The Center for Western Studies hosts 3-4 major art exhibitions in the Madsen/Nelson/Elmen Galleries of the Fantle Building every year. The exhibitions feature regional artists and explore themes of importance to the Northern Plains. The center also has many historical exhibits on permanent and changing themes. These displays highlight materials from the art, artifact, and archival holdings at CWS which are available to researchers interested in the region.
The CWS has also featured in recent shows whimsical Sioux Falls landscapes of Rodger Ellingson, the vibrant prairie panoramas of Judy Thompson, and Eugene Christopherson’s artistic depictions of the popular television series "Little House on the Prairie." Others have honored Native American reverence for the spirit of Tatanka, seven generations of descendants of Chief Big Foot who was killed at Wounded Knee in 1890, and the patrons who've made five decades of CWS art programming possible.
The CWS also hosts a digital exhibit — Jim Savage: Preserving Our Western Heritage in Wood.