Entries Tagged 'Washington Pavilion' ↓

The very curious Washington Pavilion roof replacement


Roofers are going to keep themselves busy at the Pavilion.

Over the past few days I started thinking about why ‘engineering services’ alone would cost $78,000 for roof replacement. These are JUST plans, not actual replacement costs. Remember the window replacement bid fiasco? Or how the tuck and point job was getting messed up by a local contractor and an out of state contractor had to be brought in to fix the mess?

Then I started to get even more curious when Councilor Staggers made the comments about ‘the several fixes’ the Pavilion roof has gotten over the years, and I personally recall when I worked there about the leaky roof.

Make no mistake, the roof probably needs to be replaced, and when we are spending $78,000 just for engineering, it must be pretty serious.

I talked to a local contractor this morning and asked what their thoughts are on a project like this. They said that the leaky roof doesn’t surprise them, because as they understand, they had to join a new roof with the old roof on all 4 sides (remember the only part that was gutted was the center for the Great Hall). He said you would automatically have issues right off the bat, joining an almost 100 year old roof with a new roof, also take into account, it’s a flat roof, so during the winter/spring when thawing and freezing occurs, ice dams most likely happen at the openings of the downspouts.

He said the project will probably get even more expensive if they replace the balustrades (those buldgy pedestal thingies on the edge of the roof) with fiberglass replicas. I guess the terracota balustrade should be replaced because they could crack and break due to their age and fall on people below.

That wouldn’t be good.

Make no mistake, the Pavilion roof replacement is probably long overdue, but like the siding on the Events Center, it should have been done right to begin with. Can’t wait for the maintenance bids to start coming in on the Events Center in the next 10-14 years. Grab your ankles folks, this is gonna hurt.

Pavilion needs new roof

CORRECTION: Remember the cinedome that needed a new roof last year? Well the 15 year old remodel now needs a new roof at ENGINEERING COSTS OF $78K. (Can’t wait to see the final costs to come in on the roof) While this is probably true, we need to take this into account, this is the kind of maintenance we will need for the Events Center over the next 20 years. Why is it that city facilities need so much maintenance?


I also see the city needs to purchase ‘dumb bodies’, I thought we were already paying a hefty price for them :)


More shakeups at the Sioux Falls Arts Council


Nan Baker, the on again, off again, on again, off again arts director

A brief history for those who may not be aware of the history of this organization, once called the Sioux Empire Arts Council.

It actually ran very well out of the Horse Barn for several years, it was an alternative for visual artists, musicians, poets and actors who couldn’t or wouldn’t participate in activities at the Washington Pavilion.

So when the Pavilion was planning to move the offices of other local arts orgs to their building, they conveniently placed the (former) VAC director, David Merhib, on the board of the SE Arts Council, ironically a Brookings resident, who now runs the Brookings Chamber of Commerce.

It was a planned power grab. Quickly Mr. Merhib convinced the closure of the Horse Barn (a storage shed now) and moved the offices to the Pavilion, with a name change, Sioux Falls Arts Council, then Nan Baker steps in (Nan is part of the Baker family, First National Bank). She is well connected with the monied elite in Sioux Falls, to say the least.

Nan ran the organization to begin with, than found herself suffocating in the big purple building, so she moved it out of the Pavilion, then she left, then she came back, now she is leaving again.

Yeah, like anything involving the Pavilion and its board members, complicated and baffling (and probably a touch of corruption).

Sandra Pay explains the recent exit in this letter to the editor.  Sandra has served on both the Sioux Falls Arts Council Board and the Executive Board of the Pavilion.

Interesting ‘cover’ story Sandra wrote. There is something bigger going on here, that we are not being told and to be honest with you, I don’t have the slightest clue, but if I had a wild guess, the Pavilion is involved again, and it may be why Nan has exited, again. She has expressed in the past that she wasn’t very happy about the relationship between the Pavilion and the Arts Council. Probably because the VAC was ran by someone who knows nothing about art (he damaged one of the Rockwell’s while unpacking the exhibit) and an arts center ran by a reservist military commander (Jon Loos, Operations Manager at the Pavilion). A recipe for frustration from the arts community in Sioux Falls, to say the least.

Now let’s read Nan’s farewell on the Facebooks;

It has been rewarding to see the Arts Council’s transformation. In 2015 they will be looking for a FULL TIME director. Get your resume or cv dusted off and apply. Great organization. I’ll be spending more time with my fellowship, family and friends. Stay in touch. Get out and enjoy Frist Friday! Happy Holidays!

