50 South Dakota Artists to Watch

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 sdac@state.sd.us. We can’t include them all, but we’ll keep all nominations on a list for future features and blogs.

Jordan Thornton

Artist Altman Studeny



Next in our series, a young Sioux Falls artist making a name for herself by seizing every opportunity she comes across.

Jordan Thornton is printmaker and mixed media artist. She creates unique shadowbox pieces using woodcut prints and encaustic medium. When not creating, Thornton works with both the Washington Pavilion of Arts & Sciences and the South Dakota Arts Council Artists in Schools and Communities program as a teaching artist.

In August, Jordan was an artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center. During the month-long residency, Jordan worked on a new series of shadowboxes that focus on plant imagery, primarily the roots. Initially inspired by scientific displays, the boxes portray plants and their roots, while the concept speaks about our metaphorical roots – what holds us to a place, a person, a pursuit.

“My time at the Vermont Studio Center was more than what I had hoped for. I had access to studio space and equipment that I don’t have at home in South Dakota. This led me to discover new ways of making artwork. I am thrilled with where my explorations took my latest body of work,” Jordan wrote. “The VSC also gave me the opportunity to meet and form relationships with like-minded, creative professionals that I look forward to seeing again. Having my time at the Studio Center end was more sorrowful than I had anticipated, but I am excited for the future opportunities that it has helped to facilitate.”

Jordan received her BFA from Montana State University in 2012. She has shown work in Montana, Colorado, on the Sculpture Walk in Sioux Falls, and in numerous galleries throughout her home state.

Currently, Thornton’s exhibition, “Rooted,” can be seen at the First Bank & Trust Art Gallery on the campus of Dakota State University in Madison. The First Bank & Trust Art Gallery is located on the first floor of the Mundt Library. “Rooted” is on display through October 23.

[photo credit Sam Pham]

Learn more about Jordon Thornton by visiting our Blog.

NEA - National Endowment for the Arts