Entries Tagged 'Art' ↓

Sioux Falls Visual Arts Commission ‘FINALLY’ working on a less restrictive mural ordinance

I think this is way past due, but at least it is moving forward;

A final draft of the mural ordinance will be brought to the whole commission in October, and the city will seek input from local artists, said Shawna Goldammer, a planning projects coordinator for the city. From there, the ordinance will be sent to the city’s legal team for recommendations. After the commission reviews it one more time, an informational meeting with the City Council will be held and then the formal adoption process begins, which Goldammer said can take about three months. 

“It’ll be awhile before this is on the books, but we are definitely very close to at least launching it out into the world,” she said. “We hope that it grows into something that’s gonna really be great for Sioux Falls.”

As you can see, it must go thru many hoops before it gets in front of the city council, but it looks like something could be on the books by next Spring. I’m not sure why, all they basically have to do is cross out a couple of sentences and it would be a done deal. As the ordinances are written now, businesses are NOT allowed to have murals that have words or images that promote the business because that could be construed as advertising.

I guess I look at this two ways, 1) Of course a business would want to have a mural that in some way promotes their business, in an artistic way, otherwise what is the purpose of spending the money, but 2) I have often said that businesses have a right to have a mural due to constitutional free speech rights and property rights. I have encouraged businesses to challenge it based on those constitutional rights. Recently, Northview Bait and Tackle painted a mural on its building that features fish, which technically would be in violation of the current ordinances. Owner, Matt Staab told me he welcomes a challenge to the ordinance. He may not have to worry about it now.

Want to practice social distancing? Visit the Pavilion’s Visual Arts Center


I decided to break down today and pay the entrance fee to the Pavilion’s VAC to see the latest exhibit of the permanent collection. It was nice, because in the over an hour I was there, there wasn’t a single soul in the joint. Why? Because it cost me an astounding $15 dollars and change to get in. I have never paid this much to enter the MOMA in San Fran, the Institute in Chicago or Minneapolis or the DAM in Denver. Not sure why the Pavilion thinks charging this much to see dusty old paintings is worth that? But it’s all about the Benjamins with the Pavilion these days, even recently making the city subsidize them for low income visitors even though the taxpayers already own the building and subsidize the place each year in management and maintenance. I guess the millions we throw at them already isn’t enough.

While it was nice to see an impressive permanent collection without worrying about people coughing the covid babies on me, I was unimpressed by the lackluster presentation. Not only were most of the exhibits not labeled, the salon style of the exhibition had many great works up in the rafters where you could not view them. Maybe if I dropped another $15 dollars I could get a scissor lift to assist my viewing.

This is what happens when you turn an arts center over to a money grubbing Executive Director and a Cartoonist Department head. Enjoy wiping your butts with my $15 dollars.

the color of sound

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, it took over 13 years to put this project out there. I get it.

I could go into long rants about why that is, but to tell you the truth, I mostly forgot.

I also want to remind people this was a first attempt at something locally. We all did not know what the Hell we were doing, but we all knew what we were passionate about, visual art and music.

I think the idea was cooked up one day while hanging out with Eyob. I had done a couple ‘Art of Jazz’ shows at the Touch of Europe (painting while music played) and people really dug it. So Eyob says to me, “Why not film it?”


So we pitched the idea to a videographer friend Chris who worked at a local TV station at the time, she was cool with it. She recruited some of her colleagues to help with the filming.

And I have to give props to Chris, I think she had to go thru 25 hours of footage to get this down to 1 hour. I believe there was 5 cameras for 5 hours.

It’s certainly not a Warhol film. But it was a nice experiment. All or most of the paintings sold, I think there was 14. The main one I believe with the reclined torso is in the bathroom at Zandbroz. And I remember admiring it one day while dropping the kids off at the pool.