Maybe I should also apply for this job, in case my bid for the county commission falls through? I actually probably have a better chance at the county job :)

I have actually put a plea out there on my blog to have a DaCola interview with the new Pavilion VAC director, Kara Dirkson, with no response. And an artist friend of mine also encouraged her to talk with me. I won’t even print her response to him, because it was so ridiculous, I wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone. But let’s just say, the Pavilion is on information lockdown when it comes to the arts center.

Not sure if the Pavilion is trying to weasel their way back into the Sioux Falls Arts Council, but I think we all better keep a watchful eye.


Pavilion’s new VAC Director to host meet and greets


The new Visual Arts Center director, Kara Dirkson wants your feedback;

Kara would like to get to know you, local artists and art ‘appreciators’. She is hosting a ‘meet-and-greet’ session open to the public on Tuesdays from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Visual Arts Center’s Gallery A. She would love the community’s input to help make the VAC the best it can be.

I hope they won’t be charging an admission to speak with the director  . . . and be careful what you say, management is probably requiring her to wear a wire :)

Pavilion encourages single people to get friends


Maybe you can get a friendship bracelet with your membership.

When I first found out the Pavilion wasn’t offering individual memberships anymore, I felt it was discrimination, but some wise person in the marketing department that formed a focus group decided to eliminate them. My first thought was because maybe there wasn’t a lot of individual memberships, not the case at all;

He said single memberships accounted for about 10 percent of the Pavilion’s 3,300 memberships.

Which, if you like to do simple math comes to 330 memberships or $13,200 in revenue. Something I would hardly bat an eye at. I’m sure most of these memberships were purchased by single elderly people.

I was glad to see this though;

The change doesn’t apply to season ticket sales. People still can buy a season ticket for one.

So if it doesn’t change buying an individual ticket for shows, why change the membership to dual memberships only? Because like charging admission to the VAC, the Pavilion is seeing dollar signs by squeezing an extra $20 out of those single people and disguising it as encouraging them to bring friends.

The city council and mayor really need to end the contract with the WP Management and hire a new company, that #1 is interested in making money #2 Customer service and most of all #3 transparency and equality.

They have had 14 years to get their poop in a group, and all we see is one dumb idea after another. A publicly subsidized arts center that charges to see poorly hung art and now discriminates against single people.


Washington Pavilion memberships discriminate against single people

A South DaCola foot soldier told me that when they went to renew their individual membership they learned that they no longer offer an individual membership.  They have to purchase a “dual membership” or two memberships.  Apparently they no longer welcome “singles”.

This is discriminatory for the following reasons:

This person is a single individual.

This person often enjoy going to events as a single person.

They do not need to be part of a “couple”

This “new membership policy” is discriminatory against single persons.

This policy could be a form of  “financial elder abuse” by forcing seniors, widows and widowers to purchase two membership where only one is needed.

It is also discriminatory against students and young persons who may not be able to afford two memberships.

The Washington Pavilion already has a reputation of being elitist and now they don’t want singles?  Does this enhance their reputation as an inclusive facility?

I also find it strange that a dual membership costs $60 ($30 each) but a pals (5 people) membership costs $100 ($20 each). So why not just charge $30-40 for an individual membership? Why eliminate it?

I have often felt that this city is very anti-single people, young and old, I just never seen such blatant discrimination from a publicly funded facility. But no surprise from a money pit that continues to do the wrong thing most of the time.

Is the Pavilion coming around? Maybe.

I suppose I could talk about the (non) press conference about the buckling siding at the EC, but there was so much Beautiful Sunshine going on there, I think they had a couple of skid loaders waiting afterwards.

The BIG story of the day is the announcement of a new Visual Arts Center director at the Pavilion;

Kara Dirkson will become the new director of the Visual Arts Center at the Washington Pavilion beginning Sept. 29.

I have to tell you I was delighted to hear this. Kara is well worth her weight in gold when it comes to art, in other words, she knows her stuff. While Kara and I ‘Don’t Hang’ we have many mutual friends, and I am well aware of her talents. I just hope they let her ‘Do her Job’ of advancing visual arts in our community, that is all I have ever expected of the VAC.

Good Luck Kara! And I have an open invitation for an interview to tell readers what your future plans are for the VAC.

