All posts by Tana Zwart


I recently had the pleasure of sitting in on what is known, rather informally, in the art world as an “artist talk”. The artist in question was Amber Hansen, the current painting professor at the University of South Dakota. What I expected to be a simple recap of Hansen’s past works was, to my pleasant surprise, a journey through a number of small towns within the Midwest, an interesting discussion on sustainable farming techniques, a viewing of a diverse array of charcoal drawings, large scale murals, experimental films, and Hansen’s insight as to what it means to create artwork collaboratively. What I assumed would be a summary of Hansen’s formal education and a viewing of her portfolio, was actually a dive into Hansen’s world of creating artwork, not simply for herself, but with community involvement and a sense of unity in mind. Continue reading AMBER HANSEN: ART EDUCATOR


For me, experiencing the full spectrum of the First Friday scene was a first. I am incredibly glad that I had the ability to visit much of what downtown had to offer for the month of March. It’s a delightful surprise to find that there is such an abundance of activities continually going on here. I look forward to the increasing opportunities that  Sioux Falls has to offer. ~Hannah


As I stepped into the gallery space of Fresh Produce’s IPSO Gallery, my eyes were drawn to Amanda Smith‘s large scale painting. This painting was placed so perfectly, it activated the remaining area. It gave me a sense of a night sky, or even, that I was floating around in the gallery from piece to piece.

At first glance, the viewer might find it difficult to recognize the subject being portrayed. It did seem like the theme of landscape were indeed present. However, I wondered if Smith had other themes streamed throughout the pieces displayed? She has a great way of bringing the movement and brightness of each painting to the focus of the viewers. This made me feel as if the artwork, hand in hand with the space, were able to tell their own story and reasons behind their creation. Sadly, I did not have the chance to speak with her about my wonderings, I simply found closure in the explanations her art had given me.

IPSO Gallery is strategically entwined with Fresh Produce and all that they do. When visiting the gallery, the set-up encourages art lovers, and bystanders alike, to roam freely about the building. I was excited to discover that I could take home with me a pen and a key chain, both saying “keep Sioux Falls boring.” How quirky? Along with the booth, there was the long-lasting joy that always comes as a bonus when food is offered.

WIDE OPEN SPACE: Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center

As someone who works for the Washington Pavilion, I had the chance to get a bit of a sneak peek of the Wide Open Space exhibit in the Jerstad Gallery before the First Friday events occurred. I remember thinking to myself, what is this? Why does this look so amazingly cool in the space? When can I stop by to hear the artist talk? Wow! Brian Frink did wonders making this area come to life!

When I walked into the gallery, time seemed to escape into Frink’s work. After viewing the pieces, displayed in a quirky manner, I noticed a pattern within the space: he strategically placed the constructions in a way that added a special sensory experience to the works. Being able to see his perspective of elemental themes fascinated me. They all have a certain character of their own that jumps to the viewer’s attention. I was dumbfounded by the layers of meaning. I agree with Frink’s statement: “the paintings exist within the space of the Visual Arts Center in a particular way that will never be repeated.”

JORDAN THORNTON: Sioux Falls Arts Council

Jordan Thornton is the featured visual artist at the Sioux Falls Arts Council. From observing her work, including my previous knowledge of her style changes, it’s clear to see why she was chosen for this space. As a whole, I feel that the gallery’s surroundings actually drew out the most important strengths in Thornton’s work. It was incredibly fun to wander the space draped with naturist pieces.

Thornton’s style is one that I have always been entertained with–it’s something that is so distinctly her own that it can’t be mistaken for anyone else’s. She places each piece on the walls in a way that gives a structural feeling to the area. In contrast, the subject matter is often roots, or other means of nature and life. I found this to be the most intriguing aspect of her work. The theme of nature being distorted to fit her own views and perceptions of it was a nice consistency. Thornton has the means to push her printmaking techniques to create works that relate to the viewer’s eye.

Veterans Compete in Art Competition

People gathered at the VA in Sioux Falls to view the Veterans Visual Arts Show.

The event marks the first step for veterans looking to compete in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Buffalo, New York.

Although competition is open to all enrolled veterans, many participate to help cope and recover from post-traumatic stress, trauma, and other physical and emotional disabilities.

Employees at the VA displayed their arts and crafts at the event as well.

via KSFY. To view more, click here.