I also want to thank our sound engineer, Dave Scarborough, I often tell people the audio from this is a masterpiece in itself. I have the full 5 hours on CD. At the time, these were the finest Jazz and Blues musicians in the city (if not the state), some of them still are, and I think this is more of film about their extraordinary talents than a bunch of hooligans painting.

Sandra and James were also extremely accommodating in letting us use the basement of the Harvestor building. When I asked them if we could do it there, they pretty much said ‘Cool’. They used to own the Riverwalk Cafe which featured local musicians which is now the Market, you know that place that makes prize winning burgers or something.

There were also tons of great volunteers who helped out with many things, including Little ‘T’ and Charles Luden with photography.

I guess I just decided after 13 years or so it was time to show others, because art doesn’t mean a damn thing if you are painting in your basement by yourself (As an artist friend told me once) oh the irony of this being filmed in a basement.

Jesse is actually the one who encouraged me to put it out there (who was super sick with the flu during the filming) but stole the show with so many hot licks. I would also like to thank Cameraman Bruce for rendering it for me.

A lot of people these days are all about promoting the arts in Sioux Falls, which is great, but they talk a lot, I sometimes get bitter, then laugh a little and say to myself, “Yeah, that’s what I have been saying for 20 years.”

The best part (besides the fact that I’m a lot lighter these days) is that I still know most of the people in this project and talk to them on a regular basis, they are friends in art, and those friends I will always hold dear. As I often tell people, “All of my heros are artists.”

Feel free to share.

First Meeting of the Sioux Falls Arts Task Force

I attended the first meeting today of the task force that was appointed by Mayor TenHaken. For full disclosure, I did’t stay for the whole meeting (I left before the presentations of different arts orgs). It likely was NOT recorded and held at the City Center.

I was there for the initial discussion though. The chair and co-chair (Janet Brown & Tom Dempster) did do a fabulous job of presenting the task of the task force, though I don’t entirely agree, you can tell they have a lot of experience with these kind of things. Janet used to run the SD Arts Council and Tom was instrumental in bringing Levitt to Sioux Falls. They have both earned their chops, and I do respect both of them.

There seemed to be this push for the city to hire a full-time arts facilitator (paid) and and an arts commission (likely volunteer). The city currently has a Visual Arts Commission Board (since 2000) but they deal mainly with visual arts projects with the city. This facilitator and commission would deal with ALL the arts and it’s impact on the city.

While I am certainly NOT opposed to some of the things suggested, it just seemed to me as a top down approach by the movers and shakers of the city. I do however agree with one premise, arts brings in economic impact and tourism revenue to the city and it’s businesses. In a national study done in 2015, it showed that the city (region) brought in $84 Million in economic impact from the arts. This is a very good thing. What always seems to be left out is the ‘artists’. It seems like sometimes that is the ‘after thought’. I’m a bottom up kind of guy and have never been sold on ‘trickle down’ philosophies, especially when it comes to art. A bunch of mucky-mucks telling artists what to do goes against the whole mentality of what it means to be an artist.

I co-founded MAC (Midwest Artist Collective) several years ago which has also disbanded, and it was quite an experience. It was a club that was entirely made up of artists, and we had some interesting meetings and engagements, we also had several collaborative exhibits. I joked once that it was like herding cats, and I learned a lot about what it means to be an artist, and engagement with other artists.

I have often said that this could all be simplified by just funding local artists to create, perform and execute local art projects, they will create if they are being compensated, and ‘dictating’ to them what to do only harms the creative process. Once ‘free funding’ occurs, you will see a striving art community, and when you have that, you will see economic impact – big time.

Artists are not like line workers at a packing plant, they don’t like to follow instructions or rules. Give them a broad scope to work with, and let them create the artistic community. Everything else will fall in place.

I’m afraid the only thing that will come of this is another recommendation to put together more commissions and facilitators while ignoring the gorilla in the room – funding the arts – which means funding local artists, artisans, contractors, designers, performers, musicians, etc. The mucky mucks should concentrate on raising the money, and the artists will concentrate on creating the art, and tourism will follow. It really is that simple.


