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 Erica Merchant
Black Hills State University art instructor Erica Merchant was one of 15 artists statewide chosen to display their artwork during the South Dakota Governor’s Awards in the Arts event held earlier this month.  

South Dakotans for the Arts and the South Dakota Arts Council co-sponsor the Governor’s Awards to recognize individuals and businesses who have made a statewide impact through artistic excellence or outstanding support of the arts.

The event’s reception opened with the exhibit titled “Some of the Parts,” which was curated by D. George Prisbe.

“There were 15 of us that (Prisbe) considered among the best of South Dakota artists,” Merchant said. This is the second time Merchant has had her artwork on exhibit during the biennial art gala. In 2011, there were 43 South Dakota artists selected for a digital exhibit which featured all the art on a TV screen.

 
 Black Hills State University art instructor Erica Merchant was one of 15 artists statewide chosen to display their artwork during the South Dakota Governor’s Awards in the Arts event held earlier this month.
“It was such an honor to be on the small list that included Don Montileaux, Dale Claude Lamphere and John Lopez,” Merchant said. “Those are big names in South Dakota.”

Merchant created a piece similar to the ones featured in a recent mixed media exhibit at the BHSU Ruddell Gallery that exposed concepts of geological time and fossilized moments that are discarded or overlooked.

According to Prisbe, the group exhibit illustrates a new look on a familiar object. Viewers may recognize some features of the object; however, the context is altered and comfortable perceptions are challenged. The familiar object has taken on new meaning and symbolism – and value. “The sum of the parts becomes art,” Prisbe said in the explanation of the exhibit.

Merchant said the arts event provided her with the opportunity to not only show her art but also to talk with other artists, legislators and top administrators in statewide art communities.