gallery 50 Artists to Watch: Jo Powell

If you ask Jo Powellwhat she does, “I make things,” is the answer you’ll get.

She is a sculptor, author, and illustrator currently living in Spearfish, SD.

She moved to Spearfish after working 26 years in Germany for the Department of Defense Dependents’ Schools as an Art Educator. While there, she was featured in several painting exhibitions for her abstract series, “Interior Landscapes: Feelings without Words.” Upon returning to the States, she completed her first graphic novel, “Dr.Spot and the Moon Queen,” an interplanetary story about friendship.

Sculpting has always been one of her first loves as an artist, though, so she returned to her roots when she executed a series of bronze sculptures where volume is used to express emotion.

Recently, Jo got involved in writing and illustrating coloring books with a large history component for area museums. She completed one for the Tri-State Museum in Belle Fourche and one for the Vore Buffalo Jump Site, near Beulah, WY. She is currently working on one for the Sundance
Chamber of Commerce. She calls her books “Coloristory” books and is thoroughly enjoying researching the fascinating history of this area.
In addition to the artworks, Jo is designing dioramas for several of her own international folk art collections. She hopes to interest the City of Spearfish in accepting her large collection as a local museum possibility.


And because teaching is never far from her heart, Jo also enjoys volunteering for projects with the Matthews Art Center that allow her to be in a classroom with art students.


Sculpture and books by Jo Powell can be seen in the Matthews Opera House and Art Center.

50 Artists to Watch is a special project we’re embarking on in celebration of our 50th anniversary at the South Dakota Arts Council. This series of short artist features is intended to share the work of South Dakota artists on a wide platform. It is not intended as a list of top or best artists. It is not presented in any particular order. Featured artists are being selected from nominations sent to us. You can nominate an artist by emailing We can’t include them all, but we’ll keep all nominations on a list for future features and blogs.

We welcome your continued suggestions for 50 Artists to Watch and your (constructive) comments about the work of those being featured.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s