SculptureWalk welcomes fresh face, Sioux Falls native Cameron Stalheim

SculptureWalk is welcoming a fresh face to its lineup this year.

Sioux Falls artist Cameron Stalheim, 30, is busy prepping his statue “Persist” to be cast in bronze.

The art piece is one of 57 works being displayed in the 15th annual SculptureWalk, set to be installed downtown May 5.

“Being that this is my first time on the SculptureWalk, I wanted to make a piece with an impact to the community,” said Stalheim. “The piece is all about allowing yourself to be vulnerable.”

“Persist” is the first of three sculptures in a series showing the liberation of the subject. By the third sculpture, the cloth has been removed from the figure and he is finally free to be himself.

Stalheim is currently raising funds to cast the rather large piece in bronze, which will cost $15,000. When “Persist” is completed by BronzeAge Art Casting, the statue will be installed at the intersection of 10th Street and Phillips Avenue.

“It’s very exciting to be approved to be on ScultpureWalk, but then the reality hit for me. Now I actually have to make it and find the money to pay to make it,” said the artist…

via the Argus. To view more, click here.

2018 ArtAbility Call for Art

The Sioux Falls Mayor’s Disability Awareness Commission (DAC) announces the 2018 ArtAbility call for art. ArtAbility is an art show that the DAC hosts for local artists with disabilities to showcase their work.

The deadline to submit an entry form is March 30, 2018. The entry form, the call for art, and more information can be found at

The art show will be on April 20, 2018, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Museum of Visual Materials located at 500 North Main Avenue in Sioux Falls. There will be live music, refreshments, and art for sale.

In addition to the DAC and the Museum of Visual Materials, Gustaf’s Greenery and LifeScape are also sponsors.

Call the DAC staff at 605-367-8745 or email humanrelations@siouxfalls.orgwith questions.


Artist and Sioux Falls native Merecedes Nelson sometimes can be M.I.A. for days at a time. But don’t worry, she’s probably in a dark room experimenting. The nature and music-inspired photographer owns DoeDeer Photography and is constantly inspired through road trips and seeing the beauty in things like the decaying. Intrigued? So was 605, so we chatted with Nelson to get to know her more, and to see what she does when she’s not documenting shows at Total Drag or prepping for her next gallery exhibit.

The meaning behind my business name… actually came from the title of one of my favorite songs from a band that meant a lot to me for a large part of my life. The song is called DoeDeer, and the band is called Crystal Castles. If you go look it up to listen to it, just be warned that it’s a little abrasive. But I love it for the chaotic feelings it evokes. Plus, I also love deer and alliteration, so…

My love for photography started… in high school. Especially my senior year. I begged my parents to buy me a DSLR (a “professional” digital camera) for my birthday at the end of my junior year. The next year I took a photography class…

via 605 Magazine. To view more, click here.

HERstory: Art exhibit at Vishnu Bunny to celebrate women

An art gallery downtown is taking a new spin on Women’s History Month.

Vishnu Bunny Tattoo will be displaying art by local women in their upcoming exhibit ‘HERstory,’ opening next Friday.

“It’s not the first time we’ve done a show like this, but it’s the first time we’ve done a specific female show,” said general manager Brian Gochal. “We’re just giving them the space they deserve.”

Work by 30-plus artists will be showcased, from sculpture and portraiture to paintings and collage. A reception will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. on First Friday, March 2, featuring two female DJs and the Minneapolis band The Betsies.

Leading up to HERstory, Vishnu Bunny is displaying the protest posters from the Sioux Falls Women’s March last month. Each poster is for sale for $10, with proceeds benefiting LEAD, a local organization aimed at engaging the community.

“From a Vishnu standpoint, from the beginning of the gallery portion of our business we wanted to allow all artists. Artists that might not necessarily get into a traditional gallery,” said Gochal.

To encourage new local artists, Vishnu Bunny coordinates group shows…

Via the Argus. To view more, click here.

11-year-old artist sells painting, uses money to save endangered species

Most times you hear stories about kids who get to meet their adult role models.

Tonight we’re introducing you to an 11-year-old Sioux Falls girl who just might inspire some adults with the work she has done and contiunes to do and it is getting noticed.

Lots of kids draw and paint.
But few of them paint with a passion like 11-year-old Bria Neff does. “i always loved painting and drawing and i love animals.”

Bria is in 5th grade.
About three years ago she entered some of her animal artwork in a contest sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
A contest she won. But she earned something more than just bragging rights. Sshe learned that worldwide 3,000 species of animals are considered endangered and that’s when her artwork transformed from a pasttime to something with purpose. “I thought I could use my time and talents to showcase endangered species and their environmental challenges.”…

via KSFY. To view more, click here.


  • Spirit of Peace is always looking for either new or accomplished artists to show their work
  • The space used would be the Fireside Room, which accommodates about 20 works of art, of an average size.
  • Past shows have included quilts, pottery, prints, oil and acrylic paintings.
  • For further questions, call or text  Art Coordinator, Diane Bryan at (605) 360-8210.
  • There will be no commission on sales, and Diane can help artists hang artwork.

