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Art Institute Provides Creative and Cultural Education for High School Students

Image Oscar Howe Institute Students begin each morning at the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute in the drawing studio where they work with instructor Keith Braveheart (Oglala Lakota).

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Twenty high school students with an interest in the visual arts and Native American culture are taking part in the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute (OHSAI) this week at the University of South Dakota’s campus.

This year’s institute runs through June 17 and will give the participants a closer look into the work of notable American Indian Northern Plains artist and former USD professor Oscar Howe.

Professional Northern Plains artists and instructors such as Don Montileaux, Marwin Begaye, Bunky Echo-Hawk and Roger Broer will teach workshops that focus on Native American history and culture. Students attend drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, cultural studies and art history classes for multiple hours per day to concentrate on assignments and explore their talents. The workshops are housed in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts studios, providing participants with all the art equipment and resources a major university has to offer.

OHSAI participants, who must be in grades 10-12, are chosen based on an application, a letter of reference, and a portfolio of artwork. Those chosen then attend for free and receive a holistic campus and community experience including on-campus housing and meals, field trips to area museums and cultural facilities, and a final honoring ceremony, gallery exhibition and sale of student artworks that is open to the public. The institute, founded to educate the next generation of Native American artists, provides its participants a first glimpse into their artistic future.


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News