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Published on February 24th, 2015 | by AberdeenMagazine

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Leaving a Legacy of Patriotism, Emotion and Empathy; Sherri Treeby

Art Talk With Bronze Sculptor Sherri Treeby

“I want  to leave a lasting mark on the world,” expresses local artist Sherri Treeby, who has been making art of any kind as long as she can remember. Sherri began working in cast paper alongside her partner of 27 years, Lee Leuning, before focusing solely on bronze sculptures. The sculptures, which are generally human subjects, often express a moment in time that everyone can relate to, along with a touch of humor. “We all share the human experience,” continues Sherri, “and we all have similarities that surpass time and circumstance.”

Before becoming president of the business she and Lee started called “Bad River Artworks, Inc.”, Sherri was an art teacher. She’s taught classes at Presentation College and continues her long-time teaching career at Aberdeen Central High School. Together Sherri and Lee (who is the vice president and secretary of Bad River Artworks, Inc.), made a name for themselves across the country. “We won the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk for the fifth time this year,” reveals Sherri. “It was a depiction of a little girl looking through a frame with her paintbrush aligned, pondering future possibilities, entitled ‘World’s Her Canvas.’” The sculpture will be permanently installed this May at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls. Sherri and Lee have been part of countless sculpture walks and memorials across both the country and the world, with a total contribution to the art world of 150 sculptures thus far. “We always strive to tell a multi-layered story in each piece,” explains Sherri. “The story is revealed as you walk around the sculpture and ‘discover’ all the little nuances.”

Sherri sees art as an exchange between the artist and the viewer. “The viewer takes ownership,” she explains. Inspirations for the pieces include: patriotism, emotion, empathy, and the desire to make a lasting mark on the world. This may be why Sherri’s list of accomplishments include: a South Dakota World War II Memorial, a Vietnam War Memorial and a Korean War Memorial – all located in Pierre, South Dakota. Many of the sculptures are also presidential and political figures.

“I think we are where we should be and doing what we should be doing,” reflects Sherri. “I have always loved art in all forms and I have just gone where it has led me.” Through continuing to produce iconic sculptures, Sherri hopes she and Lee’s work will soon be included in even more public sculpture walks across the nation. “We [also] have plans for a possible coffee table book about our body of work,” reveals Sherri. In addition, she and Lee are currently working with the South Dakota Disabled American Vets on a national project designed to honor their service and sacrifice. Some of Sherri’s smaller pieces can be viewed at the new Aberdeen Originals art studio located on 9 2nd Ave. SE.

To contact Bad River Artwoks, call Lee Leuning at 605-380-9072 or Sherri Treeby at 605-380-0550, or visit their website badriverart.com.


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  • Issue: January/February 2015

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