Entries Tagged 'Washington Pavilion' ↓

UPDATE: The Pavilion’s strange job posting for the VAC Director

UPDATE: The job posting has REAPPEARED.

The job posting and job description was created on April 4, as you can see above (DOC:VAC Director April 2017) but the Pavilion didn’t post it to their employment page until today, for a short period of time that is, then poof it was gone. Even though it still exists on the interwebs, for now.

There is some legal hoops an organization like the Pavilion has to jump through when posting a job to the public, apparently for a couple of hours is OK.

So why wouldn’t they have posted the job longer then a few hours? Could be a glitch in the website, but my guess is that a candidate was already picked before the job was posted to the public. I guess we will have to wait and see if the new director (if they picked someone already) has any ‘connections’ to the board or other dignitaries in Sioux Falls. If not, then they need to have a long talk with their webmaster.

Longtime Marketing Manager at the Pavilion flies the coop

Not sure what happened to Wellman, but after the VAC director quit, it seems there may be some dissatisfaction with new Sheriff Smith;

The Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls seeks a Director of Marketing to join our senior management team. Under the supervision of the President, the Director of Marketing plans, executes and manages all marketing and promotional strategies and programs of the Pavilion, all of which are aimed at increasing the audiences, attendance, members, donors and rental clients of the Pavilion. This position holds a key leadership role, and in collaboration with other members of the senior staff, manages the brand, marketing and promotion of the Pavilion in pursuit of its mission and values.

Darrin is accomplishing one thing, sucking all kinds of building improvements out of the CIP. However, I have been told that Darrin is much more popular then past directors (with the minions).

Pavilion still taking money through the backdoor

Recently the Pavilion was bragging about making more money under the new direction of Darrin Smith, which is great. What is NOT mentioned is the taxpayers are on the hook for maintenance for the building thru the CIP. Over the past year the Pavilion has bled millions from the CIP for upgrades, and it continues into 2017 (approval of contracts).

Like the Events Center, taxpayers are on the hook for maintenance while the management companies only have to worry about operational expenses. It’s easy to say a facility is making NET but if the citizens still have to support it through the backdoor, what really is the true financial success?

The ‘Real’ cost of the Washington Pavilion

Yes, another ‘rosy’ story about our shining purple giant downtown. Things are not so bad afterall;

Looking to build on the progress of his predecessors Larry Toll and Scott Petersen, who served as co-presidents during the Pavilion’s first profitably successful years, Smith is going all in on giving the 350,000-square-foot facility a makeover, authorizing a three-quarter-million investment in the three-level Kirby Science Discovery Center, new paint throughout the building and nearly a half-million worth of new flooring on the way. More changes are planned for the year with a restructure of the attraction’s front lobby and more big dollar investments in the upper floors.

Sounds great doesn’t it? We’ll get back to above paragraph;

While final numbers aren’t in yet, Smith said 2016 will mark another year of gains for the Pavilion and the projection for 2017 is another year in the black. All the while, the amount of public dollars the facility is relying on continues to decrease.

Historically, the annual contribution from the city’s entertainment tax has made up about 20 percent or more of the Pavilion’s operating budget – which was around $7.5 million last year. In 2016, 22 percent of its budget was covered with taxpayer dollars, but that’s expected to dip to 17 percent in 2017, Smith said.

“It will always be important for the city to play a role in supporting it, but I also think a lot of people would like to see the private portion of the pie get larger every year,” he said. “So were going to take a pretty significant jump toward achieving that.

Bravo to Smith for getting subscriber and member numbers up, bravo also to him for trying to reduce the (operational) subsidy. But don’t be fooled by the numbers. Like the Events Center, while the Pavilion may be tackling it’s operational expenses, the maintenance and mortgage doesn’t come cheap, and doesn’t come from operational.

Back to to the first paragraph of the story;

authorizing a three-quarter-million investment in the three-level Kirby Science Discovery Center, new paint throughout the building and nearly a half-million worth of new flooring on the way. More changes are planned for the year with a restructure of the attraction’s front lobby and more big dollar investments in the upper floors.

What is not evident in this story is that these ‘investments’ don’t come from the Pavilion’s operational budget, they don’t even come from private investors. Since the city owns the Pavilion (building) we are responsible for all new construction and maintenance. The WP Management doesn’t spend one single penny on these things. The money comes from our 2nd penny CIP, the same place where are road money comes from. So every time the Pavilion spends $500K on carpeting, that is $500K less spent on filling potholes. It’s easy to talk about the operational success of a facility when you have a separate entity subsidizing your structure. It would be like having a retail business in a building that you don’t have to pay a lease on.

It seems Smith learned well from his old boss at city hall. Smoke and Mirrors.

