It began in 1994, with an oil painting.
Pat Roseland wasn’t terribly interested in art until the day he saw a large oil painting of Sitting Bull, looking strong and determined, with what he sees as a meek Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer in the background.
“That spoke to me,” he said. “I saw that there, and I had to have it.”
Years later, that one painting has grown to a collection of over 300 pieces of Western and Rapid City-related artwork that Roseland describes as “basically the history of art in Rapid City from the 1880s until today.”
Nearly every wall in Roseland’s 1917 Craftsman bungalow used to showcase a piece or two, from the watercolor scenes by early Rapid City artist Grace French to more contemporary chalk works by Patrick Elk Boy.
“I was really out of room in my house,” says Roseland, who’s chairman of the Rapid City Historic Preservation Commission. “And it comes to a point where you want to share this stuff, and why keep it hidden?”
The collection is hidden no longer. In Spring of 2013, Roseland opened Rapid River Gallery on the main floor of the building he’s been restoring at 910 Main Street since 2007. Rapid River Gallery is home to a revolving display of his art, as well as items from his collection of commercial memorabilia from Rapid City businesses dating back to the 1880s.
The gallery also shows and sells works by local artists, but Roseland doesn’t plan to sell the pieces in his own art collection — at least not initially.
“In the end I may,” he says. “I don’t think any of my family wants any of it. … We’ll see what happens.”
Rapid River Gallery is home to a large collection of original Grace French paintings.
The Gallery also serves as a museum of Antique Commercial Art & Memorabilia.
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