Heritage Center at Mahpiya Luta | Red Cloud

Pine Ridge, South Dakota

On the campus of Mahpiya Luta | Red Cloud, The Heritage Center has been home to over 10,000 pieces of historic and contemporary Native American art since its first art show in 1969. With an aging gallery unable to expand with the needs of its growing campus and community, JLG helped reconfigure the site and create a destination where local and global visitors could unite in celebrating the region’s Lakota culture. The goal was to protect the history of the collection, showcase permanent and rotating galleries, and create a sense of culture and community within a campus setting. JLG was the Architect-of-Record while 7 Directions was the Design Architect, working together to outline a new campus master plan, completed in spring 2021. In the pre-design phase, the team collaborated with Center staff, Mahpiya Luta | Red Cloud Board members, and Native artists while gaining perspective from high school students, community members, and regional galleries. The schematic design was facilitated by JLG and Tallgrass Landscape Architecture, informed by several workshops that gave everyone a voice at the table.
The program addressed strict budgeting, future growth, and varying privacy/display needs while integrating ground-source geothermal and solar-ready roofing. Within 12,000 SF, the design pays homage to Lakota culture through the exhibit skylight’s Kapemni symbol, meaning ‘what is sacred above is sacred below.’ The renovation provided climate-controlled art storage, a flexible art studio for students, and an art classroom/maker space that supports current and future artists. Today, The Heritage Center preserves the Lakota culture while bringing together campus, community, and global interest. The Center has also become the community’s mercantile and economic engine, providing inspiration to gather, celebrate artists, support local creators, and educate visitors.

Renderings provided by 7 Directions Architecture