Geneva Costa may have been born and raised on a farm in Montana, but we’re just going to go ahead and call her one of Sioux Falls’ own. Having called both the East and West Coast her home, Costa is now living back in Sioux Falls with her husband Brogan [Green Dream Screen Printing] and two cats. Having known Costa for several years, I was delighted for the chance to delve more deeply into her process. Costa uses oil paints to create photorealistic works, and more recently, using that process to distort the reality of her subject matter. Autobiographical in nature, Costa remains inspired through gender, politics and current affairs. Her persistence in achieving her goals has always been a great inspiration, as is her dedication to keeping her concepts challenging and engaging. I wish her immense luck with her goal of spreading her artwork around the nation. See her work at ~Hannah

Arc of Dreams: Dale Lamphere shares his vision

Tonight we are proud to announce a partnership between KSFY Television and a project called ‘The Arc of Dreams’.

It involves the construction of a sculpture that will span the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls between 6th and 8th streets.
It is meant to honor those who have come to Sioux Falls hoping to make their dream come true.
Tonight, you’ll meet the artist behind the project whose work is also the result of a dream.

Tucked amidtst the rolling prarie of western South Dakota….near Sturgis…you’ll find a secluded studio.
Inside is an artist who’s work has made him a household name.
But like every dream it had a starting point.

“I grew up on a ranch about 5 miles north of where my current studio is located. I didn’t really have any experience with the arts but I enjoyed making things.”

via KSFY. To view more, click here.


Carl Grupp will be speaking at 6:30 about his current exhibition with his own artwork, featured alongside pieces from his personal collection. Carl’s show is especially exciting for printmakers in our area; boasting a display of famous prints from Hokusai, Whistler, Goya, but also features local artists like Julie Punt, Mary Selvig, Martin Wanserski, and Lloyd Menard.

Also speaking, Brian Frink at 6 p.m. His show features colorful, strangely shaped paintings he calls “Magical landscapes” that reference the landscape of his surroundings in Mankato, MN. The paintings hang unconventionally from floor to ceiling in strange configurations. Frink is also the chairman of the Dept. of Art at the University of MN – Mankato, and owns the Blue Earth County Poor Farm, which acts as his studio and gathering place for creatives.

It is Free First Friday at the Visual Arts Center from 5 to 8.


With some foot-tapping folk music playing, I had the chance to go into Rug & Relic to interview Steve and Tove Bormes. The time spent speaking with the Bormes was incredibly informing and entertaining! Right away when you walk through the doors, they make you feel welcome. It’s almost as if I was chatting with some long time friends that I hadn’t spoken to or seen for years, but still have such a fun connection with them. Even in conversation, they play off of each other’s strengths and make each other better. You can see they take humble pride in their work with Turkish art, and the local and regional artists displayed in the building. It’s clear that they are personable people that love to take the time to chat with anyone about what they love: art. I encourage anyone to stop by to take a longer look into the fantastic pieces presented here, or even just to ask some questions.     -Hannah

Continue reading RUG AND RELIC

CFA: Build A Better Birdhouse Design Competition

Calling all creatives for the 3rd annual Build A Better Birdhouse Design Competition. A friendly design competition open to all ages in support of birding, bird conservation and awesome design in Sioux Falls.

Birdhouse designs are required to meet customized needs of specific bird breeds. Choose a bird from the list below and build your design to meet the needs of that specific feathered friend. All submissions will be on display online and at the Shrivers Square windows for public voting then later auctioned to the highest bidder at the BBBDC Awards Ceremony and Auction to support future design competitions. A grand prize of $150 will be awarded to the winner in each category selected by jury scores and public voting.


Via the Sioux Falls Design Center.


Featured Member Reception March 3, 2017 5-8 PM

Guest Artist Reception March 3, 2017 5-8 PM


Sioux Falls student chosen for South Dakota in Google competition

A Sioux Falls student could soon have her art on the Google homepage for hundreds of millions to see.

Google has announced the 53 state and territory winners in its ninth annual Doodle 4 Google competition, a contest open to K-12 students across the United States to redesign the Google logo inspired by the theme “What I see for the future…”.

Bria Shay Neff, a 4th grader from Sioux Falls is one of the 53 winners with her doodle, Wild and Free, depicting “What I see for the future is that all animals live in peace. They are not endangered because they are all wild and free.”

Her doodle was selected from thousands of entries received this year.

Community members helped Bria Shay Neff celebrate during a surprise assembly at the Washington Pavilion Thursday evening.

To help their favorites succeed, everyone across the USA can vote for their favorite doodle from the 53 state winners.

Voting will be open from February 23rd to March 5th.

Google will announce these five national finalists and one of them as the national winner on March 31 — and the winner’s doodle will go live on that day.

The National Winner will take home a $30,000 college scholarship and his or her school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant towards the establishment and improvement of a computer lab or technology program.

via KSFY. To view more, click here.