The main body of Dennis' work has been inspired by numerous research trips to ancient sites and natural wonders across the Great Lakes Region and beyond. Dennis' travels began at a young age when he would visit his mother's people, the Basque Berriochoa Clan, living in the Idaho and Montana Rocky Mountains. His travels and historical research have inspired both his paintings and his sculptures.
Dennis' bronze sculptures often reflect a high degree of realism; he has created historic & impressionistic pieces for both private and public commissions. Dennis has participated in over 150 solo, juried, public and private shows, winning many honors and awards for painting and sculpting, in the United States and abroad over the past 30 years. Several of Dennis' sculptures and paintings are on permanent display at museums, public libraries, historical societies, and national landmarks, as well as in private collections across the country.
Dennis' artistic prowess has enabled him to continue his efforts to document and preserve Native American Trail Marker Trees, the ancient system of trail marking that he was instrumental to re-introducing to the cultures that first implemented it into this continents landscape.
While he is based in Northeastern Illinois, he dedicated hundreds of hours each year to research travelling throughout the United States & Canada.
Dennis' works have also served to support and encourage the underprivileged and those in need at various charitable fundraising events over the last three decades.
- Some of Dennis Downes' most recent honors in Painting and
- 2007 Joliet Fine Arts, “Festival of the Masters” (National Show) Best of Show,
- 2008 Glencoe, “Festival of the Masters” (National Show) - Best of Show,
- 2009 Chicago, “Lakefront Sculpture Exhibition” - Honorarium and Bronze Sculpture
installation in Downtown, Chicago
- 2008, 2009, 2011 Northbrook Fine Arts, “Art in the Park” - Award of Excellence, Best of
- 2009 HGTV National Broadcast of Dennis’ Artwork - High Relief Sculptures, Dog
- 2010, 2011 AMDUR “Barrington Art Festival” (National Show) - Best of Show,
- 2010 Permanent Installation of 8’ Realistic Bronze Sculpture, Chicago - “Captain George
“Cap” Wellington Streeter”
- 2011 “Native American Trail Marker Trees: Marking Paths Through the Wilderness”
Author Dennis Downes, Published by Neal Samors was Released.
- 2011 Governor C. L. Otter of the State of Idaho presented Dennis Downes with a Proclamation
in honor of his Bronze Sculpture of Saint Valentin Berrio-Ochoa and his historical research and
connection to the Saint.
- 2011 Lakes Region historical Society and the Town of Antioch honored the Author and Artist
Dennis Downes with a Mayoral Proclamation and declared December 3rd, 2011 officially Dennis Downes
- 2012 Glenview Board of Park Commissioners declared February 23rd, 2012 to be an official day
in history to honor Dennis Downes’ artistic and historical accomplishments to the
- 2012 Northbrook Arts Commission and Northbrook Historical Museum presented a Proclamation
from the Village of Northbrook declaring March 17th, 2012 a day of honor to the artist and author,
- 2012 The Antioch Fine Arts Foundation awarded Dennis Downes an Honorary Lifetime Membership
“in recognition of Dennis Downes’ depth of artistic spirit which stands on historical
- 2012 Glenbrook North High School awarded Dennis Downes the Distinguished Alumnus Award for his lifelong accomplishments as an Author and an Artist.
- 2012 February 23, Glenview Illinois Mr. Downes was presented with the Presidents proclamation for achievements as a Artist and Author
- 2012 March 13, Mr. Downes received proclamation from the Northbrook village President for his life's work as an Artist and Author ,as well a day in his honor March 17, 2012 was declared… Dennis Downes Day… for the village.
- 2012 Oct 12 in Antioch Illinois, Antioch fine Arts foundation awarded Mr. Downes with an Honorary lifetime membership in recognition of the depth and spirit of his work.
- 2014 Dennis Downes' paintings and the artist himself appeared in the award winning motion picture "23 Blast". Directed by Dylan Baker and Produced by Gary Donatelli
- 2016 Official Ojibwe Naming Ceremony & Documentation bestowed upon Dennis Downes by Earl Otchingwanigan, Minnesota State University at Bemidji
- 2016 Landscape Architecture Magazine's November 2016 issue featured an 8 page article titled "Living Signposts" by Timothy A. Schuler highlighting significant portions of Dennis' work and studies. Timothy A. Schuler won the Forest History Society’s John M. Collier Award for Forest History Journalism, which recognizes excellence in reporting on forest or conservation history for this article.
- 2016 Permanent Installation of the 5-foot bronze "Trail Marker Tree" on the Hughes' Redwing Estate in Northeastern Illinois.
- 2017 Mr. Downes received the Honored: Eagle feather award: from Hilda Little Fawn Williams, Ottawa elder and direct descendent of Chief Pontiac. For helping preserve Native American history in the Great Lakes.
- 2017 September 8, Mr. Downes was a featured artist in the 100th anniversary of Catholic charities in Chicago, Gala of the arts held at Navy pier in the Grand Ballroom.
- 2017 December 11, Village of Antioch purchased the 7ft. Bronze Trail Marker tree sculpture by Mr. Downes to be permanently installed on Main Street accompanied by a Bronze plaque.
2017 Bronze statue of George Wellington "Cap" Streeter was officially added to the architectural walking tour of Streeterville.
- 2017 The image of Downes created by famous photographer, Dennis Manarchy was selected by James Pomerantz to be the cover of his novel "Ghost Bandit".
2017 Dennis was selected as a featured artist for the 100th Anniversary Catholic Charities "Gala of the Arts".
2018 The 7-foot Bronze Trail Marker Tree was permanently installed on Main Street in Antioch, IL. with a special blessing ceremony.
2018 The planting and dedication ceremony of Downes' second living council circle took place at Bowen Park in Waukegan, Illinois. Menominee Elder Verlyn Spreeman and Dennis together planted the entrance tree to the circle during the ceremony on May 5, 2018