Sioux Falls Planning Director, Mike Cooper, a long time ‘Art Historian’

We are often told by the city councilors at meetings how talented are city staff is. Some of them have multiple skills.

Just look at Mike Cooper, not only was he once the Parks Director he got promoted to the Planning Director (which oversees code enforcement).

He apparently has a knack for art history, especially African inspired abstract impressionism and American Folk/Street art.

When he was the Parks Director he determined that the Mural on the horse barn by Ethiopian artist, Eyob Mergia, was NOT a mural, but a ‘large painting’ (like there is a difference) therefore it could remain without the approval of the Visual Arts Commission.

Recently, under his direction, the code enforcement office has determined that Mr. Bendo was NOT advertising, but ‘ART’ so he could have a pipe in his hand. He also made this determination without consulting the Visual Arts Commission once again.

Is Mr. Bendo art? Or is he a sign? I would go with neither on this one. While called a ‘street sculpture’ I would say this is more of ‘decoration’ than anything. He is a mass produced fiberglass sculpture that could be determined kitsch, folk or Americana, but if I had to make a determination if he was more a Michelangelo or more like the McDonald’s golden arches, I would go with the arches.

Let’s just be honest here. The code enforcement office looked like fools and they were trying to save face, so they backed out on their decision without admitting ignorance by using Cooper’s old trick, ‘It’s art’ excuse.

So the next time code enforcement says your junk truck can’t be parked in your driveway, or your grass is too long, just look at them and say ‘It’s Art’.



#1 JKC on 08.28.18 at 2:35 pm

I would say that the seeping siding and the cracks in the cement floor at the EC are “signs” of things to come too, or is it just art?




#2 scott on 08.28.18 at 7:50 pm

with his expertise in the area of art, cooper should be named as the next head of the pavilion.

#3 l3wis on 08.28.18 at 8:40 pm

He’s also a Cartoonist Minister that specializes in Plagiarism?! A man of many talents!

#4 D@ily Spin on 08.29.18 at 10:03 am

Leave Mr. Bendo alone. He’s a symbol of the city like the Statue of David. Bendo belongs on Blue Collar postcards. His work garb suggests peasant warmth. David is for Credit Card Bankers and Corrupt City Government. His cold nakedness represents their inferior organs between their ears and legs.

#5 JKC on 09.01.18 at 10:53 am

I think the Black Sheep Coffee mural should have been preserved. People could have got their Twinkies at the new convenience store then gone around back to stare at the mural for a while… And school kids could have been brought there as a part of a field trip to expose them to art and to give them an idea of what the Berlin Wall was like…