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Paul High Horse is member of the Sicangu (Sičháŋǧu) Lakota tribe. Son of a Lakota father and Italian mother, Paul was born in New Jersey; however, at the age of three, his parents moved to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota so Paul and his siblings could be immersed in their native culture. He lived on the reservation until he left to attend college at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees. Paul’s artistic philosophy incorporates a modern approach to communicate a rich historical context of the Lakota people. His art captures the symbols, traditions, and values inherent to the Lakota tribe. His work also explores different media including acrylics, archival pens, watercolor, and ledger paper.  Paul currently teaches 7-12th grade art at Fort Calhoun Community School in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, but resides in Council Bluffs, Iowa.



Artist Statement

Although art has been a mainstay in my life since childhood, it wasn’t until around 2008 that I began to create with a purpose and a clear sense of direction. The last few years have brought an outpouring of ideas as well as opportunities to share my art with a larger audience. Balancing a full-time position as a 7-12 grade art instructor with my personal endeavor to develop myself as an artist has been an eventful journey, and I’ve appreciated every aspect of it. Teaching full-time and working on my personal art is something I’d love to do for as long as I can. I’m passionate about both, and they bring me lots of joy.


Growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, I was exposed to the rich culture and traditions of my Lakota people. Most of my work is inspired by my Lakota culture - encompassing values, historical images, patterns, philosophies, and ideologies. I don’t consider my pieces to be traditional, but rather have traditional Lakota references. Other influences include architecture, urban art, and my spirituality. Some of my works are based on sketches and others are created and developed directly on the canvas. Mixed media is a prominent feature in most of my work. I work mostly on wooden art panels, but I also like to use canvas and paper. During the creation process I often find myself trying to determine the best possible medium to use to bring my ideas and sketches to life. With that being said, I try not to limit myself to any specific tool, material, or guideline, thus allowing the canvas, my environment, and emotions to guide me during the creative process.


My current work is an expansion of abstract pieces I’ve created over the last couple years. I’m experimenting with the idea of incorporating animals, Lakota symbols, and figures into my abstract designs. I’m also working on much larger surfaces than I’m used to. In the past I would work on a small surface, something like an 11x14 inch piece of paper, and incorporate a lot of detail. I’m currently working on surfaces that are 16x20 inches on up to 36x48 inches while trying to still incorporate a fair amount of detail. From a distance the pieces look aesthetically pleasing, but probably what is most impressive is the minute detail that is clearly visible upon closer inspection.  






  • 2010 M.Ed., Creighton University, Omaha, NE

  • 2004 B.A., Creighton University, Omaha, NE

  • Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, NE




  • 2019 Group Exhibition, Strengthening the Circle, Baright Gallery, Bellevue, NE

  • 2017 Group Exhibition, Gallery 72, Omaha, NE – Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards artist showcase

  • 2016 Solo Exhibition, School House Gallery, Brownville, NE

  • 2015 Two Person Exhibition, Revitalize, Hot Shops Art Center, Omaha, NE (with artist Steve Tamayo)

  • 2015 Solo Exhibition, Rise and Grind, Journey Museum through the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Sioux Indian Museum, Rapid City, SD

  • 2015 Solo Exhibition, Lakota State of Mind, Crazy Horse Memorial, Crazy Horse, SD

  • 2015 Group Exhibition, RNG Gallery, Council Bluffs, IA – Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards artist showcase

  • 2014  Solo Exhibition, The Office of Multicultural Affairs, Creighton University, Omaha, NE

  • 2014 Juried Exhibition, The Gathering of People, Wind, and Water: A Native Art Market and Cultural Celebration, Rapid City, SD

  • 2014 Two Person Exhibition, We’re Still Standing Here, Kaneko Space, Omaha, NE (with artist Steve Tamayo)

  • 2014 Juried Exhibition, Contemporary Indigeneity: The New Art of the Great Plains, The Great Plains Art Museum, Lincoln, NE (curated by Juane Quick-to-See Smith) 

  • 2013 Solo Exhibition, Blick Art, Omaha, NE


Website Publications



Teaching Experience


  • 2017 - Instructor at the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD

  • 2012-Present Full-Time Art Teacher, Ft. Calhoun Jr./Sr. High School, Ft. Calhoun, NE

  • 2011-2012 Part-Time Art Teacher, St. Pius/St. Leo, Omaha, NE

  • 2011-2012 Part-Time Art Teacher, Jesuit Academy, Omaha, NE

  • 2010-2011 Substitute Teacher, Bellevue, NE and Ft. Calhoun, NE

  • 2008-2010 Full-Time Art Teacher, St. Patrick’s Jr./Sr. High School, North Platte, NE




  • 2016 Crazy Horse Memorial, Gift From Mother Earth Art Show & Sale

    • Best of Show Award (Star of the Plains II)

  • 2015 First Peoples Fund, Artist in Business Fellowship Recipient

  • 2014 Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards

    • Best 2 Person Show, We’re Still Standing Here, with artist Steven Tamayo

  • 2014 The Gathering of People, Wind, and Water: A Native Art Market and Cultural Celebration, Rapid City, SD 

    • Best of Emerging Artist Award (The Good Road)

    • People’s Choice Award




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