The South Dakota Art Museum's permanent collection was created when the museum opened in 1970. The first donation was a transfer of works by artist Harvey Dunn originally given to the people of South Dakota and to South Dakota State College (now South Dakota State University).
Additional significant donations followed including important works by Native Americans, South Dakota, regional and international artists and Marghab Linens. Recent acquisitions include the Vogel and Cockerline Collections.
The South Dakota Art Museum's permanent collections demonstrate the museum's commitment to its mission. The collection is a reflection of the visual arts in South Dakota and surrounding regions. Today, the museum's extensive permanent collection is comprised of nearly 7,000 items ranging from paintings, works on paper, textiles, Native American, sculpture and ceramics.