Mayor Selfie noticed me as he came in late, and the co-chair, Tom Dempster asked everyone to stand for him (trust me, I wasn’t the only one hesitant, and it seemed kind of bizarre – I almost screamed out ‘God Save the Queen’!) As everyone was standing (including myself) the mayor decided to call me out, and said ‘That means you to Scott.’ I think I was hiding my one finger salute in my pocket 🙂

Also, on the agenda, there was NO public input listed (they may have done it after I left, but it was NOT on the agenda) I told a city official before I left that it needs to be on the agenda for the next meeting. It is state law now that all public meetings of public boards and commissions have public input at some point in the meeting, and it has been pointed out to me by several people that this administration has been skirting this law at board meetings at the city center, and have been warned about it.

Below is a chart of the money we have spent on public art facilities form the entertainment tax fund (3rd penny). This of course does NOT include the bond payments which comes out of our road funds (2nd penny) which WAS clarified in the meeting.

Overall I am hopeful things will become more organized, but I think at the end it will be more of the same, crumbs to the artists and T-Bones for the facilitators. I read a FB post the other day from a local artist that summed it up nicely, ‘To create art means to be crazy alone forever’. How true it is. How true it is. Artists are not followers, they are doers. Let them ‘DO’ good things, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Patrick Lalley Show Podcast

This past week Pat hosted my good friend Matt Fockler. Matt and I have been friends for over 20 years and used to have a radio show on KAUR called the ‘Mutt & Squat’ show. We mostly got into a lot of trouble because we wouldn’t follow programming rules. Hey, we were volunteers, who cares! We also created the club ‘Chickens are Fun’ (which was mostly just an excuse to make bumper stickers) and I named one of Matt’s former bands, ‘Billy Goat Edsel’. I have also helped him with countless graphic design projects. Matt has written many songs for well known musicians throughout the years. Besides Rich Show and Jesse Christen, Matt is one of the more talented songwriters locally, he also tells great stories. I’m proud to call him my friend.

I’m excited about the new Sioux Falls Arts Task Force

Once again, the mayor is interjecting himself on ‘POLICY’ instead of solving the bread and butter issues of Sioux Falls through his staff and public employees, but I like where his heart is;

“The performing and visual arts scenes in Sioux Falls has matured greatly over the past few decades. Multiple organizations and individuals have made incredible contributions and there is an appetite for more,” said TenHaken. “For our arts programming to move forward in a collaborative, unified, and focused direction, I believe now is the time to investigate how the City can more effectively and efficiently interface with community needs as it pertains to arts and culture.” 

As a person who has participated in the Sioux Falls ‘Arts Scene’ for a zillion years, I have always had a simple answer to how you make the arts strive in Sioux Falls; FEED LOCAL ARTISTS!

I made this simple argument for years to the groans of our business elite in Sioux Falls with no avail. A great example was the Arc of Dreams, while a nice shiny thing to stare at when the Vikings lose another playoff game, it really doesn’t have much impact. My vision was to spend that $2 million+ on hundreds of mini art projects throughout the city employing local artists, artisans, contractors and landscape professionals. Let’s face it, you don’t have cupcakes without a baker and you don’t have art without artists. I’m hoping the task force (in which I know and respect many of them) comes out with a vision and plan that employees our local artists in shaping a vibrant art scene. My experience in the past is that members of these special groups often recommend an investment in local arts means an investment in local artists, and than the business elite step in and piss on the parade because they won’t be receiving accolades or profits from such a vision. There are several members on this task force that have the guts to tell it like it is, hopefully this time they won’t back down when the elites tell them no dice.

Natalie Merchant on tiny desk

New Sioux Falls Art Org?

Well, kind of, part of another one, but I like the direction, and there are some very good people behind it.

Porter Williams Donation of MLK

Sioux Falls Arts Council has call for art

You can apply HERE. I think the call for art at city hall is a ‘paid’ exhibit.