I finally had a chance to review the music of the bands playing this year. They have a great mix of country, bluegrass, hip-hop, pop, blues and alt-rock.

The bands not to miss this year are;

Radio Free Honduras (amazing music!) • Robert Jon & The Wreck (Blues Rock) • Patty PerShayla & the Mayhaps (alt rock) • Young Dubliners (Irish)

Don’t get confused by the band ‘Blood Brothers’ they are not the extreme punk band from 10 years ago, I think they are Canadian Blues (those two words don’t sit well together)

There are a couple of performers that are not my cup of tea but most of it is solid entertainment and it’s FREE! I am assuming at the June 2nd opener they will be handing out copies of the 2021 and 2022 annual reports. 🙂

Sioux Falls artist Walter Portz is painting this mural on a wall of an old warehouse next to the Sioux Steel project. It faces the grounds of the Levitt Pavilion.

Looks like a girl about to eat an orange (just as long as it is NOT a shirtless Native we are good 🙁 I wouldn’t want the Mayor’s Art Police to deem it inappropriate.)

I will be clear; I fully support the Levitt and think it is one the greatest things to happen to our community in a long time.

I also SUPPORT funding the facility thru local tax dollars as well as private donations and grants. 50 FREE outdoor concerts – c’mon on!

But what troubles me is that a non-profit that benefits from city subsidies has yet to release ANY financial documents from the past two seasons.

Why is this important?

Because taxpayer subsidies to non-profits should be PUBLIC!

I already assume of what I will see, a program that has tons of private support and does good financially. Wouldn’t you want to show this off?

Maybe it is the exact opposite, maybe they are struggling financially?

I can tell you that as an attendant of MOST of the concerts that the staff of Levitt and the volunteers bust their ASSES! The adult beverage staff is also wonderful and really knock it out of the park when they have a long line. I don’t think Levitt would be as successful without the director’s, Nancy Halverson, direction.

That being said, I think the annual reports would shine a light on how razor thin their budget is, and how people can help.

I implore them to send me the annual reports and tax filings (I’ve tried thru various other avenues and hit a dead end).

We love the Levitt! Let’s show the community the love that is already been shared!

This week was busy with another non-profit merger;

The Butterfly House & Aquarium has raised $4.2 million toward its capital campaign to expand aquarium exhibits, which can be applied toward the project, Otto-Pepper said.

Of course the Butterfly House is merging with the Zoo and it seems they have raised a lot of money.

LSS is also merging with the Multi-Cultural center, which I fully support, and probably is long past due.

But you have to wonder what is going on with their bank accounts.

As you know, the Levitt has yet to release numbers from their 2021 season even as their 2022 season has been finished for over a month.

The Denny Sanford Premier center is up for contract renewal and they are taking in millions in profits and commissions.

According to the Pavilion’s annual report in 2021 they had over $5 million in the bank. This is after basically skipping a year due to Covid. You also have to remember that we not only give the Pavilion a yearly operational subsidy but we give millions each year fixing the building due to the poor construction of the facility to begin with (windows, roofs, etc.)

Maybe it is time the city council takes a hard look at how much we are subsidizing these facilities taking into consideration how much is in their bank accounts. Do we really need to subsidize the Pavilion, the Zoo, the Denty and other facilities when they may have millions in their bank accounts. I don’t think so.

UPDATE: I wanted to note that ALL the arts non-profits in Sioux Falls that receive city taxpayer funding should be giving the public their full financials each year. I was told today that the Pavilion hasn’t done this for a long time. One of the reasons is that they are rumored to have millions in endowment and savings (not under the city umbrella but under the management company) which means if the management company was ever terminated they would take the money with them.

I will admit, putting on 50 FREE outdoor concerts in SoDak and not having one single cancellation is quite an accomplishment. I also enjoyed seeing Lee Rocker from the Stray Cats (pics below) for the finale.

But after wrapping up a successful 2022 season, the Levitt has yet to tell us the financials from last year’s season. I find this even more ironic considering the Director of Levitt, Nancy Halverson ripped the city council a new one at the last meeting (they deserved it) for wanting to contract the Pavilion to do an arts study and running the municipal duties of the arts in Sioux Falls. Nancy stated that it was a huge conflict of interest since the Pavilion already receives arts funding from taxpayers. It is. But has that ever stopped the Pavilion before?

First off, government needs to stay out of the planning and implementation of arts programming in the city and just cut the checks.

Secondly, it is easy to complain about different organizations when you have hardly been transparent.

ALL of the arts programs and arts non-profits we have partnerships with should do a very public presentation of their annual reports in a very timely manner.

Is there any reason why we have never seen a 2021 annual report from the Levitt? It’s almost October 2022.

While they all want taxpayer money, they seem to struggle with telling us how that money is being spent. I’m all for my tax dollars going towards the arts and I have had incredible experiences at the Levitt, who have a dedicated staff that goes above and beyond, and a director that knows her sh!t!

If any thing, they ALL have conflicts of interest if they can’t tell us the financials.

The brother and sisterhood we have with our arts community is essential, but that love and trust comes from telling us where our money is going towards. It’s NOT a heavy lift.