All posts by Rachel Polan

FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: OCTOBER

This month, First Friday featured a slew of artists participating in the Art and Wine Walk. Most locations had the artists inside their shops, so the looming threat of a downpour was no concern. The rain held off just long enough for the outdoor locations to show off their craft. Instead of going to every single stop on the walk, since there were so many great artists there, I picked the “You don’t see that everyday!” locations.  ~Rachel

Rebekah Scott Designs at Atoley Spa

She learned how to sew in 4-H as a child. Then, one Christmas as a “poor newlywed,” Rebekah Scott realized she did not have to buy gifts. Family and friends received handmade gifts that year, and Rebekah realized that she could start a business with her craft and still raise a family. Thirteen years later, she is still making purses. Her website, shoprsd.com, is based on an interactive system that lets visitors pick designs and see different fabrics on the item they choose. Her wares on display at Atoley Spa had something to please everyone; a variety of styles, colors and patterns were available with more on her site.

Nathan Rueckert at A League of Your Own

“America At The Seams” is Nathan Ruecker’s latest and largest work, and also the name of his soon to be released book. For almost two decades he has worked with old tattered baseballs, turning them into various forms of art. He makes everything from keychains to crosses. Nathan got his inspiration after the September 11th attacks, and he played baseball in college. His work has expanded from the original idea of American flags and really taken off over the years. He works with baseballs because the sport is still “America’s favorite pastime,” and keeps the game close. See more of his work on his website.

“America at the Seams”

Swen’s Reclaimed Wares at Say Anything Jewelry

Mike Swenson brought his reclaimed wood art pieces to his sister’s shop for First Friday, along with some of his tools. Mike kayaks on the rivers, and his state carvings are often inspired by these rivers; he can take the less interesting shapes of some states and make them dynamic by carving in the rivers that run through them. Most of the wood Mike uses comes from barns or pallets, and all of it is reclaimed. Find the Minnesota native on Snapchat to see in progress works at swenmn, or see his shop on Etsy to buy his art.

Mike’s tool set up at Say Anything

Amy Jarding Weaving at Coffea

Amy Jarding, co-founder of JAM and a weaver for three years, set up shop at Coffea on Friday night. Mostly self taught through YouTube videos, Amy creates vibrant and stylish woven pieces in many sizes. Her large works immediately catch the eye in the space, and the hanging accents add color to the ambience. She uses new and used yarn on her frame loom, and sometimes even found objects. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook to see more of her work with weaving and other artistic endeavors.

Parklet Design Competition at Sioux Falls Design Center

South Dakota State University students of all grades submitted sculpture ideas for the Sioux Falls Design Center Parklet Design Competition this Friday. Six student groups were selected to take over parking spots near the 11th and Phillips intersection and set up their designs that passerby could vote on with tokens provided. Designs included a wide spectrum of ideas influenced by pop culture and nature. An interactive game made of balloons and complete with slingshot was compiled by a group including student Walker Kropenske. He said the piece was fairly simple and based on the game Angry Birds.  “What’s That Sound” inspired by Blue Man Group and Pinterest crafts was put together by a group of four including Rachael Selberg. She said her group wanted to create an interactive experience for children and adults too. “Feathers,” a social media positivity campaign that passerby were able to add to (#WhatMakesMeFly), was created by Liz and Angela. They were hoping to spread positive energy on social media in Sioux Falls. A stained glass house inspired Jaylee, Gaby and Samuel for their cellophane built tent. Unfortunately, the sun did not come out much to make their piece shine they way they hoped. “Palisades Pavilion” was created by Kyle Franta and Thomas Schneider, inspired by Palisades State Park and a pit stop for those attending the parklet event. All of the sculptures were large enough to fill their parking spots and draw passerby in. Learn more about the Sioux Falls Design Center and their upcoming competitions on their website.

“Palisades Pavilion”
Liz and Angela with “Feathers”
Angry Birds Interactive
“What’s That Sound?”

FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: SEPTEMBER

Despite the rain earlier in the day, September’s First Friday was a popular place to be. This month, I visited the events at the Washington Pavilion, Rehfeld’s Gallery, Third Eye Gallery at Vishnu, Exposure Gallery, and the Block Party at 8th and Railroad. Talking to the artists at most of the galleries and learning about their work was a treat! The events were all family friendly and worth a trip downtown to see.

