ON VIEW: June 5 - July 11, 2021

Dorothy Graden Images

Meet the Artist: Sunday, June 13 from 1:00pm - 2:00pm and 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Hybrid In-Person and Virtual Artist Talk: Sunday, June 13 from 2:00pm -  3:00pm

After traveling more than twenty-five years to prehistoric rock art sites my mission is to introduce art images inspired by the First Americans to people of today. I often stand in silence and awe and can feel the great strength and sorrows of the people who lived on the land thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. It brings me to a place where words can't go. My art is truly inspired by the places I have been and the rock art I have experienced. These ancient spirits reach out and move throughout this body of work. Additional research into modern and contemporary art sources also provide stylistic innovations.

I have given presentations on ancient rock art at universities in Russia, Ireland, and most recently in Austria. Traveling to these wonderful and remote ancient rock art sites has involved climbing buttes, descending into canyons, dodging rattlesnakes, and scrambling up cliffs. I have done this for over twenty-five years because of the awe-inspiring rock art, and the adventure of the hunt. My art and slide presentations open a whole new world to viewers, because these are sites that most will never see.

When creating each work of art I pull each sheet of cotton rag in the paper studio adding at least six layers of pigment, and then applying India ink, watercolor and pastels. The hand pulled paper and cotton pulp painting provide a surface that lets images emerge from the paper, creating the atmosphere and detail I experience at various rock art sites. As I create my art, all that I feel, experience, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, are within every piece of my art.

Read Dorothy's CV.


Dorothy Graden Headshot

Dorothy Graden is a contemporary artist whose art is inspired by Ancient Visions, prehistoric art of the Americas. Her mission is to bring awareness of these amazing places and to promote preservation and protection of ancestral sites on this continent, most of which are considered sacred to Native Americans. For over 30 years she has been traveling through the American west to photograph and draw prehistoric rock art. These rock art images were incised, pecked, abraded and painted on cave and canyon walls and boulders. Rock Art has been found on every continent except Antarctica. Some sites are 30,000 years old.

As all artists, Dorothy is inspired by personal experiences. She has explored the world of the seas scuba diving with her family. And a recent trip to the Masai Mara in Kenya influences her palette with colors of the savannah. Ms Graden pulls and pigments cotton rag in the paper studio and then applies mixed media to create her art. Often, images emerge from the paper as she works and her technique is a truly creative process. Ms Graden has presented her field work on rock art at the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow at University College Cork, Ireland and at the University of Innsbruck in Austria (2014). Her photographs have been published in the Theosophical Society's journal, Quest. She also presents, lectures and exhibits her drawings and ceramic sculptures at various venues throughout the Midwest and the Chicago area.

She draws with great admiration, respect and humility for the ancients who inspire her work. She is also available for presentations.

Dorothy's art has been inspired by extensive research, hiking and traveling to deserts in Utah, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Colorado. Underwater art inspiration has come from scuba diving in global locations such as Fiji Islands,  Hawaii, the southern Caribbean and Mexico.

​Ms Graden was represented by the ANN NATHAN GALLERY IN CHICAGO until Ann's retirement in 2016. Thank you Ann for your years of dedication to the Art World.

​For more information about the preservation and protection of ancestral sites visit ARARA (American Rock Art Research Association) and Bear Ears National Monument websites.


This exhibition will be held in the Second Floor Gallery + Atrium of the Evanston Art Center (EAC). All visitors are required to wear face masks. Please adhere to 6' social distancing requirements when in the gallery space. 

Gallery Hours

Monday - Friday: 1 pm - 6 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 9 am - 4 pm


If you are interested in purchasing artwork on display, please contact Cara Feeney, Director of Exhibitions, at [email protected] or (847) 475-5300 x 107.

This project is partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Artwork shown (L to R): Dorothy Graden, On the Edge, 2019; Dorothy Graden, She Insisted, 2020