In 2001 the Suzie Cappa Art Center was established to support artists of all abilities and encourage them to imagine and create.
The center was named after a talented artist who passed away in 1997.
Nearly 17 years later the center is thriving and in this week's Art Beat we'll meet some of the artists and go inside their downtown location which is now a staple in the city's art scene.
It's a chilly afternoon outside, but inside at the Suzie Cappa Art Center there is a feeling of warmth as these professional artists create, learn, laugh, and encourage each other.
In this location for five years, the center is a division of Black Hills Works and it supports and employs artists of all abilities.
They create in one part of the center .... and display their works in the gallery, which is open to the public.
It has come a long way since the storage room that was the center's first location.Britny Jenkins, Project Manager - Suzie Cappa Art Center, says "I think for us the biggest success factor is witnessing the growth of the artist by being a part of the downtown culture and art scene.
Because we're downtown and they are getting to interact with people who are buying their artwork seeing their art leave the building every day, it's very motivating. It brings them a lot of pride and joy to see people enjoying all of their hard work so much."
These artists are employed here, many of them full-time. Heather's art is colorful and very popular in the community.
Heather Morris, Artist, says "I just love doing art. I like doing certain things that will sell like poppy flowers or puppy dogs, things like that.
Puppy dogs when I sell them IU get a donation for it. I donate money to dog shelter thing. It's the only job I want in my whole life. I do not want another job as long as I live."
Tommy says he wanted to be an artist since he was a kid. He currently specializes in city scapes.
Tommy Tamayo, Artist, says " My favorite one I did so far was this one. That was my favorite one.
I did a lot of graphics on it, a lot of texture, a lot of popping out and stuff. People are going to buy it."
And when the art sells.
Tommy says "Happy, excited, proud of myself."
Then he is out in community spending his hard earned money.
Tommy says "I buy food or clothes. Do you like to shop? I like to shop ... a lot."
Heather uses a lot of color in her art and is grateful when people recognize her talent.
Heather says "Thank you and it is beautiful. I really appreciate it if everybody likes my art. If you'd like to come over and see it and buy some of my art. You can even tell your friends because I just want the whole world to know how much I love my art and want to sell it. It might make me more famous if the whole world know about my art. I think that would be really cool."
The artists here are getting exposure outside of Rapid City.
Some of their work has been displayed in galleries around the country and guest artists also display their work at the Suzie Cappa Center.
A success story that continues to grow.
Britny says, "What really fun about our gallery is, while yes we are for artists of all abilities and we have the artists specifically that work here from the Black Hills Workshop, we also have guest artists mixed in and most of the time you can't differentiate between and that's our goal to let it be known they are just like the rest of us. They have beautiful minds and ideas and this creativity and imagination that they want to share and bring joy to other people's lives."