2014 Featured Artist: Ceca Cooper
This year’s Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation annual report cover was created by Ceca Cooper and was inspired by the Lewis Carroll poem “Little Birds”. For Cooper, the phrase, “little birds are tasting gold and gratitude,” calls to mind the many ways the foundation enriches the community, especially its young.
Born and raised in the Arkansas backwoods, Ceca Cooper hadn’t seen an unobstructed horizon until she went to college in Texas, where the vast shorelines of the Gulf of Mexico instilled in her a life-long fascination with wide-open spaces. When she first experienced the north central plains in 1994, she used her art to explore the feeling of being very small in a limitless expanse.  
About 10 years ago, Cooper began to shift her artistic focus from great landscapes to things that immediately surrounded her in nature. Plants, birds, stones and evidence of the changing seasons emerged in her paintings. At the same time, she started weaving her love of poetry into her work.
A frequent visitor to Good Earth State Park at Blood Run, Cooper has for several years watched a flock of yellow warblers return in spring and start their families. She captured them here in mixed media —oil, acrylic, collage and strokes of black tar to represent the effect of human encroachment on unspoiled natural habitat.
Cooper is an Associate Professor for Art at the University of Sioux Falls. She holds a BFA in art and a BS in art education from the University of Houston and an MFA in painting from the University of South Dakota. Cooper is a member of New American Paintings, a competitive, juried publication. Her work has been exhibited most recently at the Washington Pavilion, is on permanent display at Raven Industries.

2013 Featured Artist: Marian Henjum
"Depot at Cherapa Place" Marian Henjum is no stranger to the Community Foundation. This is the second time her work has appeared on the cover of our annual report. In 2000, shortly after SFACF had conveyed Dale and Dorothy Weir’s gift of Arrowhead Park to the city, the report featured Henjum’s study of the “1888 Barn” that once served the old quarry operation It’s only fitting that she be asked this year to depict the Depot at Cherapa Place, which dates from 1887 and is fashioned from purple jasper excavated from the same site. “I first painted this depot in the early 1970s when it was abandoned,” says Henjum. “The railroad tracks and trains were still being used, but there were weeds growing everywhere. I wondered what would become of this beautiful building; it was a such a delight to me. I love old buildings, their histories, and what they meant to the growth of Sioux Falls. I feel privileged to paint this wonderful landmark again!” The project was a natural for Henjum. A member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, she has a passion for old buildings and loves the challenge of capturing their unique features in that medium. Henjum, a South Dakota State University graduate, grew up near Garretson and has lived in Sioux Falls for more than 40 years. In that time, she’s become one of the most recognizable artists in the state. In 1989, she was chosen to design the South Dakota Centennial Stamp, which was distributed worldwide, and her work is part of the permanent collection at the South Dakota Capitol Building. Sioux Falls arts advocates voted Henjum as their favorite artist and honored her with the Mayor’s Award of Excellence in Visual Arts. Her illustrations have won over 30 Addy Awards from the South Dakota Advertising Federation. Henjum works and teaches from her home studio.
2012 Featured Artist: Don Hooper
As he contemplated doing the cover artwork for this annual report, Don Hooper found synergy between the four decades of his banking career and the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. "I spent the majority of my career working with trusts and estates," he says. "Customers often asked me what I thought they should do with their wealth." Hooper's job entailed helping those customers formulate an estate plan — a "living legacy" that would provide for family members, protect assets, and, in many cases, arrange gifts that would one day benefit a favorite charity, church, or educational institution. Gardens in mind, Hooper looked for a subject for his impressionist, oil-on-canvas artwork. "I visualized something that is planted and grows for many years longer than the person who planted a seed or root into the ground," he says. He found the focal point for his painting in a flowering shrub that blooms all summer long, rests through the winter months, and bursts forth in a blaze of pink glory each spring. To Hooper's mind's eye there's a parallel between the shrub and the Community Foundation's assets —both are living legacies that began as seedlings. "In the Foundation's case, the seedlings are the gifts and pledges donors have made. They've grown to a important, formidable size —all to the benefit of improving our community and quality of life," he says.
