Entries Tagged 'Art' ↓

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.

Sioux Falls Art Mystery of the Day

So today I decided to go take some picts of the new murals. Below are some pictures of the deer mural. The top picture was from last week, the bottom picture is from today. The third eye on the deer was painted over. I asked someone today associated with the project (not the artist) what happened to the the third eye, they didn’t know, but I suspect they will be looking into it. I don’t think the mural is finished yet – maybe it is?

The definition of a third eye;

The third eye (also called the mind’s eye, or inner eye) is a mystical and esoteric concept of a speculative invisible eye, usually depicted as located on the forehead, which provides perception beyond ordinary sight.

One of the most powerful and important gods in Hinduism, Shiva is referred to as Tryambaka, or “the three eyed one” in the Rig Veda, a Hindu scripture from around 1500 BCE. In visual art, Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, and his worshippers believe he uses the third eye to manifest his powers. In the Sanskrit epic poem the Mahabarata, Shiva reduces Kama, the god of desire, into ashes with his third eye. Allegorically, this connects the third eye with wisdom and enlightenment—Shiva possesses the power to destroy the universe in order to recreate it.

I’m not sure if the eye was painted over due to censorship, or if the artist just said, “You know what, I really don’t think it looks good.”

As you may or may not know, the wall is owned by Mayor TenHaken, but I’m not sure where the funds came from to pay the artists – assuming they got paid.

Hopefully we will get some answers.

Did anyone observe the Painted Snow Plows on Saturday?

I had a family event yesterday and totally forgot to go to the ‘Paint the Plows’ event at the Mall parking lot. I did go over to the public garage today and saw a few of them parked by the fence.

If anyone attended, could you send me picts?

These were the schools that participated, 6 of them were private Christian Religious schools;

Anne Sullivan Elementary
Christ the King Elementary
Cleveland Elementary
Discovery Elementary
Edison Middle School
Eugene Field A+ Elementary
Fred Assam Elementary
Frontier Elementary
Good Shepherd Lutheran School
Laura B. Anderson Elementary
Lutheran High School
McCrossan Boys Ranch
O’Gorman High School
Oscar Howe Elementary
R. F. Pettigrew Elementary
Roosevelt High School
Sioux Falls Lutheran School
St. Michael Elementary

Need to fast track a mural in Sioux Falls? Talk to the mayor.

I found out yesterday that the new murals being painted in the South part of the new Raven’s parking lot may have gotten a fast track due to who owns the wall – the mayor.

While I have been literally bitching for years that more public art and murals should be downtown and across the city (in which I agree with Mayor TenHaken) I still think that the approval of these pieces should go through the proper channels.

For the record, the murals do follow the sign code ordinances and don’t advertise a specific business, and the ones that are done so far are pretty cool. That aside, it seems there really wasn’t a real process in getting these murals approved, and now I know why. The mayor still owns the building his former business, Click Rain occupies, so the murals are being painted on his property.

In all fairness to the process and openness I guess I would have let it play out like any other property owner asking for the same thing. Maybe it did, and if so, why not SHOW the public how this process works for educating others who want to pursue it?

I often tell people that government officials have a duty to not only delegate and lead, but they also have a greater duty of informing and educating the public on why they make decisions. It’s unfortunate I had to hear this thru the grapevine instead of from the administration.

But this of course doesn’t surprise me, just look at the 5G expansion.

Some people think great things get done in government if we keep it from the public. I have a word that describes those people; Dictators.