John Sterner


January 13 – February 25, 2022

SMAC Gallery

509 W Main Street, Marshall, MN 56258
(Mailing address: PO Box 55)


Regular office hours are:
Monday-Friday 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm


If you would like to schedule a private viewing or coordinate a visit outside regular office hours, please contact us via email at:

John Sterner of Lyon County received his most recent SMAC Established Career Artist grant in 2021 entitled, “Inktober being Lakota Journeys”

John explains his art, his work and his history in his own words: “I am an Artist, Teacher, Coach, Sicangu Lakota, Parent, Husband, Brother, and Son. I have been involved in art in so many aspects; I teach, 28 years first grade (Lakeview Public Schools) through university (Southwest Minnesota State University).I have taught workshops, small groups, community programs and university connected presentations. I make personal and public Art; I work in many mediums: I sculpt in bronze, iron and fabricated steel, I make graphic art on the computer and paper, and I love to paint. The plains of Minnesota and South Dakota are my heritage, what makes me who I am. I live in southwestern Minnesota, near Marshall, and was born in Flandreau, South Dakota. The opportunity to create art that is culturally incorporating my heritage is an important part of my personal journey to find who I am as a person, instructor and artist. My personal work is and always has been the search for my belonging to my relatives. In almost all my work include Wanbli (eagle) or the world they see. I see their image in all my work and whenever I am creating, their image appears and I am driven to draw and sculpt them or what the Wanbli sees. The eagle represents my spiritual and holy side as well and my connection to family. Much of my painting work is finding my heritage, but within the last six years I have been exploring my heritage and who I am through painting. The world around me is the vision of the Wanbli and it is my connection, Plein Air has become my Love and a majority of my creative focus of late. I really enjoy being outside, really enjoyed the connection between me and the world around. My heart rate changes my thoughts become serene, almost placid. I feel a connection between between me and a spiritualness arise and I feel enlightened. My vision becomes clear, I gain energy and focus as I see image appear on my panel. I really feel a connection to my heritage as I paint, draw, and sculpt.”

If you would like to see this exhibit in person by private appointment: email

*This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Funding provided by the McKnight Foundation. Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive. The McKnight Foundation supports working artists to create and contribute to vibrant communities.

© 2024 Southwest Minnesota Arts Council. All Rights Reserved.

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