Flashback Saturday; March 2007

This was a post I did on my old site 25dp.com, somethings never change at the Pavilion


‘The Day Ray Johnson Died’

Shadow Box – 12 x 12 x 3″



Every year for the past 5 years I have donated a piece to the Washington Pavilion VAC Arts Night (A fundraiser for the Visual Arts Center). As you all know, I’m not a big fan of the Washington Pavilion or art ORGS in general. Although I believed in supporting the Visual Art Center because it’s the ONLY FREE amenity in the publicly funded facility, and Howard is pretty cool (Howard is the curator, he actually wrote my intro on my webpage and he told my best collector, Clyde, that I was the only TRUE artist in Sioux Falls, because I’m vocal about the arts in Sioux Falls). Arts Night is kind of fun too, you get to see all these rich hob-knobbers slobber all over each other. They usually overdress for the event and underpay for the art. I have been very vocal the past couple of years about minimum bids, etc. Of course the Pavilion feels it is about the quality of the work, that is why the art doesn’t bring enough. Never mind that they don’t use a real art auctioneer, or that they overcharge for the ticket (Approximately $80 per person for just the meal and a seat at a table). The meals are usually cold and the meat is usually dry. Last year the PAV decided to start JURYING the art, too get better quality – so to speak. I think this is unwise for a couple of reasons:

1) They should accept every single piece donated, isn’t this a fund-raiser?

2) Don’t invite artists that do poor quality work.

Last year after a couple of long time artist contributors were rejected, I brought up these two things. Of course things did not change. They wanted to have a meeting with me about my concerns. I said a meeting was unnecessary, because I told them what I thought and they need to fix the problem internally. Like I said, after a few months I never heard anything, so I sent them a NY Times article about artist donations, and how some ORGS give back to the artists. I still never heard anything, and I am assuming that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

My donation was rejected this year with 34 other artists. In the form letter they say pieces are picked by quality, sellability, media, and CONTENT (Huh?) but I have a feeling my rumblings had something to do with my rejection and not my art. I worked at the PAV for 4 years, every decision they make is POLITICAL.

Every year I try to submit something different and interesting. It’s not that I’m some hack who does close-up photos of tulips or 5-minute abstract paintings. My piece brought $850 dollars last year which is about double of what others artist’ work brings. Two years ago I tied for first place for the People’s Choice award and the year before that I was on the Arts Night planning committee. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I put in my time, and my art is appreciated. I could care less what people pay for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for giving other artists a chance. That was the goal of my art group MAC that I formed a couple of years ago. I think that is actually the positive thing that could come out of this, but it could be handled differently, like rotating artist donations every year, or having two Arts Nights per year. Howard once suggested one before Christmas would be a good idea. I’m finding out more and more though that people who had an education in the arts or arts management have trouble thinking for themselves and exploring new ideas. Apparently, creativity is not a part of the education.

This year I did a shadow box called “The day Ray Johnson died” It wasn’t a political piece, I usually try to stay away from that for Arts Night. It was a tribute to the famous self-taught collage/mail artist Ray Johnson. Ray was anti-establishment, maybe it’s fitting that that piece was rejected. He never had a manager and peddled his art on his own. Maybe the words “Art is Dead” painted on the shadow box glass deterred the jurors from selecting it (you know, that CONTENT thing). It was in reference to RAY’s death, not art in general, and in a postage mark. Basically I was saying that “Mail Art” died a little the day Ray died. It’s really not a complicated message. I think sometimes people look too deep into my art, I’ve told people it is all on the surface. A couple of years back, a local art critic poked fun at my work because I painted words on my paintings. He felt I was giving something away to the viewer, art is supposed to be giving to the viewer not cloaked in mystery. What if Caravaggio believed that, would he have invented the Baroque style? Speaking of Caravaggio, it makes me laugh that in 2007 artists are judged for their personal beliefs and personal lives instead of their art. Imagine if patrons would have felt this way about Caravaggio? He would have never worked a day in his life. He was quite the hellraiser. Patron’s wanted him for his art, not for his personality. I think that is what it is all about, by banning my art, they are banning me personally. Seems like a silly assertion, but trust me I have had past experiences with the Ol’ Pavilion.

This rejection was the last kick in the balls I’m going to take from any art organization, especially the Pavilion, a place that has kicked me twice before. Once when they refused to market my individual exhibit because it may be controversial and once when I was passed up for a management position when I worked there because I was too outspoken. Maybe I’m the stupid one here for continuing to donate. I tried getting out of it two years ago, but was personally asked by Howard and his assistant Erin, and that changed my mind. I was reassured by Erin that my work would probably never be rejected because I’m a long time donator that the VAC appreciated. Apparently times have changed.

