New gallery space gets ready for summer

By Jeff Smith

Todd and Laura Sweet at the Black Hills Art and Treasures store on May 25. The gallery is a new venture for the Sweets and they hope to grow the store.

Black Hills Art and Treasures is the newest art shop in town that adds to Hill City’s eclectic art scene.

When the store opened on May 25 everything was neatly hung or set on the wall.  Owners Todd and Laura Sweet might want to see the walls more bare by the end of the tourist season. There are necklaces, skulls and different types of artwork that are seen at the store. It’s a vibrant looking shop with many ornamental goods.

Todd Sweet professionally painted motorcycles and cars before moving to the area.

“I’m a master refinisher on motorcycles and automobiles,” Sweet said.

His mom and step-dad own Black Hills Hunting and Fishing, a guide service.

“I moved out here to help them,” Sweet said.

He and his wife came from Tennessee to the Black Hills in October of last year. They are looking forward to to being in Hill City.

Sweet would like the to grow the store and have fun this summer.

“It’s kind of a new venture,” Sweet said.

“This is kind of a soft opening today. We’re getting used to everything.”

It took two months to develop the store to what they wanted it to be.

“All of the walls were just white and then I had to secure jewelry cases,” Sweet said.

Sweet has suppliers of buffalo skulls all over the country. The shop will be more full of buffalo skulls in the future as there is a shipment of a couple of hundred coming in the next month.

Sweet’s mother has painted some of the buffalo skulls. Laura Sweet decorates the buffalo skulls with jewelry. Sweet compares painting buffalo skulls to painting motorcycle tanks.

“It was kind of my mother’s idea and since I did motorcycle painting so much I thought they aren’t that different from a motorcycle tank,” Sweet said.

Some are smoothed out. He said it’s a lot of the same techniques used on body work for a car.

Wally Matush gave him an opportunity to get into a shop space at Old World Plaza. The shop was recently vacated by the Artforms Gallery.

He said they will take everything slow and see what happens.

In the fall of this year Todd Sweet will take over Black Hills Hunting and Fishing. A booth about the types of trips that are offered is in the shop.

Black Hills Art and Treasures has buffalo skulls that are either painted or plain, high end leather purses, jewelry, various paintings on canvas, helmets and photography.

There are four artists who have contributed to Black Hills Art and Treasures.

Julie Glazier contributed to the shop with leather purses, bracelets, earrings and baby moccasins.

Glazier said she just met Sweet one day and he told her about the art gallery they were opening.

“We visited a bit and then he wanted my art in the gallery,” Glazier said.

Glazier hand makes everything and said there is no sowing. She does her own beading for the products too. Glazier has been doing the work herself for two and a half years.

She likes the space and said they just want to get more advertising so more people can come to the back area of Old World Plaza.

Photography, various furs and cow hides are also for sale at the shop.

“I think Hill City has some really good people and I’m looking forward to getting to know everybody,” Sweet said.

He is the type of guy that, if anybody needs help, all they have to do is knock on their door and he would be happy to accommodate.