Suzie Cappa Art Center: ‘A wonderful place with wonderful artists’

by DEE ANDERSON

I use the word “wonderful” a lot when I like something, especially when it is something that is very satisfying.  My husband Ben and I moved to Rapid City, South Dakota from Northwest Wisconsin this past January 2013.  We became involved with the non-profit Black Hills Works which serves over 615 persons with disabilities. They work to help people find jobs, a home life, personal care and therapy.  They wear a lot of hats.  One of their services is a “wonderful” workshop.  In fact, they now have two shops for their entrepreneurial artists so that they can bring their talents and gifts of creativity to the general public.

This wonderful shop for their “artistes” has a new downtown location called the Suzie Cappa Art Center. It opened in March with a four-day open house which was held April 17-20. It is named in memory of Suzie Cappa who received services from Black Hills Works.  When Ben and I first visited Suzie Cappa last October 2012 it was at their original workplace on Range Road. It is a spacious building with lots of energy being focused on creativity.  Now, with the new and additional downtown location, these 60 plus artist’s works are available for the general public to see, appreciate and purchase which includes a lot of “tourists” from around the U.S. and other countries.  This gives the artists a way to sell their artwork and obtain 60 percent of the profit for themselves. The remaining 40 percent of sales goes back to Suzie Cappa Art Center to purchase more supplies. To quote from their informational flyer “Artists study and create in a wide variety of artistic mediums, including photography, ceramics, collage, music, dance, theatre, acrylic and watercolor painting, weaving, pottery and sculpture.” unquote    That is really …..Wonderful!  There are so many diverse areas of creativity. That is a good feeling and fulfillment for both the artist and the viewing public.

Their 2013 artist of the year is Mike Leithauser.  Like many of the center’s artists, he has explored many mediums over the years.

Mike Leithauser

Mike Leithauser is the 2013 Artist of the Year at the Suzie Cappa Art Center in Rapid City, S.D.

We were pleasantly surprised and happy that this new downtown art center was made possible to Black Hills Works in 2011 with an anonymous donation of $570 thousand dollars to relocate downtown Rapid City. In 2001 the original Suzie Cappa Center began and Brad A Winter (who was the PVI instructor at that time) was asked to help get the art center up and running.  He has done a marvelous job and he is now the Director of Suzie Cappa Center. When visiting their art gallery we could view the artists creating their own works. It has a cordial and inviting atmosphere and it was good to see the artists also interacting with each other on some projects.In fact, Ben and I got to know a few of the artists even before we knew they were doing artwork at Suzie Cappa. Ben and I were hired as part time consultants through our own non-profit organization Break Through Inc to be liaisons between the people served at Black Hills Works and a church community of their choice if they so desire.  One of the young men we worked with makes some very creative three dimensional art.  One is a sculpture of a deer head with antlers.  There are so many intricate and unique art objects that are being sold and created on a daily basis here in Rapid City it would take many pages to list and describe them all.

For the reading public; please tell your friends and neighbors to come, visit and see what can be accomplished.  I know that the art center is always looking for financial gifts and donations of art supplies such as frames, colored pencils, paint brushes, acrylic and watercolor paints, mounted canvas, easels and pottery supplies, to name a few. You can view their website at www.bhwsfoundation.org and also contact Brad A. Winter at 605–343-4581 ext. 355 or email —scappa@bhws.com  The Suzie Cappa Center is located downtown Rapid City, SD at 722 St. Joseph Street.

When people come together to make things come together it is…… wonderful!

Dee Anderson is vice president of Break Through Inc.

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