There’s a new Sheriff in town, David is the new director of the VAC. Howard was filling in until they found one. I have never met David, but he had no problem putting a personal note on my rejection letter that he would like me to donate next year. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen – pal. According to his resume, he’s one of those ART SCHOOL apologists who judge art on it’s appearance. It’s a shame he had to pay for his education. I wonder if his new blood had a little to do with my rejection? I left David a phone message asking who the jurors were, he never called back. An email to him revealed that he was out of town until Monday, according to the auto reply. Seems convenient that he would be gone when all the rejected artists were picking up their work, so his staff has to deal with them. That’s typical of the Pavilion management: The best way to solve a problem is to ignore it. Looks like he will fit in nicely.

Make no mistake, the Pavilion is about private money and their donors. The donors shape what goes on in that building and the executive director and employees are merely their minions. I wonder what kind of soap they use to clean their noses?

Don’t believe me. Check this out. A couple years back, Arts Night registered a domain for the event where they show pictures of the artists work. I went there today to see who got selected:


Pretty cool huh? A credit card company apparently got picked.

So what’s next? I’m going to insist that the juror names be released or the reason why my piece was rejected. Secrecy only makes my suspicions stronger.


This is the Email exchange I had with the Pavilion, I CC the Executive Director on the Final response.



No need to call, I work all day and am hard to get a hold of.

I just have two questions:

1) What criteria did I fail that resulted in my piece getting rejected?

2) Who were the jurors? I am assuming this information is available
since you are a publicly funded institution.

Thank You
Scott L. Ehrisman



As was mentioned in the letter that was mailed out, “The volunteer jurors considered several key criteria while reviewing artwork. It was exciting because the quality of the pieces presented for consideration was amazing. However, with this event quality is not the sole criteria. Additional criteria included variety in media, content, and buyer appeal. It was a most difficult challenge to select from those 90 pieces approximately 60 that would be included in the live auction.”

The jurors selected are members of the community and friends of the arts. The jurors are anonymous because of the nature of this fundraising event.

Thank you again.

Best regards,




I guess I can understand (or maybe I can’t) why the jurors need to remain anonymous BEFORE the selection and rejections. But I can’t understand why they need to remain anonymous after the process is over?

I have been in several JURIED shows and the juror or jurors are always advertised, usually ahead of time. In fact I have even seen your name as a juror in a couple of exhibits. It only makes my suspician stronger that my rejection was purely political.

And, even if the jurors need to be ’secret’ why can’t you give specifics as to why MY PIECE was rejected? A form letter is tacky.

I have donated to Arts Night for the past 5 years. I was a member of the Arts Night Planning Committee 3 years ago. I won the People’s Choice award 2 years ago and my piece brought $850 last year (double of what half of the other pieces brought in the auction.) I highly doubt my rejection had anything to do with your ‘CRITERIA’.

I think REJECTING donations from artists in the community is unwise, as I told Howard and Erin last year after several of my friends were rejected.

Secrecy and Censorship is NOT the cornerstone of art – especially in a publicly funded facility.

Scott L. Ehrisman

PS- Save yourself some postage and remove me from ALL of your mailing lists.



Like I said above “Secrecy and Censorship” have no place in public art. Sometimes I sound like a broken record when I tell arts administrators about this.

When did Neo-Cons take over the Arts?

Hopefully this experience will pan out, and I will be able to make a point once and for all about Elitism, Censorship and Secrecy in are the Sioux Falls arts community.

Think the Pavilion Cinedome roof replacement was costly?

That’s nothing. While the steel roof is supposed to last for 40-60 years*, what do you think new plumbing should last? Remember, the Pavilion was almost completely gutted, all of this plumbing would/should be new(er). $228K to upgrade 16 year old plumbing? (Sioux Falls City Council Consent Agenda) I wonder if the same contractor boondoggle is going on over at the EC? How many ‘upgrades’ will we need on that site in 16 years?


*A steel roofing specialist told me that it probably wasn’t the roof that needed to be replaced, but the lining underneath was probably not properly installed and that is what caused the leaks. As I told someone the other day about the Cinedome roof and the EC siding, construction problems are kind of like skin cancer, it’s not the little spots on the outside that are visible that should concern you, it is what is underneath.

Pavilion has low expectations of new VAC director

I found the education requirements of the job posting for the VAC director interesting;

Min Education: BA/BS/Undergraduate

Min Experience: 5-7 Years

I could speculate a couple of reasons why they are not requiring much experience and education;

– Doesn’t pay well

– Already have some insider picked to do the job that has some family connection to the Board (that’s how the current curator got picked, rumor has it).

– Easy to control and manipulate a newbie to the industry.

Whoever does get picked for the job, I feel sorry for them. One person runs the show in that building, and if you disagree with them, you can kiss your ass goodbye. If you don’t believe me, just ask them what happened to the last Development Director. Would love to hear ‘the truthful’ answer.