At Artists of the Plains Show, Artist Ray Kelly Reaches a Long Sought Goal
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Bison on the Brink by Ray Kelly
Ray Kelly
Bison on the Brink

The 36th annual Artists of the Plains Art Show & Sale will be held Feb. 5-7 at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Sioux Falls. The event is sponsored by the Center for Western Studies at Augustana University and will feature artwork from more than 20 local and regional artists from five states, including Augustana University students.

One of the artists is Ray Kelly, a self-taught, multi-talented artist born and raised in South Dakota, who has been waiting quite some time to get into this show.

“I’ve been trying to get in this art show for 25 years. I think what took so long is that I’m an unusual, independent artist,” Kelly said.

Kelly will exhibit 45 pieces of his work, including eight original drawings at the show. His work varies from western to wildlife to rodeo scenes and has been in high demand among celebrities for years.

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“Back in ’94 I met the famous country western singers, the Mandrell sisters. After that encounter they went on to support my art for 16 years,” said Kelly.

Before befriending celebrities such as the Mandrell sisters, the Stallones, Craig Morgan and more, Kelly sold his first piece — a drawing of a bull — for $10. “My life and career has been based on a lot of exposure. Fifty years ago, if you had asked me, I couldn’t imagine being where I am today.”

Kelly’s work — and works by other artists of the Plains — can be seen and purchased at the show and sale on Friday, Feb. 5 from 5-9pm; Saturday, Feb. 6 from 10am-6pm, and Sunday, Feb. 7 from 10am-3pm at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Sioux Falls. The event is free and open to the public. For more information visit