Artwork at SCTCC to Inspire, Educate

Brian Dow, Debra Leigh, Lori Kloos with painting
December 19, 2022

SCTCC has a new piece of artwork on its walls after Vice President Debra Leigh met artist Brian Dow at the Powwow held at Tech High School in November.

The painting, entitled “The Powwow Trail,” is a framed painting of silhouetted Native Americans at a Powwow against a background resembling a sunset.

“All my pieces have a story behind them about my culture,” said Dow.

Dow grew up on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, where he used to draw a lot as a child. As he grew older, he lost interest in drawing, and he said he lost his way. After he came back to the circle, he really found out who he really was. That’s why he uses his cultural background in most of his paintings; it tells his story.

Before he came back to art, Dow was working a job that was just paying the bills and was looking for options to make some more money. He created a painting, going back to his roots, and it sold. He’s been painting regularly for nine years, but it’s only been the past five where he’s been able to paint fulltime after he sold a painting to the McKnight Foundation for $10,000.

While SCTCC’s painting features silhouettes, much of Dow’s work revolves around Ojibwe florals. He sells his paintings at Powwows, round dances, craft shows, and on Facebook. The in-demand style of the Ojibwe florals allows him to work on the artwork that he is more personally invested in, like the piece that is displayed at SCTCC.

Vice President Debra Leigh and Interim President Lori Kloos met with Brian as he presented the artwork on Friday, Dec. 16. Both Leigh and Kloos were at the Powwow where they first met Dow.

“I was so pleased to meet Brian and be inside his world, even if only for a few minutes at the Powwow. It was a pleasure to dance in the Powwow Circle with all the people who attended and to experience the spirit and power a Powwow brings the participants,” said Leigh.

The painting will be displayed on campus for people to view and start conversations about the Native American culture, or at least that is the hope of Dow. When asked what he would like people to take away from the piece, his answer was simple: “We are still here. We are still a people.”

Kate Wallace
Posted in News, equity