~Rachel

“Cracked Open” the Pavilion

Emily Stokes poses next to one of her pieces.

Introduced by Sarah Odens, the Assistant Curator of the VAC, and Jason Folkerts, the Director of the VAC, Emily Stokes appeared to talk about her new exhibition “Cracked Open.” Stokes was very open about her work and life, while telling the crowd her approach to art and her process. Though the gathering only included 18 people, Stokes embraced the intimate atmosphere and opened the floor to questions. She answered inquiries about printmaking, her storytelling, the process she uses and the inspiration for most of her art.

Stokes’ work in the Contemporary Gallery is a compilation of her box and printmaking work that encompasses her style well. The larger pieces on the wall have a simplicity and brightness to them that immediately attracts the eye. The work featured in the gallery is inspired by the differences between small towns and the contrast of living in different places. She explained that this exhibition is somewhat of a new venture for her, and the box concept in some of the pieces came from a desire to change things up a bit.

“I always think of Monet and his haystacks,” Stokes says. “The boxes became a way to kind of unify ideas.”

This exhibition was the first time for Stokes to see her bright work against a dark wall, an experience she excitedly shared with the audience. “It’s taken me awhile to get comfortable with color,” she said.

Her current project is one similar to the boxes, but branches out into more organically shaped creations. She has also been working with screen printing, though her favorite style is still drawing with a ballpoint pen.

As part of First Friday, the Pavilion had a scavenger hunt for children that included pieces in Stokes’ exhibition. Families came in and out of the gallery throughout the talk, producing a lively atmosphere. The unusually shaped pieces and familiar images are a great opportunity to expose kids to art they will understand.

Every side of Stokes’ art has something to it, and the three-dimensional features keep visitors on their toes throughout the exhibit. With the warm colors and farm life images, Stokes has produced a relatable and inspiring exhibition. Director Jason Folkerts said it best: “[She] does a good job of inheriting the Midwest.”

Also at the Pavilion is the “Above the Fold” exhibit with featured origami from nine artists. This exhibit is amazing and has some larger than life pieces that will delight children and adults alike!

Karen Kinder at Rehfeld’s Gallery

Karen Kinder poses next to her favorite animal: sheep.

Walking into Rehfeld’s I was greeted immediately by the new owner, Matt Jorgenson. He was exceptionally polite and helpful in my search for Karen Kinder, the artist of the reception at the gallery that night. The gallery itself was very open and the floor plan well-suited to the foot traffic of a busy First Friday reception. With over 30 artists’ work on display, I was worried I would not be able to identify Kinder’s work. Boy was I wrong! The gallery had set her pieces centrally, and my eyes were drawn immediately to her work.

While walking through the gallery, there was a noticeably different feel from the modern vibe of the Contemporary Gallery at the Pavilion. Rehfeld’s had a warmer and more at-home feel to it. There were children about from the moment I walked in, but much more subdued than the ones at the scavenger hunt. Kinder’s work added to this calmer vibe,  featuring farm and field landscapes with sheep and cattle.

Kinder had many friends and acquaintances visiting with her throughout my time at the gallery. When I finally got a chance to talk to her, the explanations of her work were as warm as the paintings themselves. “Color is just fun!” She said.

Kinder loves color, especially purple, and contrast is extremely important in her work. She also explained that sheep are her favorite animal to paint, though she appreciates the “angularity” of cows as well.

Kinder’s work is well worth a trip to Rehfeld’s, and a great fit for the family or date night. The warmth and farm-grown feel of her oil paintings are inviting and capture the essence of farm life in South Dakota.

Shiny, Happy People at Vishnu Bunny/Third Eye Gallery

Anna Glenski, Morgan Bentley, Hannah Wendt, Dustin Marie, Tyler Breske, Trista White Dove, and The Art of Lemmons were featured in Third Eye Gallery’s latest show. Unfortunately, I did not stay long enough to hear the music from Bodega Sushi and Granola featured that night. The artists put together an amazing array of art in different mediums. The work on display included everything from sculpture to charcoal drawings on newsprint.

