A Gift From the Heart

Posted on: January 29, 2020

The Aktá Lakota Museum is excited to announce a gift of contemporary art to the permanent collection. Dr. Donald and Lorraine Nemer of Scottsdale, Ariz., formerly of Gregory, S.D., have generously donated their personal collection of JoAnne Bird art and Larry, James and Alfred DeCoteau’s sculptures.

The Nemer’s began collecting art from South Dakota artists several years ago while attending the yearly Northern Plains Tribal Art Show in Sioux Falls, S.D. After retiring, the couple decided that their most prized art pieces needed a permanent home that could inspire young children and anyone who had an appreciation for Native American art. After visiting with Bird, the Nemer’s decided that the Aktá Lakota Museum was the best place for their treasured possessions. “We felt that God had given us all these things, they were his gifts, and it was time for us to give back,” said Lorraine. Both of the Nemer’s have spent their lifetimes supporting local artists and felt very close to both Bird and the DeCoteau brothers.

Although the couple agrees it was very hard to part with the art that has been a big part of their home, the Nemer’s are confident that the Aktá Lakota Museum will take great care of each piece. “This area feels like home to us and, we are happy that these pieces are attributed to our donation but will never be sold,” said Lorraine.

Bird is a well-known accomplished artist and an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. The DeCoteau brothers’ are award winning sculpture artists, and Larry and Alfred are alumni of St. Joseph’s Indian School.

This gift supports the Aktá Lakota Museum’s mission and commitment to educate, challenge and enlighten the students of St. Joseph’s Indian School while preserving and promoting the contemporary and traditional ideals that relate to the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota and adjacent Plains Indian tribes in an educational atmosphere.

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