THE BLACK HILLS ART ASSOCIATION in Spearfish, SD was organized as an all volunteer organization, a tradition that continues today. It takes the efforts of many to put on successful shows, workshops, and exhibits and to manage the affairs of the Association. If you are interested in helping and want to join in the fun, there are many ways you can help to make sure the BHAA is an exciting experience for everyone. We are open to all individuals interested in the visual arts, and welcome artists of all levels of expertise. Please join us.
Meetings are held at the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce Conference Room on the first Saturday of each month, except July, August and December.
Our members have a planned outing together in July to enjoy the artistic endeavors of other people in the Black Hills. Our December “meeting” is our Christmas Party on the first Saturday, at a restaurant in Spearfish, SD. Members exchange gifts.
Over the years there have been many interesting and exciting presentations and classes following our meetings. There have been “paint-outs” at various Black Hills’ sites, sketching of mine sites, horses, old barns/homes and historical buildings on Main Street. Instruction for using the pallet knife with oil, painting brass, etching glass, carving wood or stone, leather tooling, silk screening, calligraphy, painting china, blockprinting, framing and matting of pictures, and decorating Ukrainian Easter eggs. There have also been basic and advanced instruction for oil, acrylic and watercolor painting. Art videos have been purchased to be viewed by the group or to be borrowed by the individual.
Each year through 2017 an Art Scholarship was given by BHAA to a talented art student who attended Black Hills State University. The student was invited to annual Christmas Party to receive the award. Art Scholarship was originally instituted with the college in 1980. Starting in 2018, Art Scholarship awarded to chosen elementary student/school represented in Student Exhibit at annual art show and sale every September.
Members are invited to display artwork at various sites throughout the year. BHAA artists have had their art exhibited for a month at the Bay Leaf Café and City Hall in Spearfish, the Public Library and the Sturgis Center for the Arts in Sturgis. There is the opportunity to participate in the Festival in the Park in Spearfish, SD; the Meade County Fair in Sturgis; the Central States Fair in Rapid City, SD; the Newell Art Show, Newell, SD; the Nisland Art Show, Nisland, SD, and the Alzada Show, Alzada, MT.
Our membership is open to all. Everyone is welcome regardless of medium or level of expertise. We are grateful to Boots Keller and the Charter Members of BHAA for providing this organization to promote our art in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
THE BLACK HILLS ART ASSOCIATION, THE BHAA, was founded by Phyllis H. Kellar in March 1962. The Articles of Incorporation were drawn up by her husband, Kenneth Kellar, a Homestake Mining Company Attorney in Lead, South Dakota, and was incorporated on March 25, 1962, in Lead, SD.
Toni Horsefall of Deadwood, SD, was the first president. The first annual meeting was held in May l962. Those attending with paid dues constituted the Charter Members: Phyllis “Boots” Kellar, Toni Horsefall, Viola Burke, Lottie Sherril Frost, Thomas J. Bombinski, Clarence Cawiezel, Marguerite Cocking, Muriel Fillmore, Lucille Berger, Adelaide Pond, and Lucille Johnson.
Members were from Lead, Deadwood, Spearfish, Belle Fourche, Newell, Sturgis, St. Onge , Nemo, and Upton and Beulah Wyoming. Members later joined from Black Hawk, Nisland, Vale, Whitewood, Hot Springs, and Rapid City. The membership in 1967-1968 was 94 members. Initially, a National Fall Art Show was presented each year in one of the various towns. In 1965 it was held in Belle Fourche and notation indicates nearly 2000 people came to see the paintings, ceramics and other work. There were over 400 entries cataloged.
In 1968 the first Spring Art and Crafts Show was presented. It was determined in later years that two shows per year over- extended finances and manpower and the Spring Art Show was discontinued. At the fall showing in 1968, it is noted that 381 invitations were sent out and 257 entrees exhibited from Indiana, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and Oregon. During this time, application could be made to the South Dakota Fine Arts Council for matching funds to promote art through greater opportunities for the local artists. BHAA received these grants.
Merchants in the various towns donated funds and were sponsors of the Art Shows. The artists also had fundraising projects. Among them: a Johanna Meier Concert (profit $764); sold luncheon food at the Days of ’76, an ice cream social, a style show, raffles for $50 or paintings, and silent auctions. In 1971 they had a Parade of Homes (5 homes) that generated $827.
In 1970, the money offered by the South Dakota Art Council was to be awarded to applicants who had a progressive project.
BHAA had a progressive project in practice. In 1968 - 69, BHAA volunteered at the Dorsett Home giving art lessons to the residents once a month. It worked well to have one instructor for two individuals. The Deadwood Shriners and Elk Lodge financed the cost of material. Later they also offered workshops to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Lead Senior Citizen Center, Newell’s Senior Citizens’ Center and Twin Cities’ Nursing Home. Initially, monthly meetings were held at alternating towns in community rooms or libraries. Eventually, the meetings were in the members’ homes. A picture-of-the month was chosen for each town and the local talent was displayed in their town. Businesses invited the local artists to display their art on their store/office walls during the year.
In 1970 the Annual Fall Art Show was presented at the Spearfish Holiday Inn, with a banquet following. This remained the site of the Fall Show and celebration until the management of Holiday Inn changed. Until 2016, the Fall Art Show was held Hudson Hall in Spearfish. In 2017, the art show found a new home at Studio 621 downtown Spearfish.