UPDATE: As I suspected, the artists involved with this fiasco were not happy about the lack of transparency and appreciation for their time commitments and work;
Amber Hansen, Reyna Hernandez and Darcy Millette sent the statement to Sioux Falls Live in advance of a meeting of the Visual Arts Commission, which meets at 9 a.m.
“We are grateful to the Sioux Falls Arts Council, the Visual Arts Commission, and MarketBeat for their support during the city’s selection process for the 10th Street parking garage mural. As of now, we do not know the reason behind the Mayor’s decision to override the VAC’s unanimous selection of our design, ‘Buffalo Dreamer.’
“As local artists and community focused muralists, we are disappointed by the exploitation of time, energy, and resources that the city’s process demanded from those it claims to serve. Despite our disappointment in what has transpired, we are hopeful that this experience ignites a conversation surrounding issues of transparency and systemic power plays concerning who determines and shapes the arts and culture in the city of Sioux Falls and throughout the state of South Dakota.”
I was glad to see they acknowledged their disappointment in the process. What has NOT surfaced is the actual rejected image. I doubt we will ever see it.
This is why I have pushed back on the mayor having a full-time arts coordinator in his office. Decisions about public art should take a village, not a dictator.
The VAC will be meeting at 9 AM at the City Center Admin building downtown in City Center Conference Room 110. There isn’t really anything special about the agenda except for public input could get interesting.
There has been a lot of hoopla surrounding the rejected Bunker Ramp mural project. But without knowing what the rejected mural looks like (there have been several accusations that it was insensitive towards Native Americans and the LGBTQ+ community) it is hard to make a judgement call as to if this all to do about nothing.
Some have said that the image cannot be released due to artist permissions and copyright infringement, but my experience with being in a juried exhibit or competition those rights can be waived. I have not seen the image but I encourage the artists to release the image to the public so that the public can make that call.
Transparency goes a long ways, and in the case of rejected art, showing the image to the public would bring a greater understanding of what the artists intended and what the jurors and mayor perceived.
I doubt these three artists worked this hard to win the selection only to dupe the public into a secret plan to offend them with controversial art. If you think that you truly are ignorant to how the process of creating art works. It’s not like they suggested putting a statue of a naked dude in DTSF for 50 years.
I struggle with the notion that 6 members of the VAC who unanimously approved the initial concept would be so naive to move forward with a piece of art that would offend a certain group of people.
Me thinks the only people offended by the concept are not really affected by it’s message just butt hurt they were NOT honored and obeyed.
*for the record, I found out about this when a friend of mine casually said, ‘Have you heard what is going on with the parking ramp mural?’ I said no. So I decided to go read the agenda minutes from the VAC meetings and found a missing narrative in the January meeting. Not only were the minutes initially missing as to what the planning director discussed about the mural, the agenda page incorrectly listed it as a Jan 11 meeting instead of Jan 17. I contacted someone who may have been in attendance and they confirmed to me that the planning director came to the meeting and told the VAC the mayor had selected the other mural concept. This is another reason I have suggested that ALL city board/commission meetings be recorded and live streamed on YouTube.
The Mayor has the right to reject the recommendation, just like the city council has the right to reject zoning proposals from the planning commission. What he cannot do is bully all of the participants that were involved in this long and complicated process.