BHSU alumni publish book to honor Black Hills artist Dick Fort

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, October 21, 2014/Categories: 2014

A book signing and documentary screening honoring Black Hills artist Dick Fort will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Dahl Fine Arts Center in Rapid City.

Black Hills State University alumni Christle Honadel-Robinson and Dee Welsch compiled photographs of Black Hills artist Dick Fort's work to publish a book of his artwork, "Dick Fort: Visual Art Retrospective."

A silent auction for Black Hills artist Dick Fort's "South of Inyan Cara" will be held at an event honoring his work on Saturday.

Two Black Hills State University alumni are honoring the work of Black Hills artist Dick Fort, with the book "Dick Fort: Visual Art Retrospective."

Christle Honadel-Robinson and Dee Welsch, both BHSU alumni, compiled and photographed nearly 200 pieces of Fort's artwork created over the years for the book.

An event honoring Dick Fort will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Dahl Fine Arts Center in Rapid City. A book signing for "Dick Fort: Visual Art Retrospective" will be held in conjunction with the screening of the documentary "Fort ... A Spearfish Canyon Rhapsody." Fort will be at the event to sign the book. The event is free and open to the public.

The documentary tells the story of Fort's relationship with the Black Hills over the years, his artwork and music, which have been inspired by the region.

Born in Mitchell, Fort is described as a painter, sculptor, composer, teacher and environmental activist. Fort grew up mostly in eastern South Dakota, but his family spent much of their time in the Black Hills. Since his youth, Fort has had a love of art, spending his time painting and drawing. After serving in World War II, Fort earned his bachelor of fine arts and masters of fine arts degrees. He worked for 28 years in the humanities department at Wilbur Wright College in Chicago. While teaching he would return to the Black Hills during the summer to paint.

After his retirement in 1984, Fort returned to the Black Hills, where he currently lives and continues to create art, compose music inspired from Native American culture and become involved in outdoor leadership groups.

"Spearfish Canyon and the Black Hills are a special passion and preoccupation of mine," Fort said. "These recurring subjects appear through my painting history and are very significant to me."

"An environmentalist at heart, I tried to maintain the integrity of Spearfish Canyon throughout my paintings and convey that humans need to pay attention to their relations with nature," he added. "The economic nature of Spearfish Canyon is worth millions to the Black Hills and South Dakota's economy. Anything to preserve and enhance that, we should be doing."

Honadel-Robinson, who was involved with the Lead-Deadwood Arts Council for a number of years, became familiar with Fort's work through organizing two art shows for him in Lead and Deadwood.

She wanted more people to be able to enjoy Fort's work. So, she set out to publish a book filled with his artwork. "Dick Fort: Visual Art Retrospective" is available by calling Christle Honadel-Robinson at 605-920-1084 or emailing

In addition to the film and book signing, a silent auction will be held for Fort's painting, "South of Inyan Cara." Honadel-Robinson said the silent auction is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wishes to own an original painting, as Fort does not sell his paintings.

The documentary, "Fort ... A Spearfish Canyon Rhapsody," also will air on South Dakota Public Broadcasting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6.

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