Our Story


The Suzie Cappa Art Center (SCAC) was founded in 2001 in memory of artist Suzie Cappa. Suzie was a talented and creative artist who independently selected her own brushes, her own colors, and her own subjects of interest. Suzie’s mother, Juanita, recognized her talent and provided her instruction with local artist, Ida Jansen. Under Ida’s direction, Suzie studied a variety of art forms from 1985 until her passing in 1997. The Suzie Cappa Art Center honors her memory by providing a supportive, inspiring environment where artists can create, exhibit, and sell their work to the community.

Our first space was a storage room turned classroom with no sink and only one part-time instructor. Thanks to our benefactors, fundraising, and support from community and staff, we have grown from that tiny space to a thriving member of the downtown business and arts community, that supports the goals and desires of the artists that work here as well as other local artists by selling their artwork on consignment.

In 2009 we received a generous anonymous donation of $500,000 to establish our current downtown location at 722 Saint Joseph Street. This donation was supplemented by a property donation from Pia Wilkens to the Black Hills Works Foundation, valued at $580,000. Another $300,000 in community donations allowed us to purchase the real estate at the northeast corner of Mount Rushmore Road and Saint Joseph Street. After a complete renovation of the space, we opened our downtown location in March of 2013 with 20 full-time artists.

We now have 24 full time artists and a few part time artists working in the downtown studio and selling their artwork in the gallery, and online. Artists work in multiple mediums, from fabric art to painting and drawing to sculpture and other mixed media expressions. SCAC provides all the materials each artist needs to pursue their area of interest. This is supplemented by donations by community members. We also provide a variety of ongoing sessions facilitated by professional artists, volunteers, and Black Hills Works staff, who support the professional and personal development of the artists.

The gallery is filled with creativity and beauty thanks to the dedication of the artists working at SCAC and our Guest Community Artists. Integrating the work of artists with and without disabilities helps people see past preconceived notions of disability and honor the creative spirit of every person.

Suzie Cappa Art Center believes:

  • Disability is not a boundary. All people can be creative in a supportive environment.
  • Creative expression fosters personal growth and self-esteem. Recognition of creative efforts by others gives the artist a feeling of worth that carries over into all areas of their life.
  • Creating art professionally adds value to one’s life. Through the cultivation of their talents, people with disabilities make contributions to the cultural and economic life of our community.

Additional Opportunities for Artists and Creatives

The original location on Range Road has since been remodeled and now houses Flutter Productions, All Ability Dance Theatre. People supported by Black Hills Works have the opportunity to participate in the theatre, dance, and other classes offered by Flutter Productions. To learn more about Flutter Productions click HERE

Black Hills Works also has expanded arts programming for those that are interested in expressing themselves creatively but are not quite yet ready for the environment of our downtown location. All the same opportunities and access to classes, supplies, and creative support are provided, as well as the option to sell artwork at SCAC and make a commission off of those sales.