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James Van Nuys, Artist and Musician

James is the creator of the Dallas Dietrich bust to be unveiled at our August 28 2021 dedication event at Meeting the Need in Otho, South Dakota. And, an accomplished guitarist, he’s also playing music for us!

Sculptor and painter James Van Nuys grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota and has lived there for most of his life. He has created many public art works including the Rapid City Fallen Officers Memorial, the Veteran’s Memorial, several sculptures for The City of Presidents project, and a 100 foot mural in the Rapid City Regional Airport. He also oversaw the creation of 47 life-size figures for the America’s Founding Fathers tourist attraction. He owns and operates James Van Nuys gallery in downtown Rapid City, where he spends most of his time working on painting and sculpting commissions.


James Van Nuys Gallery, 516 Sixth Street in downtown Rapid City, showcases the work of this multi-talented artist and musician who has devoted the past 30 years of his life to creating hundreds of magnificent images of the Black Hills, Badlands and prairies of western South Dakota. The gallery features original paintings, engravings, and sculpture, as well as limited edition giclees, open edition mini-prints, cards, T-Shirts and affordable gift items.


Van Nuys is one of the presidential sculptors, having brought to life Presidents Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and Andrew Johnson. His final presidential sculpture was of President Barack Obama.


Among the unique features of the gallery, James uses the front window area as his studio, capitalizing on his unusual ability to paint or sculpt while visiting with curious onlookers.


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