Top Spots to Find Local Black Hills Art in Downtown Rapid City | Black Hills Travel Blog

Top Spots to Find Local Black Hills Art in Downtown Rapid City

  • Top Spots to Find Local Black Hills Art in Downtown Rapid City
    Top Spots to Find Local Black Hills Art in Downtown Rapid City
Thursday, July 22, 2021
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The art of Downtown Rapid City undeniably matches the spirit of the region; it’s beautiful and timeless. The area’s art showcases a warm, welcoming community with a strong love for the natural world that surrounds it. Your Black Hills and Badlands experience will be rounded and enriched by exploring the Rapid City art world and visiting these galleries, artisans and locations filled with creativity and passion. 

Here are the top spots to find local Black Hills art in Downtown Rapid City.

In an alley

Art Alley is home to a dynamic display of ever-changing street art located between 6th and 7th street in Downtown Rapid City. Part of the alley’s particular charm, apart from the high-caliber, rotating street art, is that it is a project born of cooperation between the community and its artists. To make their mark in the alley, all artists must first obtain a permit. The permits are facilitated through the Rapid City Arts Council and are simple to get.

The convenient location means this spot is always humming with life and right within all the downtown fun. You can often find several artists working in tandem as local musicians take their performance to the alley, bringing an electric atmosphere of shared creativity and joy.

At a local drum company

After you explore Art Alley, take your art tour to Dakota Drum Company on Main Street. Their products are uniquely made, from the hand-scraped buffalo hides to the hand-painted art by award-winning Lakota and Sioux artist Sonja Holy Eagle.

With 20 years of business, the company specializes in traditional buffalo hide drums, hide paints, powwow drums and more, all delicately crafted by hand and available for purchase. In addition to the hide paints and drums, you can also find many traditional arts and crafts at the shop, including beadwork and quillwork. Each item is made by artisans from the Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and Cheyenne River reservations. Stop in, peruse their beautiful collection and even take a piece home with you to cherish forever.

On the streets

The Rapid City art experience pours from Art Alley and covers the downtown area in delightfully unexpected places. Many of the downtown businesses have commissioned murals that decorate the streets in bright colors and remarkable artistry. Tour the streets, snap a photo with a few of the bronze Presidents along the way and discover some of the area’s murals. The mural at Firehouse Brewing Company, the two-story-tall Badlands mural behind the Elks Theater and the stunning Native American Mural by Racing Magpie are a few you can take in.

You’ll be amazed at all the art that covers the streets—even the utility boxes are wrapped in local photography, paintings, drawings and stickers, further dedicating the area to artistic expression.

At the community art center

Only a block and a half from Art Alley, the Dahl Arts Center hosts a variety of rotating art exhibits, live performances, classes, free activities, and emerging artist shows to soak in the Black Hills culture.

The impressive contemporary gallery features both local and regional art exhibits in multiple mediums. Purchase a piece of art to take home from their gift shop that showcases and supports more than 80 local artisans. Be sure to check the center’s website during your visit to see the latest exhibits and events.

Within local galleries

Downtown Rapid City has several galleries dotting the streets where you can experience different shades of the local art scene. Each gallery has its own personality and offers a unique way to take in Black Hills culture.

  • Shaviq Studio & Gallery, located across the street from Independent Ale House, features a wide variety of handmade items by over 60 South Dakota artists. The studio also offers classes led by area artists year-round and serves as the ultimate gift shop for local souvenirs. Shop original artwork, jewelry and greeting cards.
  • Racing Magpie houses a variety of rotating exhibits from South Dakota artists and has an online store with local artists’ original artwork for sale. Check their website for all current and future shows.
  • James Van Nuys Gallery is the establishment of local painter and sculptor, James Van Nuys. Van Nuys is locally known as one of the sculptors for the City of Presidents and has sculpted the likenesses of Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson and, most recently, Barack Obama and his daughter Sasha.
    For 30 years, Van Nuys has been creating images of the Black Hills, Badlands and prairies of western South Dakota. Stop by his gallery, located across the street from the historic Elks Theatre, to see his showcased paintings, engravings, sculptures and more.
  • Perfect Hanging Gallery displays local and regional fine art and offers unique, local gifts to take home.

In a historic, two-story, block-wide building

Standing two stories tall and stretching a full block, Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries displays fine art, goods and an enormous mercantile showcasing Great Plains Indian culture through crafts, books, music and cultural artifact reproductions. The beautiful and expansive gallery provides Northern Plains Indian artists with an outlet for their work and educates the public on their rich heritage and culture. Since the early 1980s, the establishment has been dedicated to this mission and to preserving the remarkable legacy of its artists.

The gallery is located conveniently across the street from Main Street Square, so you can continue your tour of the downtown area and browse their extensive collection of fine art. Afterwards, find a one-of-a-kind piece in their gift shop to commemorate your visit.

At a space fostering personal growth and self-esteem

Just off of Mount Rushmore Road, the Suzie Cappa Art Center supports artists of all abilities and gives them a space to create, exhibit and showcase their work for all to enjoy. Founded in 2001 in memory of local artist Suzie Cappa, the unique gallery provides an atmosphere that fosters the personal growth and self-esteem of the artists. Take a self-guided walk through the gallery during your visit and explore the displays of art made in various mediums.

Find out more about all the ways you can explore the art scene and do the next big thing in Rapid City at

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