Sioux Falls, SD — A new art gallery in Sioux Falls has emerged as a place for contemporary Native American artists to showcase their talents and broaden the scope of the Sioux Falls arts community.
Post Pilgrim Gallery, located in the lower level of Last Stop CD Shop on East 10th Street, is operated by Native American painter Jennifer White.
“I never knew I wanted to do something like this,” said White. “Once Prairie Star went away, I realized the necessity for a place for Natives to show their work.”
Prairie Star closed late August of last year, and Sioux Falls witnessed the loss of its most coveted places to buy and sell Native art for the past 20 years.
At the moment, seven artists including White are on display at the gallery: Paul High Horse of Omaha, NE; Galen LaRoche of Pine Ridge, SD; Donald Montileaux of Rapid City, SD; Dwayne Wilcox of Rapid City, SD; Melanie Kae Ratzlaff of Parker, SD; and Robert Martinez of Riverton WY.
Learn more about the artists here.
Since its opening, the gallery has caused quite a stir in the community.
“All kinds of people come in here,” said White. “Young Native kids especially are blown away.”
The arts in Sioux Falls is witnessing White’s vision of what it means to be a modern Native American artist, while trying to keep the Native arts community alive and thriving. Recently, the South Dakota Arts Council named her one of the 50 South Dakota Artists to Watch:
“I believe it is crucial – especially in these crazy times – to speak as loud as we can as Native people of this country. Our culture is more than what we have been told, our culture is more than what we expect from ourselves. We are going to continue to evolve and conquer our fears; I chose to do it through my art. I am proud to be a Native Painter. I am proud to be a woman gallery owner, and I will work very hard to do right by the people I love.” — Jennifer White via South Dakota Arts Council.
Native American art can be a contentious topic much like many facets of life in the Native community, but White does not let that prevent her from pursuing her passion. There are many ideas as to what makes Native art inherently Native, but White would prefer not to place that pressure on other artists.
“There is no blood quantum [qualification] to show work here,” says White. “I think our future is more important than dwelling on the past, and we are looking at the future for children.”
Next door to the gallery is where The White Wall Sessions are housed, which is a venue for local musicians to showcase their talents.
“I really love having art & music right next to each other,” says White. “It’s a space for visionaries who care about the community to gather.”
The gallery also does a version of First Fridays by holding it on the last Friday of the month (Last Fridays) in which a new exhibit is up for display.