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 Celebrating Our 20th Year 

Artwork by Robert Penn

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About the Artist

(1946-1999) Brule Sioux/ Omaha

"Dr. Frederick J. Dockstader wrote: Robert Penn is among those very few Northern Plains artists who have carved a niche for themselves in the world of art, and whose work resonates with a sense of drama. He sees in each painting a point in time which, while frozen, is vibrant with color and vitality. He is a superior craftsman with a sure sense of form and composition which makes each of his paintings a record of place and time."

Penn’s art training took place at Syracuse University and Princeton before earning his BFA in 1972 from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.  Having received a scholarship to work with Oscar Howe, followed by several years as a work-study assistant to Howe, Penn gained both a friend and a mentor in Howe.

"For some 30 years, Penn has made a significant mark as in the world of American Indian art. His work can be seen in public collections at the Smithsonian Institution and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Penn won prizes at the Colorado Indian Market and at the Northern Plains Tribal Arts Exhibition. He was given more than a dozen solo exhibitions and received the Governor's Award for Distinction in Creative Achievement in the Arts. In 1993 a retrospective of his work was organized by the University Art Galleries at the University of South Dakota.

This highly accomplished artist taught at the Oscar Howe Summer Institute in the summers of 1991 and 1992, 25 years after starting his career there with his mentor and friend."

The above was taken from an article written by Bruce Hope in December 2001

Additionally a Robert Penn Retrospective was held in June 1993 at the University Art Galleries at the University of South Dakota.  More recently the Washington Pavilion Arts and Science building was the location of an exhibition titled Robert L. Penn--Selected Works July 6 - October 6, 2013.