Guild to hear from Heritage Center director

Courtesy photo: Mary Maxon

The South Dakota Art Museum Guild will host a virtual presentation from 9:30–10:30 a.m. Tuesday featuring Mary Maxon, director of The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge. Maxon will speak about The Heritage Center and its annual Red Cloud Indian Art Show.

This program is free and open to the public via Zoom. Advanced registration is required. The link to register is available at

The Heritage Center, located on the campus of Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, serves as a source of inspiration, education, access to marketplace, and archive of material culture for Lakota people – and visitors from all across the globe who wish to honor and celebrate the Lakota culture, Native art, and a significant historic collection. The Heritage Center program began 53 years ago with the first annual Red Cloud Indian Art Show and the purchase of three award-winning pieces from that show. The annual art show, and the collection continued to grow, and The Heritage Center moved into a dedicated space within Drexel Hall in 1982. Today there are over 10,000 historic and contemporary pieces in the collection.

The Heritage Center represents the rich material culture of North America’s Native community and the skill and creativity that are mainstays of Lakota culture. More than just a museum or art gallery, the center’s social enterprise gift shop and online store works to ensure that local artists are empowered to increase their own economic self-sufficiency by making their work available to a wider community, and in doing so, preserve their work and extend appreciation for their artistry to all corners of the globe.

Maxon joined the Red Cloud staff in August 2012 as the collections manager for The Heritage Center. She was hired as the curator in 2014 and became the director in 2015. Originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, she earned degrees in studio art and zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A museum professional since 1985, Maxon is experienced in almost every aspect of museum work and is especially interested in arts and culture as an integral part of a vibrant, healthy, thriving community.

She has been responsible for managing several large projects in the arts. Most recently she guided The Heritage Center through an artist-led, community-influenced exhibition development process for Horse Nation of the Očhéthi Šakówin. The touring exhibition provided a platform for Native artists to express themselves and their culture in an authentic voice. The process included almost two years of community and artist input meetings. The exhibition itself included more than 100 contributors, and catalog and film publications are in process. The exhibition was on view at the South Dakota Art Museum in 2017.

This is the fifth program in the guild’s 2021 talks providing lively conversation and interesting speakers from across the U.S. with ties to South Dakota and the South Dakota Art Museum. The guild supports the South Dakota Art Museum through programs like this, volunteering and art acquisition funds. Guild membership is not required to attend these free programs, but the $20 annual dues support these programs and the guild's Art Acquisition Fund. Following each presentation will be a short guild meeting from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Contact Carolyne Hart at 605-688-4313 with any questions regarding this program, registration and the use of Zoom.



Video News
More In Local