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Native Sun News: Indian art market opens in downtown Rapid City

The following story was written and reported by Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

Bert Malcom, left, and Brandis Knudson collaborate on stage at Main Street Square during the opening of the Northern Plains Art Market in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Northern Plains Art Market opens in Main Street Square
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Editor

RAPID CITY –– The first He Sapa Center for Performing Arts Northern Plains Indian Art Market at Main Street Square in downtown Rapid City opened with the artistry of top notch up-and-coming Native American musicians.

“I like the contemporary music,” event organizer Robert Cook said. “It introduces a new sound from the Indian Community; it’s not the same kind of music we usually hear.”

The Northern Plains Indian Art Market kicked off last Tuesday night and will continue every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the summer (except Tuesday, July 21).

Several artists took advantage of the canopies and seating that were provided to Northern Plains artists free of charge for the summer.

Musician Bert Malcom proved himself to be the proverbial voice of the inner city poet when he hit the stage at Main Street Square. Although Malcom now resides in Oglala on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, his music is a reflection of a life on the streets of Rapid City.

Also headlining at the opening was Davidika, whose Independence Through Music Project is the catalyst for many Native musicians. Several Native musicians also took center stage including; Spoken Word Artist Aristotle Spotted Thunder, Country singer Christian Hunter, Lakota singer, Darian Young Man, Rap Artist Brandis Knudson and singer guitarist Jim Robertson.

Alderwoman Darla Drew Lerdal said the brainstorm for the Northern Plains Art Market at Main Street came as a result of wanting to move the Northern Plains Art Market and Powwow Grounds forward.

“The Northern Plains Art Market and Powwow Garden has been in the pipeline with Vision Fund for 12 years. It basically hasn’t moved forward,” Lerdal said and that the council was moving toward not funding the project.

However Lerdal said she was impressed when the City Council gave the Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates a specific deadline to raise the needed funds to keep the Art market on the table.

“When I came on there was kind of a move to not fund it because it hasn’t gotten started. But I seen some pretty amazing things with fundraising in Indian Country. The Atta Group was given some specific guidelines and how much they had to raise which was done and they were given 90 days and during that time they raised about $600,000” she said.

“I was pretty impressed. But at the same I wanted to help work with them on a pilot program. So they could get some practice and get out some of the wrinkles before they actually got their own facility,” she said.

Lerdal had asked the city council to award ATTA $25,000 from their contingency fund for the pilot project, but the City Attorney said they could not fund events.

So Lerdal with the assistance of Robert Cook and an anonymous donor, who gave ATTA $25,000 to fund the mini art market, and a few meetings with the personnel of Main Street Square, the idea of having the Northern Plains Art Market at Main Street Square was born. The event which will include Northern Plains Indian Artists, Native jewelry, music, dance and storytelling will run throughout the summer.

“I would like to thank the Rapid City Council, Darla Drew Lerdal and Robert Cook for coming up with the idea of having a mini art market and partnering with Main Street Square for the venue site. Also a thank you to the anonymous donor! Now it’s up to us the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota nation to tell our stories through cultural art and to let our entrepreneurial spirit shine,” Daphne Richards Cook, executive director of ATTA said.

Northern Plains artists are invited to join in on the festivities and contact Robert or Daphne at 605-545-3351 or 646-770-6324 for more information.

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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