2011 Featured Artist: Nancyjane Huehl
When Nancyjane Huehl painted "Communities Keeping Time: Past, Present & Future" she worked nearly three months on the piece. Only about 24 hours of those 90 days were spent doing the actual painting. The rest of the time was used studying the Old Courthouse in downtown Sioux Falls, gaining a feel for the history of the 1889 building and a sense of how changes in light altered its appearance. She says the courthouse does the very important job of keeping the history of Sioux Falls alive for today's residents and future generations. "To me, that building is the heart of Sioux Falls. It’s where it all began," Huehl says. Once the repository of every person who was born or died here, Huehl sees the clock tower as a symbol of the passage and recording of time. Huehl says that when she got the call requesting a piece for the SFACF annual report, she thought the courthouse would be the perfect image, "I think of what was in the hearts and minds of those who built it, and their image of what the city could become. The community foundation works to achieve a similar vision," she says.
2010 Featured Artist: Nathan Holman
When Nathan Holman's daughter Laura was three years old, she looked at her father and asked, "Did you create the world?" Laura was sure that since her dad creates art, he had also created everything else, before she was around to see it. Holman is, above all other things, an artist. He brings creativity to all he does, from sculpture and woodcut prints to ad campaigns and everything in between. He won't tell you what his medium is; he swears he doesn't have one. Reflecting on the theme of Loaves and Fish, Homan says he didn't have to look hard for inspiration. "It's inherent in what you guys do at the Community Foundation," he says. "The theme of loaves and fishes is Biblical, but it also crosses cultures and allows all people a better life," he observes, referring to the gospel story of feeding the multitudes with only seven loaves and fishes. As he began his work, the chair Holman included in the design seemed just part of the background. As he worked, he realized that the unoccupied chair sends an additional message about philanthropy. "It's latent symbolism. When you're gone, you need to have left something on the table," he opines.
2009 Featured Artist: Liz Heeren
Trying to find a recognizable object in a work of nonfigurative art can be futile. What inspires abstract art can be drawn from the world around or from deep within the artist herself. "It's not as easy as taking something in front of you and simply reconstructing it in a different way," 2009 featured artist Liz Heeren says. "Sometimes it goes so far that you lose the connection to the physical object, and you're relying on intuition." That was the case when Heeren created "Collective Momentum." Her sensibilities about the changing urban landscape came together with her curiosity about how human technology interacts with the natural environment. The result, Heeren says, has "a spontaneity that resonates with the pace and momentum in Sioux Falls right now. There's a quickness to it and a smattering of many different colors and qualities that gel into a cohesive whole." See Heeren's work at Ipso Gallery, 400 N. Main Avenue.
2008 Featured Artist: Gary Hartenhoff
Gary Hartenhoff developed an early interest in visual arts and took every course offered in high school. His painted designs on cars and store windows led to his own business, Hart Signs. His years of sign painting and graphics experience proved a solid foundation when, in 1989, he moved to southern California to study oil painting. There, he learned from professional fine artists scattered along the Pacific coastline. Hartenhoff returned to Sioux Falls and brings his full experience to the still-life subjects and Midwest landscapes he most enjoys painting. "Sunday Picnic," which depicts the long-gone Seney Island, is representative of his style and interest.
2007 Featured Artist: Sheila Agee
Like most of her work, "Nature's Gift" is a composite of scenes she gathers from a variety of resources. Sheila's hilltop studio between Sioux Falls and Brandon affords her a panoramic view of the prairie. Neighbors have given her an open invitation to roam their land, which boasts an abundance of natural grasslands and wooded thickets. The artist takes advantage of their hospitality often, photographing and painting en plein air as she discovers new scenes to capture. As an artist, Sheila bears in mind the importance of light and a sense of place before choosing the best path for each painting. Her work reflects the peace she finds in the outdoors.
