Mayor TenHaken is proposing full time art person

This story has been circulating for awhile and there has been some pushback from councilors. This is the best explanation of what the position would be;

The position, as recommended by the arts task force, is a professional arts administrator. It is not a clerical position. The city would seek someone who understands nonprofit management and finances, facility needs and management, public art preservation and maintenance.  They would also be able to increase funding from outside sources through grants from private foundations and the state and federal government. Sioux Falls is ready and in need of this kind of leadership.

While I clearly understand WHY they may think they need this position, this argument isn’t exactly convincing;

As in all industries, there are politics internally that sometimes prevent partnerships or collaborations. Cultural groups are no different.  This is one of the reasons why a city position is much more effective and efficient than jobbing this out to another arts group.  As Jeff Eckoff said, without great expense, the city can convene and develop policies that promote and encourage collaborations and give attention to the creative sector including individuals and smaller organizations.  Nonprofit arts organization are businesses focused on staying solvent through a sale of a product. They are not service organizations concerned with the values of government such as transparency, equity, effectiveness and efficiency.  They are also not accountable to taxpayers and all citizens. Based on the task force’s work, there is great need for leadership from the city to bring about cohesiveness and collaboration.

I would agree the city does need consultation, but would argue using an outside consultant would be much more cost effective then a permanent position and with the track record the city has on transparency I worry having an internal arts consultant would actually hamper the work arts organizations are doing in our community. Just look at the contracts we have with the Pavilion and the Denty. The city doesn’t have internal employees telling them what to do, and we shouldn’t. We rely on their expertise to run these facilities without undue influence from the administration.

I do support a long term city arts plan, but this cannot be done with another bureaucrat on the city’s pay roll it has to be done with private consultation from experts in the field and would suggest a study would be a better investment.

As someone who used to be extensively involved with the arts community I can tell you much more is being accomplished by the private sector and we need to keep government out of our studios.

*While there is absolutely NOTHING on the agenda explaining adding this position, it falls under Item #60 which is the 2023 city budget resolution. I also suspect that ‘someone’ is angling for this job, I will leave it at that.


#1 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 09.04.22 at 3:09 pm

I am all for the arts. I have no problem with the idea of an art specialists for the city of Sioux Falls (And I still hope his name is “Art”.). While a Chief of Culture might be too much, however, but in a town where the Mayor worries about the Diet Cokes in his fridge, how does he have time to come up with such concepts?

#2 Further Fear & Loathing on 09.04.22 at 3:13 pm

The Lululemon Mammas of Nord Hair-bourgeiois (North Harrisburg) will totally be into this new art specialist thing… Well, as long as it doesn’t impact their nail appointments, that is. #WhoIsYourNailArtist?

#3 Fearing the Fuhrer & More on 09.04.22 at 3:25 pm

That’s the one problem with always liking the Mayor’s stuff on FB. It can ruin your nails.

#4 Very Stable Genius on 09.04.22 at 3:51 pm

What if we canned the whole idea of an art specialist and a Chief of Culture and instead used that money to build some homes with two stall garages and basements for some of our deserving citizens?

#5 Mike Lee Zitterich on 09.04.22 at 6:13 pm

The City used to have a full time “arts” person, I cannot think of her name, it has been a while since she retired. However, this position was within the Planning Department, and her responsibilities was to provide her services to the city to draw, create, and establish all of the city’s within City Hall, City Buildings, and Properties.

#6 l3wis on 09.04.22 at 11:44 pm

Russ Sorenson had done the job for a very long time, then when he retired, Diane Dekoyer (sp?) took it over, but they also had other duties. There has NEVER been a full-time arts person.

#7 Mike Lee Zitterich on 09.05.22 at 1:56 am

Yes, Russ did the duties of a “Art Coordinator” handling all the same things they are asking for a full time position. However, the City did have a full time “art” person that worked within the Planning Dept for years, I cant recall her name – She was responsible for simply artwork on flyers, city buildings (walls), she was basically like a “art technician” for the Plannign Dept.

Her and Russ worked together alot connecting to other organizations for bigger projects. I wish I could remember her name…but the years have gone by so fast.

#8 Art on 09.05.22 at 1:35 pm

What that position needs is a very left leaning, slightly balding, e-bike riding, quasi goatee wearing, pork chop, that has his own blog. Where would you even look for someone as diverse as this?

#9 D@ily Spin on 09.05.22 at 3:11 pm

Sounds like just another political appointment. An insider or relative needs a job. How about focus on creating a new water plant or fixing potholes instead? There are enough airheads at city hall. Use private professional agencies with credentials and background for this sort of side function.

#10 Sick of Fearing on 09.05.22 at 3:54 pm

What about you Art? You have the perfect name for it. Any chance your last name is Aardvark? That would be perfect, too.

#11 "Woodstock" on 09.06.22 at 12:33 pm

“Speaking of a ‘Specialist'”…. “Did you see where Trump asked for a ‘Special Master’?”…. “He hasn’t asked for one of those since Stormy”….