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Northern Plains Indian Artist Residency Recipient Announced for 2021 Season

Reyna Hernandez wearing a mask with her arms crossed. She stands in front of one of the Vermillion community murals. Reyna Hernandez is the 2021 Northern Plains Indian Artist in Residence. Photo courtesy of Aaron C. Packard Productions

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota is proud to announce the 2021 Northern Plains Indian Artist in Residence (NPIAR), Reyna Hernandez ‘16.

The NPIAR is part of the USD Contemporary Native Arts Program (CNAP), which also includes the Oscar Howe Summer Arts Institute (OHSAI) and the Oscar Howe Curatorial Fellowship.

Hernandez (Yankton Sioux) received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and a Bachelor of Arts in English from USD. Hernandez was the lead artist for the Vermillion, South Dakota, community mural projects “Eúŋkičhetupi" (Come Back to Life) and “Wanahča" (To Blossom). She was a guest curator for “Bring Her Home: Sacred Womxn of Resistance, All My Relations Arts,” in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and she has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including “Articles of a Treaty,” in the Akta Lakota Museum, located in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

Hernandez has previously been part of the CNAP program as a student of the OHSAI and the Oscar Howe Curatorial Fellowship.

Hernandez’s residency will focus on a collaborative project with Ihanktunwan Dakota star quilter and mother of the artist, Claire Packard. Packard has exhibited works throughout the United States and abroad, and most recently, she was included in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2016 exhibition “Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky.”

“My interest in this opportunity is rooted in my desire to build upon the multi-faceted ways in which Dakota women artists occupy contemporary spaces and contribute to the preservation of cultural knowledge through the artistry of our matriarchs,” said Hernandez. “It is my hope to collaborate on a series of quilts that challenge the parameters placed on Indigenous female art forms by combining my mother’s craft and my experience as a conceptual artist and trained oil painter.”

The NPIAR program supports emerging and mid-career Native artists to integrate new media, methodologies or technologies with traditional Native arts practices, history and culture.


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