Gallery Exhibit Features Sculptures of Erica Merchant

The Eide/Dalrymple Gallery at Augustana University will feature wall-mounted sculpture in its latest exhibit, Erica Merchant: Fossilized Reflections.

The exhibit runs Feb. 8 – March 9.

A gallery reception will be held at 7-9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, featuring an artist’s talk beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Merchant’s work is non-traditional and yet timeless. She transforms contemporary materials through atypical means, such as carving, burning, and melting house insulation polystyrene and bioplastics. She also employs historical and ancient building techniques to create many of her pieces. For example, in such works as “Step, in situ,” Merchant uses a rammed-earth building technique: a traditional form of building across many cultures and time periods whereby material is layered into a wall-form mold and then compressed to 50% of its original size. Merchant takes “sediments” from her life — “cereal boxes, my daughter’s shoes and dresses that she wouldn’t take off, bills I had to pay, weeds we picked together on sunset walks, VHS tapes she watched 1,000 times…” — and then breaks, crushes, and shreds them. Merchant compresses this new raw sediment into wall molds that, when complete, create windows “into the strata of our home/life/oikos.” The resulting works are haunting in their dual invocations of destruction and preservation — powerful metaphors for the fearful passage of time, nostalgia and memory that bring both loss and transformation.

In other works, such as Rebuild, Remain, Merchant “casts” her own personal fossils. She might begin by crocheting a hat or doilies — markers of the feminine and childhood. She then dips them into ceramic slip and fires them in a kiln to fossilize them. Merchant embeds the results into a plaster or lath bed that become the core of her compositions and wall hangings. Domestic and personal forms become archeological discoveries that encourage contemplation and inspire a range of free associations.

Merchant’s artworks have been exhibited around the region, including in the 6th Annual Governor’s Biennial. She has also taken part in exhibitions at the South Dakota Art Museum, Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center, the Apex Gallery in Rapid City, Black Hills State University, and is regularly featured in Sculpture in the Hills exhibitions in Hill City. Her recent solo exhibitions include at the Sturgis Public Library and Minnesota State-Fergus Falls. In 2015, her work was a part of Venice Edition III, Artemotion (vending machine) at the Venice Biennale.

This exhibition is funded in part with a Project Grant from the South Dakota Arts Council, with funds from the State of South Dakota, through the Department of Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Please join us!



Sioux Falls, S.D. — The Sioux Falls Arts Council will feature MICHAEL DANIELS as January and February’s Featured Visual Artist.

Michael specializes in portrait photography as well as outdoor scenic art. Michael’s journey began when he first took photography classes in high school, and has been hooked ever since. Michael loves the opportunity to be able to get creative behind the camera and to capture amazing moments in people’s lives as well as the beauty of nature. He enjoys making his customers happy and looks forward to their reactions when they see their finished product. Michael and his wife decided to take what he loves to do to the next level by turning it into a small, family run business. Through their business, they get the chance to meet many great people and provide them with photos of moments they will cherish forever.

Sioux Falls Imagined: A Cultural Plan for a Vibrant and Prosperous City, approved by the City of Sioux Falls in July 2014, named the Sioux Falls Arts Council as the organization given the charge of implementing the plan. From the Artists and Creative Workers task force findings, a strong need identified for the local art community was alternative exhibition space(s). The Featured Artist Exhibit at the Sioux Falls Arts Council office opened in May 2016 as a way to start filling this need.

The Sioux Falls Arts Council, located in the Crane Centre at 8th & Railroad 326 E 8thSt #106A, is open Monday-Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, First Fridays 5:00 – 7:00 pm, and by appointment.

Visit for more information.

The SFAC is wheelchair accessible from the back entrance of the Crane Centre.
Please notify in advance for any accommodations.

Please Contact:
Angelica Mercado
Communications and Program Coordinator
Sioux Falls Arts Council
605.271.6696 ext. 403

[via SFAC @]


From Arts South Dakota

Dear Friends,

We are happy to report that HB 1206, a bill introduced last month that threatened funding for the Department of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council, has been defeated. The House Taxation Committee received overwhelming opposition from the tourism and arts communities, including many opponents testifying during the committee hearing last week. It was clear to our lawmakers that tourism and the arts are widely supported by South Dakota citizens and are essential to our state’s economy and culture.

Thank you for following this issue so closely and for your local advocacy work. You are part of a dedicated and passionate community in our state. Arts South Dakota will continue to keep you informed of the latest arts news in South Dakota and in Washington, DC.

Arts South Dakota relies on your generous support to do our job. We are a grassroots organization that needs your help to fund operations, such as our recent work in Pierre. Our team was 100% focused on the advocacy efforts related to HB 1206, requiring multiple trips to Pierre and many extra hours of communication. Your gift today carries this mission forward. With your support we will be ready for action. No matter the amount, you are an important part of the team. Please consider supporting Arts South Dakota by clicking the donate button below. We need your help! 

