Applications Open For SDAC
Funding Opportunities

South Dakota artists, arts organizations and other nonprofit groups are invited to seek grant support from the South Dakota Arts Council to assist in funding arts projects and programs throughout the state. The application deadline is March 1.
For a full list of grants visit
To begin the application process visit

Celebrating 50 Years of the
South Dakota Arts Council

2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the South Dakota Arts Council. To commemorate the event, Arts South Dakota and the South Dakota Arts Council released a special edition of Arts Alive newsletter. To view this special edition please visit Arts South Dakota's website. To receive a copy of your own, please contact the South Dakota Arts Council or Arts South Dakota staffs.

On the Cover: "Ceremonial Dancer," by Oscar Howe, 1966, casein on paper, used here with gracious permission of the Oscar Howe Family.

50 South Dakota Artists to Watch

50 Artists to Watch is a special project we’re embarking on in celebration of our 50th anniversary at the South Dakota Arts Council. This series of short artist features is intended to share the work of South Dakota artists on a wide platform. It is not intended as a list of top or best artists. It is not presented in any particular order. Featured artists are being selected from nominations sent to us. You can nominate an artist by emailing We can’t include them all, but we’ll keep all nominations on a list for future features and blogs.

Whit W. Olson

Farmer, rancher and artist Whit W. Olson has been making a name for himself in the traditional cowboy arts scene throughout the past several years. His art form, rawhide braiding, means he works with the untreated hide that remains in its natural state.

“Only God and a Rawhide Braider can bring a dead cow back to life,” he says.

Whit began braiding in 2001 while at college in Brookings, SD. After moving to Montana, he met fellow braider and friend Hial Steele and working with another artist helped him improve. What started out as a part-time job quickly turned into a passion.

With the help of Nate Wald, Leland Hensley and other members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA), Whit’s abilities grew even further.

In 2014 Whit was awarded the Academy of Western Artists Braider of the Year award (visit for details).
And this year, he won the 2016 TCAA Fellowship which he has been working on for the last year with some of the best
braiders in the world.

Whit’s work can be seen at many events including Trappings of the Great American West, Trappings of Texas and Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Whit makes his home on his ranch near Canistota, SD with his wife, Megan, and their three young children.

Find samples of Whit's work online at He also keeps his work updated on his Facebook page, so check him out

Learn more about Whit Olson by visiting our Blog.

NEA - National Endowment for the Arts