2006 Featured Artist: Carl Grupp
Carl believes everything he creates becomes autobiographical in some way. "Arrowhead Tea Party" joins his love of Arrowhead Park -- the nature area east of Sioux Falls on Highway 42 gifted to the city by Dale and Dorothy Weir through SFACF -- and his attraction to a silver tea service he spotted while visiting friends. He originally conceptualized a still life and arranged the tea service on a marble table top that reflected the vibrant oranges he added. Since the idea was still taking shape, he photographed the created scene, and tucked it away to focus on other projects. One of those projects was visiting Arrowhead Park to photograph the frogs that inhabit the area. His treks to the park inspired him to blend the borrowed tea set with an outdoor landscape.
2005 Featured Artist: Mary Selvig
Gardening enriches Mary's life. Her fondness for the growing things that are so much a part of her world shines through in the richness of the watercolors she used to create "Pathways to Good". Mary chose to focus on the wildflowers and vegetation that might appear along a traveler's path rather than the path itself. "The pathway is implied," she says. "I'm attracted to plants in the natural world and their exquisite interaction of color, texture, and pattern."
2004 Featured Artist: Paul Schiller
A picture is worth a thousand words. But the striking images captured by Paul Schiller say much more. Known for his bold, vibrant images of nature, Paul is especially fond of macro photography. Captured close up, what seems ordinary becomes extraordinary. In this case, his in-laws' back door led to the source of inspiration for "Abundance". When he chanced upon the fruit-laden grapevine during a stroll through their yard, he knew he had the perfect image to commemorate SFACF's 20th anniversary.
2003 Featured Artist: Mary Groth
Country Living says Mary Groth’s “evocative images reveal a strong sense of place and the vitality of the people of the plains.” The assessment bears out in “Mary’s Home Cooking“. In this piece, her choice of palette is inspired by the warm golden tones that bathe South Dakota on a late summer afternoon. The setting sun's light washes across the figures in the foreground, casting shadows on the storefront behind them, turning windows a deep gray blue. The daytime breeze has calmed to a mere whisper that ruffles a hemline and gently lifts the woman's hair from her face. Like most of Mary’s work, this piece contains an element of mystery: the man in a suit. His demeanor is hidden as he looks down and fiddles with something in his hands. “He’s someone to speculate about; draw your own conclusions,” the artist teases.
2002 Featured Artist: Chad Mohr
During his lifetime, Chad Mohr has produced thousands of drawings and illustrations. While subject and design inevitably change, two elements remain constant: his cross-hatching technique and circles. Circles appear prominently in virtually all of his creative work and many of his commercial pieces. In this piece, "An Endless Harvest," Mohr’s trademark represents the sun, something he believes sustains everything on Earth. In Mohr’s “An Endless Harvest," the sun represents SFACF donors who take the time to volunteer, share their treasure, and use their creativity to make the Sioux Falls area an even better place to live. The light they shine nurtures seeds planted for an endless harvest that will be reaped for generations to come.
2000 Featured Artist: Marian Henjum
Little is known about the "1888 Barn." The barn was rumored to have been designed by Wallace Dow, the same architect who designed the Old Courthouse Museum and historical landmarks in Sioux Falls. The barn was originally located in East Sioux Falls, a town known for quarrying. When the Panic of 1893 hit and the town fell into decay, many of the buildings were moved to new sites. Historians say the barn was at its present location by 1916. In the height of its use, the barn was probably used for stables and housing buggies and wagons. Today, the barn is a part of Arrowhead Park, located between Sioux Falls and Brandon.
2001 Featured Artist: Martha Baker
The Big Sioux River at the south edge of Yankton Trail Park inspired Martha's design for the 2001 annual report. "A Legacy is Like a River" is a multiple-color print, a single image pulled from the artist's original artwork. Martha began by drawing the scene freehand and tracing the sketch onto a rubber mat. After deciding to use ten colors of pigment, she carved away part of the image, applied the lightest color to the mat, and made the first impression on paper. She repeated the carving and pressing process until all the colors had been used and the final image emerged.
2014 Winning Art.

"2014 Featured Image"
by Ceca Cooper
2014 Featured Artist

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