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National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

Mobridge Auditorium, Scherr Howe Arena

Oscar Howe Mural

Mobridge, South Dakota

The Mobridge Auditorium, completed in 1936, is an impressive example of Works Progress Administration (WPA) Art Deco architecture, but of even greater interest are 10 murals mounted inside the auditorium’s arena. These works by acclaimed Sioux Indian artist Oscar Howe dramatically recreate the history and culture of the Sioux. Begun in 1941, the five murals mounted on the south wall of the arena depict “Ceremonies of the Sioux” while the five on the north wall portray “History Along the Missouri River.” Many such “workers-realism” murals were funded by the WPA and mounted in public buildings all across America in the 1930s and 1940s. A Save America’s Treasures grant will help preserve the Howe murals by improving the environmental conditions under which they are displayed.

Photo: Oscar Howe Mural