Brookings register | Native American art collectors to speak on Tuesday



BROOKINGS – The South Dakota Art Museum Guild will be hosting a virtual presentation on March 23, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., featuring Ken and Cathy Vogele speaking from Rapid City about their extensive collection of Native American art, including works they recently donated to the South. Dakota Museum of Art.

This program is free and open to the public via Zoom. Prior registration is required. The link to register is available at

The first exhibition of the Cathy and Ken Vogele collection is on display at the South Dakota Art Museum until May. The exhibition focuses on three main types of objects collected in depth by the Vogeles: moccasins, dolls and baby carriers.

The Vogeles played an important role in the cultivation of Native American arts and crafts in the state. Beyond building a large private collection, they shared the wisdom of their craftsmanship as board members of the South Dakota Art Museum and the Northern Plains Tribal Arts Show. The Vogeles also put the Lakota artisans in touch with good quality materials and sales opportunities through their Sioux Trading Post stores in Rapid City and Mission. Their advocacy and support for Native American arts in South Dakota is a legacy that the South Dakota Art Museum is honored to preserve with this collection.

Les Vogeles have been collecting Native American art and artifacts for over 50 years. Ken, originally from South Dakota, grew up with an interest in Native American artifacts. He met and married Cathy Kempf in 1968, and they started building their collection the following year. The Vogeles moved to Rapid City in 1975.

Ken opened his doctor’s office, displaying signs in his examination rooms advising patients that “Dr. Vogele would like to purchase OLD AMERICAN INDIAN ARTIFACTS such as Beadwork and Quillwork etc.”

Cathy met and befriended Emma Amiotte, a Lakota artisan and manager of the Tipi boutique at the Sioux Indian Museum and Crafts Center, and began to learn about contemporary Indian crafts. Over the following years, Cathy and Ken deepened their commitment to the collection. They began to attend auctions and conferences, to develop friendships and networks with other Indian art collectors and dealers.

Cathy Vogele and Emma Amiotte’s relationship turned into a good friendship, with Emma becoming an adopted “grandmother” to Cathy and Ken’s children. In 1981 Emma retired as manager of Tipi Shop and by 1984 she convinced Cathy to start a business buying and selling Lakota crafts. The two would go to artisans in Pine Ridge and Rosebud to purchase beads and quills. Due to a shortage of good quality materials, Cathy began supplying pearls and skins to some artisans.

In 1985, the Vogeles teamed up with Joe Rivera to open the Sioux Trading Post in Rapid City, creating a storefront that offered the full range of supplies to artisans and opportunities to sell their work. In 1987, the Vogeles bought out Joe Rivera’s stake in the company. In 1988, they purchased Del Trading Post from Mission, turning it into a second site for the Sioux Trading Post. In 1990, they expanded the original Sioux Trading Post in Rapid City, purchasing and renovating a larger building to house their operations. In 1993, Ray Hillenbrand of Prairie Edge in Rapid City bought the Sioux Trading Post from the Vogeles and integrated it into Prairie Edge, where it still operates today.

The Cathy and Ken Vogele Collection was built through a multi-faceted combination of their roles as collectors, purveyors, and members of the Native American arts community. The collection itself reflects this transitional quality through its combination of both historical and contemporary works by known and unknown artisans. Some works represent very personal links between the Vogeles and the contemporary artisans with whom they have maintained relationships. Other works have been collected from craftsmen totally unknown to Vogeles due to the impressive craftsmanship, uniqueness or even the authenticity of wear and aura of a work. This is the Guild Talks’ third program in 2021 featuring lively conversation and interesting speakers from all over the United States with ties to South Dakota and the South Dakota Art Museum. The guild supports the South Dakota Art Museum through programs like this, volunteer funds and art acquisition. Guild membership is not required to attend these free programs, but the annual membership fee of $ 20 supports these programs and the guild’s art acquisition fund. After each presentation there will be a short guild meeting from 10:30 am to 11:30 am.

Contact Carolyne Hart at 688-4313 for any questions regarding this program, registration and use of Zoom.



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