The artwork in this gallery presented a different side to modern art that the previous exhibitions influenced by farm life could not achieve. The neons and saturated colors of pop culture icons filled the walls of the galleries, and mixed media pieces with global influence found their place there as well. Though the exhibition was listed as a family event, there were a few pieces present that included nudity or more adult themes that some families might want to avoid.

While many artists presented more abstract concepts, common themes throughout the exhibition were human forms, or parts of them, and pop culture references like Pokémon and the Joker. Along with the many brightly colored pieces, there were quite a few black and white or monochromatic pieces, as well. Some artists had a theme while others simply displayed a selection of their varying works. The variety of work displayed was a refreshing change of pace from the previous galleries I visited, though each gallery had its own charms.

Bonus Feature! Our own Hannah Wendt was featured at this exhibition. She also had work at my next stop–the 5th Annual Tallgrass Recovery Art Show.

Tallgrass 5th Annual Recovery Art Show

The last gallery stop on my First Friday tour was the busiest yet. Held at Exposure Gallery, the Tallgrass Recovery Art Show features the artwork of people who have been affected by addiction. On Facebook the gallery said, “Art is a medium for healing and we’re happy that we can help bring attention to the work that Tallgrass does each year in a small way.”

This show featured paintings, sculptures, and a few found-art style pieces. Most notable in the two room show were the larger-than-life sculpture of a man made of branches, and the fabric draped painted sign. A voting box sat next to the entryway of the gallery, and several visitors stopped to voice their opinion during my time at the show.

Many of the paintings featured words, quotes or the artist’s own thoughts on addiction. Another common motif throughout the show contrasted bright color with black and white or shades of gray. Subjects for the paintings and sculpture ranged from abstract to depictions of people. Though touching is not allowed, many pieces in the show make you want to reach out and feel their different textures and layers. This sort of tactile yearning was a unique experience among the gallery shows that night.

Some of the art in this show may be disturbing to younger audiences, but overall I would consider it family friendly. The pieces came from artists of different age ranges, and the perspectives were as varied as the artists themselves. The pieces in the show draw the audiences in, and simultaneously push them away. This show truly encompasses the different sides of addiction and recovery for an audience who may not have experience with the situation.

I ended the night at the 8th and Railroad Block Party. I didn’t stay long, but it was busy and the music was interesting! The band I heard was a blues group that included a didgeridoo and harmonica in their songs. First Friday was a hit, and there are lots of great new art shows to go see this month. I highly recommend all of the places I stopped at!

“Release the Cranes” at the Washington Pavilion

For five years Reina Okawa’s cranes have greeted visitors at the north entrance of the Washington Pavilion. But this fall, the exhibit comes down. This Tuesday, August 29, the Pavilion offers a last gathering to appreciate the cranes that have become a fixture in the Sioux Falls community. The cranes have been at the Pavilion so long that Meagan Dion, the lead curator for the Visual Arts Center, clarified that the exhibit was always a temporary one. “It wasn’t ever intended to become a permanent installation,” she said. “But we wanted to give people as much time to appreciate [the cranes] as possible.”

Reina Okawa’s original sketch for “You, Me and the Cranes”

Since they were installed in 2012, the cranes have become a Sioux Falls community favorite. The send-off event  on August 29, “Release the Cranes! A Farewell Party”, celebrates the partnership between Reina Okawa and the Pavilion and gives the community a chance to say goodbye to the exhibit. Okawa will be at the event, though the actual removal of the cranes will not happen until later. The 30-foot-long strings of “You, Me and the Cranes” hold thousands of origami cranes, a limited number of which will be given away early at the party.

The farewell party intends to alert everyone that the cranes are going away, and ensure that the community has a chance to say goodbye. “We just want to make sure people can enjoy them one last time,” said Dion.

Some of Okawa’s other origami work is on display in the “Above the Fold” exhibit in the Visual Arts Center Gallery until September 16, 2017. The Visual Arts Center will be closed during the farewell party, but the cranes and her work in the gallery can be viewed any time the building is open until the end of the exhibition.
Please join us in saying goodbye to the cranes from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29. If you’ve only seen the large cranes towards the bottom of the strings, try going to the fourth floor to see the smaller more colorful ones! You can RSVP on Facebook to the “Release the Cranes! A Farewell Party”

-Rachel