South DaCola 2016 year in review (Part I)

art-maze-mower-lrArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016

2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.


But locally there were three things that stood out;

• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.

• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!

• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.

Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;

• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.

• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.

• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.

• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.

• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”

• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .

• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive’ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.

• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.

• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.

• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?

• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.

• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.

• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .

• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.

• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.

• A state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?

• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?

• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.

• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.

• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.

• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.

• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.

• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.

• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.

• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.

• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.

Pavilion Visual Arts Director to leave for another position

Not sure why Dirkson took a lesser position with the Arts Council;

We’re excited to announce Kara Dirkson will be our new Executive Director effective January 2, 2017. She currently serves as the Director of the Visual Arts Center at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls.

She could be leaving for a new challenge, she was only VAC director for 2 years. There also could have been growing pains with the new boss.

The bigger question is are there more moving on from the Pavilion?

Is the Washington Pavilion Planning Cuts?

Well certainly not on carpeting;


In their defense though, the place has had the same carpeting for almost 17 years, so it is probably due for an update.

But what about staff? It certainly is a building that has seen many staff and management changes throughout the years. They are on their 5th CEO, they have had I think four VAC directors. The Science Center, the Performing Arts Center, Box Office, Education/Learning center and the Marketing departments have seen many changes over the years. Their have been two constants though over the years, the CFO and the Operations Manager have been there since day one.

Darrin has been in charge several months now, so I’m sure mixing up management has been in his craw for quite awhile, but not sure what he will do?

I will say this about Darrin though, he is NO pushover. Unlike past CEOs I think Darrin won’t be afraid to make changes on his terms.

Time will tell I guess.

Does Sioux Falls have any arts leadership in the public sector?

Wow. It was refreshing to hear someone besides myself (and who actually has a degree in these kind of things) speak out about the lack of cultural leadership in our community in the public sector;

I believe now is the correct strategic moment to consider renewed formal leadership for the Sioux Falls Arts Council, a position that has been covered in a transitional capacity for the past two years.

It’s actually been in a transitional period for over a decade. The Pavilion’s plan to kill the Sioux Empire Arts Council was successful, the problem was the Pavilion had no backup plan, and the mastermind of it all ran back to Brookings to do another job he wasn’t qualified for, well at least he isn’t damaging Norman Rockwell prints anymore.

It only took this letter writer one year working at the Pavilion to figure out it’s façade (it took me 4 years);

The Washington Pavilion has not, and does not look to be, a leader in concepts like larger community cultural issues, creative placemaking and community vibrancy.

That is because the Pavilion is there to protect itself, that’s why they dismantled a great FREE community arts program (SEAC) and renamed it, only further destroying what was a good organization to begin with. But hey, now we will have a butcher shop museum at Falls Park to replace it. At least now we all will know where milk and sausage comes from.

I have been suggesting for years it is time for the city to put out bids for a new Pavilion management contract. Others have even suggested that the entities in the building should be split up (separate the performance and entertainment halls from the arts center and science center). I don’t know what the solution is, but one thing is for certain, there needs to be a true leader to take the bull by the horns.

*For the record, I don’t know the author of this letter, and have never spoken with him.

Washington Pavilion releases 2015 annula report

Well it only took 8 months, put the Pavilion released their report, kind of. Notice the line at the bottom of the report;

‘Audited Financial Statements are available upon request.’

Looks like I have to make another trip to the Big Purple Building.


The Washington Pavilion has yet to present their 2015 annual report

Hey, it’s only July 14, these things take time folks.

The Pavilion holds their annual meeting of the Board of Trustees in June each year to go over the annual report. It is required by their bylaws and for their non-profit status. The report (externally audited or not) is presented at this public meeting. Or it should be . . .

A couple of weeks ago I tried to attain it online and called. It was not available. Today I went to the box office and requested a printed copy (something a non-profit must have on hand for the public). They called the finance director and she told them to instruct me that they were ‘still working on it.’ I left my business card (South DaCola) and told them to get a hold of me when it was available. As soon as I got home I had an email from the finance director that said this;

We are currently working with our auditors to complete the 2015 report, but here is a copy of the 2014 report.

The report should have been completed for the meeting, it should be available.

The irony of all this is that after 15 years we know the Pavilion will never be in the black, there is no big secret here, so why the delay?

The Pavilion just replaced their two CEO’s with Darrin Smith, and the Pavilion has received over 3 million dollars this year from our CIP for needed maintenance and repairs (this is not a part of our operational subsidy, this comes from the 2nd penny CIP, the same fund that repairs our infrastructure).

It may be true an external audit is happening, that is completely normal. But the initial report should be available.