 1984 she had convinced Cathy to start a business buying and selling Lakota craftwork. The two would travel to the homes of craftworkers in Pine Ridge and Rosebud to purchase bead and quillwork. Because of a shortage of good quality materials, Cathy began supplying beads and hides to some of the artisans.

In 1985 the Vogeles partnered with Joe Rivera to open the Sioux Trading Post in Rapid City, creating a storefront that provided the full range of supplies for artisans and opportunities to sell their work. In 1987 the Vogeles bought out Joe Rivera’s share of the business. In 1988 they purchased Del Trading Post in Mission transforming it into a second site for the Sioux Trading Post. In 1990 they expanded the original Sioux Trading Post in Rapid City, buying and remodeling a larger building to house their operations. In 1993, Ray Hillenbrand of Prairie Edge in Rapid City purchased the Sioux Trading Post from the Vogeles and incorporated it into Prairie Edge, where it still operates today.

The Cathy and Ken Vogele Collection was built through a multi-faceted combination of their roles as collectors, purveyors and community members in American Indian arts. The collection itself reflects this transitional quality through its combination of both historical and contemporary works made by known and unknown artisans. Some works represent very personal connections between the Vogeles and contemporary artisans they’ve cultivated relationships with. Other works were collected from artisans completely unknown to the Vogeles because of the impressive craftsmanship, uniqueness or even the authenticity of the wear and aura of a work. The Vogeles bought works to live within their homes and their collection can be found in every room. In this sense, the collection as a whole is an extension of the Vogeles, a bigger picture of their life together, their values, their desires and their lived experiences in collecting and cultivating American Indian art.

This first exhibition from the collection is a celebration of that transitional quality in its inclusion of both historical and contemporary works from several tribal affiliations. The exhibition focuses on three core object types collected in depth by the Vogeles: moccasins, dolls and baby carriers. We hope visitors enjoy this first sharing of the Vogele Collection. We know it to be a rich resource to be shared in many different ways in the coming years. We are grateful to have it to preserve and share.


Beautiful collection. I used to work in RC at RCMC and never knew this about Dr. Vogele.

Wow! Great to be back. Love Indian arts!

Thank you for sharing this beautiful artwork with us!

I like the baby stuff!

I like some of the shoes!


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