Every person needs a place to belong. The Cave Collective is a youth-driven community organization committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and sober space for all ages and promoting mental health through music, art, and educational mentorships. We know that a strong community must be centered in the arts and cultural engagement. Through our art gallery, mental health programming, and live cultural performances, we bring new life to Rapid City and the surrounding region.
NaTasha had a dream that she imagines many of you have had - a place for real human interaction… and really loud music. She has made this happen over the years, either underground in a literal cave, or above ground at various locations throughout the Black Hills. NaTasha believes that live music provides a connection you can’t get elsewhere – that like humanity, music can be raw and in your face, or soft and sweet, with the sound waves echoing the parallels of us all, be it under one roof or under one sky. In addition to her work with The Cave Collective NaTasha has worked as a nurse in Rapid City for nearly a decade and has in many ways devoted her life to helping and healing others. She also sings and plays synthesizer in the all-girl alternative rock band Purple Honey and is a strong proponent of seeing more women in music and the arts.
Dexter started attending shows in Rapid City in 2011 and quickly knew that he had discovered a place to find his voice. However, for as many good things as he found in the scene, there was a great deal of negativity as well. Many show attendees came from broken homes and brought that toxicity with them to events. In his work with The Cave Collective, Dexter seeks to recreate the transformative experiences of his own youth in an environment that is safe, accountable, and empowering for folks of all ages and from all walks of life. Dexter lives in Rapid City with his wife NaTasha and their three children, and enjoys hiking, fishing, and gardening in his free time. In addition to his work with The Cave Collective, Dexter is attending Black Hills State University to study Sociology and Business, with his research and studies focusing on how local businesses can work together with the community to solve many of the societal problems facing the Black Hills region while simultaneously improving our economic and cultural prowess.
Mary Haan first became involved with the Arts through writing and community theatre at the age of 8. Ever since then, she has believed that music, theatre, storytelling, and visual arts are the most powerful ways to build community. When Mary and her partner, Lucas, moved to Rapid City in 2015 after a handful of years in Minneapolis, one of her biggest fears was the loss of access to live music, art exhibitions, and community centers. She could not imagine raising her two children in a town where there seemed to be very few options for young people to engage with the community proactively. When The Cave Collective was dreamed into existence by Dexter and NaTasha, Mary quickly jumped on board in order to help bring this dream to fruition. Mary is extremely dedicated to the mission of The Cave Collective as we work to build a place in Rapid City where youth from all backgrounds will be able to hone their crafts, invest in their community, and build friendships that will last throughout their lives.
Josh Shepperd is a nurse clinical research coordinator, father of five and lifelong musician and songwriter. He contributes experience in healthcare, research, and private business ownership in addition to being a practicing artist to our team.
Josh performs music individually as well as with his band, Modern Folklore. He's often found at The Cave Collective, building, engaging, working on mental health initiatives, or celebrating young people in the community.
As a storyteller, visual artist, and slam poet, Natalie LaFrance-Slack brings a desire to see a multi-arts-sober-stage in Rapid City. A business owner in the Black Hills for sixteen years, Natalie offers community connections, marketing mojo, and activist ideals to her position with The Cave Collective. She founded Verb Storytelling Collective and has taught public speaking and creative writing to young people for the past 17 years. She serves on the board of the Black Hills Center for Equality, Black Hills Community Theatre and TEDx Rapid City. The mother of three teenage sons, Natalie and her partner Brandon love traveling, kayaking, cycling, comedy, music, art, and creation. Nothing makes her happier than roadtripping in her mom-van, reading as many books as she can, putting on a new record, drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee, or tearing down systems of injustice.
Kallista Link graduated from Western Dakota Tech with a major in Social Media Marketing. Kallista’s hobbies include playing guitar and writing poetry. Through music, art, and working with amazing people at The Cave, Kallista hopes to bring a sense of peace and community to Rapid City and surrounding areas.
Originally from Wyoming, Kylee Myers is currently 19 years old and lives in Spearfish, South Dakota. She moved there a few years ago to attend Black Hills State University to pursue a BFA Photography degree. Along with photography she loves all things art related, spending time alone or with friends creating art and questioning the Universe. She values hard work, passion, and authenticity. Ever since stepping foot into The Cave Collective, she knew she had found a home. Kylee believes in what The Cave does and is excited for what’s to come.
I will never forget the weekend I stumbled into the Cave Collective and started taking photos. I had no idea that, because of those nights, I would eventually become a helping hand to creating something so significant and important. The Cave Collective is a fantastic community and I hope that more people become a part of it.