CWS Events & Conferences

CWS America 250

In commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence in 2026, the Board of Directors and National Advisory Council of the Center for Western Studies (CWS) established the CWS America 250 Task Force. The task force will discuss and identify themes related to America’s 250th anniversary observance that are appropriate for CWS’ signature programs, and may also consider and recommend additional activities and collaborative opportunities with allied heritage organizations. The CWS has also joined in partnership with the America250 South Dakota Commission. 

CWS America250 Logos

Dakota Conference

Held every April, the Dakota Conference examines issues of contemporary significance to the Northern Plains region in their historical and cultural contexts. The impacts of radio communications and global conflict, health care and health policy, and agriculture and sustainability have been examined in recent years.


Artists of the Plains

A signature program of the CWS, this weekend-long art show is designed to educate the public about the cultural importance and variety of regional art and artists. The largest and longest running show of its kind in the region, Artists of the Plains is an annual highlight of the center’s art program and educational exhibits emphasis — one of several programming areas supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Artists of the Plains

Boe Forum on Public Affairs

In 1995, the CWS introduced the Boe Forum on Public Affairs. Through this lecture series, the CWS and Augustana have hosted many of the world’s most influential leaders. Former South Dakota Gov. Nils A. Boe (1913-92) devised a program whereby residents of South Dakota and neighboring states would be provided access to “singularly knowledgeable” individuals who would address events, issues or problems of “current worldwide or national concern and of broad public interest.” The event is free, non-partisan in its intent and open to students and the general public.

David Brooks

Critical Inquiry & Citizenship Colloquium

Generously supported by Rosemarie and Dean Buntrock and in partnership with the Center for Western Studies (CWS), Augustana University announced the establishment of the Critical Inquiry & Citizenship Colloquium in 2023. The Critical Inquiry & Citizenship Colloquium is designed to promote civil discourse and deep reflection with the goal of enhancing students' skills to think critically and communicate persuasively as citizens of a pluralistic society.

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Frequent and varied events — such as lectures, art shows and workshops — play an active role in the continuing vitality and momentum of the Center for Western Studies.

Upcoming 2024 Events

DateEvent TitlePlaceTime
Wednesday, April 3 - Friday, Aug. 16"The Buffalo: Master of the Plains" a gallery exhibition featuring works by over 35 regional artistsCWS Fantle Building at 2121 S. Summit Ave.Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, April 4Reception for "The Buffalo: Master of the Plains"CWS Fantle Building at 2121 S. Summit Ave6:30-8:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, April 12-132024 Books & More SaleCWS Fantle Building at 2121 S. Summit Ave.Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. – Noon
Thursday-Friday, April 25-2656th Dakota Conference: The Political PlainsCWS Fantle Building at 2121 S. Summit Ave.Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Friday-Sunday, Oct. 25-2743rd Annual Artists of the Plains Art Show & SaleDahl Arts Center, Rapid CityTBD