Entries Tagged 'Washington Pavilion' ↓

The Washington Pavilion doesn’t have a plan? GET OUT!

I have to tell you, there has been some pretty ridiculous things said by directors over at the big purple building in past years, but for once, one of them finally told us the truth(?);

Michele Wellman, public relations director for the Pavilion, said the strategic makeup of the front office isn’t set nor is a timeline for determining how the organization will move forward.

“The board doesn’t have a final plan at all. At the moment, everything is up in the air,” she said, adding those interested in joining the Pavilion’s leadership team are encouraged to inquire.

Oh, they have a plan, a plan that they have relied on since day one of operation. Let the board of trustees run the joint through their ‘heavy’ in the building, the Operations Manager, Jon Loos.

Peterson and Toll are/were merely figure heads. The last time the President of the Pavilion even made an attempt at running the joint would have been Steve Hoffman, we saw how that turned out, he ran for the hills (well California). I will give Larry Toll credit for some things, he has been a heck of a fundraiser (calling his rich buddies to help out) in between afternoons sucking up cigar smoke on Phillips Avenue. But let’s not call in the big band just yet;

In 2009 when he came on, Wellman said the Pavilion was facing financial uncertainty and was struggling with a red budget.

“Larry came in at a critical time and turned the Pavilion around. He brought a brilliant business mind to manage the Pavilion,” she said. “We’ve been in the black for five years, so he dramatically turned around our financial status.”

Just when we thought we had a glimmer of hope the Pavilion would shoot it to us straight for once, they go and claim they know what ‘being in the black’ means. The Pavilion has NEVER been in the black, if you discount the subsidy they receive every year from the entertainment tax, and the fact that all the maintenance to the building is paid out of the CIP. The unfortunate part about tooting the black horn each year is that now the Events Center has started the same mantra complete with a bawling mayor press conference.

I have often said if you ever want the Washington Pavilion to have complete success and smooth sailing, you need to find a new management company and send Jon Loos and company packing. Who needs a ‘President’ when all the Pavilion really needs is a strong ‘Manager’.

Does the Pavilion and SculptureWalk realize this is a Knockoff of the Dutch Boy logo?

safe_image.php precious-americana-dutch-boy-paints-lw1gb-433x600

People’s choice award, a house paint logo image. Maybe I should submit an Aunt Jamima or Pillsbury Dough Boy sculpture?

I often chuckle about the people who make the public art selections in this (boom)town.

Remember this People’s Choice winner from Sculpture Walk 2014 (created by Lee Leuning and Sherri Treeby)? It will soon have a new home in the Washington Pavilion’s main lobby as you walk up to the VAC. Thank you City of Sioux Falls – Municipal Government and SculptureWalk!


There is a sucker born everyday, and probably 2 or 3 in Sioux Falls. I also find the irony of the ‘Dutch Boy’ (Girl? Boy? Transgender?) actually painting a REAL painting and not a house to be funny. Do you think that Lee Leuning and Sherri Treeby (the artists) are having a little joke with us? Nah. They are not that clever.

Pavilion Roof Replacement, the estimates are in!

As I mentioned in March, this was going to cost the city a pretty penny;


At that time, one of my commenters said this (Consent Agenda, Item #1);

If existing parts of this roof were done prior to 1997 or so there would be the need to install over flow roof drains and to be careful to not create dust etc if old insulation has asbestos the job could easily climb to 1.5 million or so. The one big item will be to restore or design for crickets,roof drains and insulation products. A&E May design but if fiddle faddle has to control constructive change orders then tax payer will get screwed again.

Not far off.

Like I said in March, it needs to be done. But the bigger question is why wasn’t it done right to begin with? 14-15 years later, and we have to replace the roof on a refurbished building for over a million bucks?

The worst part about this is it has nothing to do with the Washington Pavilion Management, it has to do with the construction mis-management. It makes you question new facilities like the EC and the Indoor Pool. What kind of hidden maintenance costs are creeping up on us? Heck, we still don’t know what is going on with the botched siding job.

Also, why was this BURIED in the consent agenda? Over $1.2 Million and they expect the council to just blow it off?

Blast from the past, my 2003 Arts Night entry

Scott's art night 2003

I think the ‘then’ CEO of Avera bought the piece. I can’t even remember the name of the piece.

Is the Pavilion too small to put on the ‘big shows’

Well according to the Fargo City Commission, that may be the case. They are considering re-purposing their civic center into a performance facility, and one of the commissioner’s had this to say about the Pavilion (DOC, Page 4: web150105)


A troublesome look at the Pavilion’s finances

After looking at the Pavilion’s finances from 2014 compared to 2013 (Item A), I think it is time the city looks at bringing in a new management company.

Finance Doc (WPMI-OF)

While the Pavilion brought in over $800K more in 2014 at the end of the day, they had $63K less leftover then in 2013.

So what sticks out?

• Admission and ticket sales were up $757K from last year, which is a good thing, so where were the falters?

• Salary and benefits are almost $3.7 million dollars of their almost $7.5 million dollar budget (half of their entire budget) while programming is only $1.6 million of their budget.

• No major increase in the marketing budget.

• Memberships were down from 2013 (this is after they eliminated individual memberships and now charge to enter the VAC)

• Since it is a city owned building, all maintenance and upgrades to the building come from our CIP (2nd Penny) and not the Pavilion’s budget.

While the Pavilion claims they are an asset to our community, it seems they spend very little on actual programming and a lot on their employees, many from management, including the Operations manager and I believe the Finance Director have been there since day one.

It’s time the city explores a new management company to revamp the Pavilion, and truly make it a place for everyone (as was promised from the beginning).

It breaks my heart sometimes that a building I supported, worked at, donated to and exhibited in has lost it’s way due to poor management, and the finances are just the tip of the iceberg.

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 :)