Next we turn to the State Arts Conference, to be held in May, the first in more than 5 years. Watch for more information to be published soon.


Jim Speirs
Executive Director
605.252.5979 ext. 0


by Rollan Wengert, Guest Blogger

Centuries ago, Aristotle discovered the six substances of compelling art. Why art? Sure, Aristotle coined them for drama, but these elements apply to all forms of art. They are the elements that draw us to mediums: movies, music, paintings, speeches, etc. I like to apply them to writing. Like a general contractor wielding raw materials, these elements determine the type of structure we will create, and make it livable, or even more importantly make it enjoyable.

What are the elements and their purposes? How much of each is one to use? That depends on the type of structure we want to create. Continuing with the structure analogy, let’s explore each element’s purpose.

Plot (The frame and the foundation)

Some buildings have an elaborate frame segmenting various types of rooms, some are minimal and more open. The same goes for the plot. In a story, plot determines where everything goes. Plot-focused works are like an office building. Plot points are rigid. They need to be placed in proper order (not necessarily chronological) to keep a story compelling. Mystery and Thrillers tend to be heavily plot-centric. Other element-focused works may be more like a studio apartment (or a tee-pee). Even then, if the sequence of events flow illogically or dully, it can kill a story. Even static visual arts carry a plot or tell a story. Well placed elements draw focus to particular plots and helps move an audience through the piece in order to absorb the story.

Character (The walls and roof)

Frame, walls, and roof are the essentials of a building. They are enough to protect us from the elements. (Not enough to make us want to live there.) Add walls and a roof, then a house looks like a house. Likewise, add characters to a story, then you have the elements to drive a plot. I mean, how can you have conflict without characters conflicting. But, character is more than a driving force for the plot. It’s a work’s personality. It’s an audience’s means of injecting themselves into the medium. We want someone (or something, people aren’t the only ones with personality) to identify with. Dramas and comedies are often character-centered.

Diction (Wiring and Plumbing)

A structure’s wiring and plumbing work out of sight, as does diction (sort of: depending on its purpose and how well it’s done). An oversimplified definition of diction: word choice. The purpose of diction is choosing and organizing words in a manner that lets people fully understand your message. A connotative understanding. It’s the seeking and straining for the right words to express our thoughts, to get other to feel the way we what them to.  We do this primarily via grammar and voice. Grammar, eh, following those universal rules that the masses have agreed to adhere to. Voice adds the shades of meaning that enable an audience to get inside the artist’s head to understand them deeper.  And, diction’s function is not to draw attention to itself.

Music (Décor)

Nothing invokes certain moods in a house more than the décor. The color of paint, the plushness of the furniture, the fabric of the curtains. Décor creates an atmosphere, as does music in art. Music, however, is not solely our denotative understanding of the word. In Aristotle’s understanding, it is the overall flow and rhythm of a work. In painting it is the length and shape of the strokes. In writing, it can be word choice according to the way words sound or flow. Sentence and paragraph lengths. I sometimes find diction and music butting heads. One word describes something better, while the other word sounds prettier, or harsher, or more monotone (all depending on the mood I’m going for). A great book that explores the elements of Music and Diction is Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale.

Theme (The Family)

Yes. A house is still a house even if no one lives there, but it is pointless. And, a story is a story, even if it doesn’t have a theme. Themes are what we have to say. What we want others to learn. What we want our audience to think about. I don’t know how many struggle with what they want to say, but I struggle with how to express my themes. I could go right out and say, “I believe you should…” But, compelling art gets people, even those who rabidly disagree, to ponder themes. The more radical the theme, the harder it is make our expression of it compelling.

Spectacle (Wow Factor)

A flashy car pulls into the garage, an infinity pool whooshes in the back yard, and marble counter tops make even spoiled fruit look tempting; these all get the neighbors to drop their jaws. But, they are not necessary. Aristotle said spectacle was the least important of the 6. Although, many modern-day action flicks start with spectacle and then build the other elements around it. Well… Who doesn’t love a good explosion? So, what is spectacle? Anything that makes us say, “Whoa, that was cool.” In writing, it might be a detailed fight scene…or a graphic scene…maybe, it’s a good gimmick.

And, while I understand that these elements are the keys to compelling art, the implementation of each is a subjective wilderness. Are there any tricks you use in each of these areas? Which is your forte? Let me know.

Author of Caveat Ties, Soul Shocked, and Zaide: Mozart’s Lost Opera, Rollan Wengert spent hours in his room typing stories as a youth. Stories of all kinds. Stories that were never finished. Then, he grew up. Hints flowed, that maybe, he ought to choose a ‘realistic’ career path. So, he did what any confused teen would do: joined the army. Four Army and another four college years later, he began writing again.
Contact Rollan at

for Sioux Falls Artists