Sioux Falls Arts Council Unveils 2017-18 Action Plan

Sioux Falls, S.D. –Three months after a new Executive Director took the helm of the Sioux Falls Arts Council, it has laid out an action plan charting a fresh course for the organization.

This plan distinguishes it as an entity that specializes in arts coordination and public accessibility rather than a programming entity that creates arts experiences from scratch.

This role is consistent with nationally recognized models for mid-size city arts councils such as Cambridge, MA and Asheville, NC which Executive Director Kara Dirkson says Sioux Falls is ready for. “Gone are the days when the arts council is needed to create arts experiences for residents; today our city is full of artistic and cultural vibrancy. Our proverbial arts train is moving–it’s time for the Sioux Falls Arts Council to help lay the tracks and get the public on board.”

The Arts Council’s action plan emphasizes eliminating barriers to the arts for community members, facilitating communication within the arts and cultural community, assisting and sponsoring other arts organizations and, down the road, coordinating a community-wide celebratory arts event that generates tourism and related economic traffic for Sioux Falls.

First on the action plan is the creation of the SFAC Consortium which will be made up of three groups of stakeholders from the arts community: representatives from small to mid-size arts organizations and businesses, individual artists and larger anchor arts organizations.

“Our community is full of wonderful opportunities to experience arts and culture,” says Sioux Falls Arts Council Board President Sandra Pay. “However, the arts community lacks a collective voice that would empower it to sit at the table with civic and business organizations, and with the City of Sioux Falls. We hope to provide that.”

The Arts Council’s action plan is rooted in Sioux Falls Imagined: A Cultural Plan for a Vibrant and Prosperous City, the community’s formal Cultural Plan, adopted on July 1, 2014 by the City Council. The Sioux Falls Arts Council is responsible for implementing this long-term plan which is a blueprint for economically and culturally growing our community through the arts.

“The Sioux Falls Arts Council exists to serve our entire community through support of the arts,” Dirkson says, “we need to start by organizing and coordinating the arts community so we can make that happen.”

Visit for more information on the SFAC’s action plan and the Cultural Plan.

Contact: Sioux Falls Arts Council
Sonia Hernandez, Communications and Program Coordinator
605.271.6696 ext. 403
Kara Dirkson, Executive Director

Arc of Dreams: Helping the sculpture come to life

Building a sculpture that will stand approximately 70 feet tall with 150 foot-wide arches is no easy task alone.

Dale Lamphere is building the Arc of Dreams with two welders, Andy Roltgen and Grant Standard, in his studio outside of Sturgis.

“‘You can’t rush fine art,’ that’s a quote we use up here often,” Roltgen said. ” You’ve got to give it your all, you’ve got to put everything you’ve got into it.”

“It’s precision work for sure,” Standard said. “It can be really challenging at times, but also really rewarding.”

The Arc of Dreams will be installed over the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls later this year.

KSFY is proud to be the official media partner of the Arc of Dreams project.

via KSFY. To view more, click here.

An “Artrageous” Night at Brandon Elementary School

The night, officially called “Artrageous” is dedicated to getting students engaged and experimenting with different types of art.

From screen printing to mini paintings and clay creations, they got to try it all.

Brandon graduate turned artist Chuck Bennis says especially in this day in age and political climate getting anyone and everyone engaged in art is extremely important.

“for kids and adults, those that are creative and know how to express themselves are more employable, and they are just all around better people. You know, you think of your friends that are just those creative fun people and we want a whole world of artists!” said Bennis.

via KDLT. To view more, click here.

VAC Artist Advisory Council Call for Applicants

The Visual Arts Center is currently seeking individuals to serve on the VAC Artist Advisory Council.


  •  Provide a consistent opportunity for artists and individuals affiliated with the Visual Arts Center to discuss the needs and interests of the regional visual arts community in relation to the activities of the Washington Pavilion.
  •  Strengthen the relationship between the VAC and the regional art community.
  •  Artists voice assessments, advice, ideas, and interests as they relate to the VAC and thevisual arts community in our region.


  •  The Artist Advisory Council is limited to 12 seats. Artists who participate on the Artist Advisory Council hold a one-year term, with the option to remain on the Council or not.
  •  To apply for a seat on the Artist Advisory Council, the application and a cover letter must be completed and returned to the VAC’s Lead Curator. The Artist Advisory Council will evaluate applications at least once a year, or on an as needed basis. Artists consist of, but are not limited to: faculty or students from local universities, professionals, and emerging to mid-career artists. A diversity of voices from the artistic community of Sioux Falls is desirable.
  •  Council members must commit to attending at least four out of six meetings each year.
  •  The Council selects one to two artists as the Chair(s), who will hold a two year term. The Chair(s) help facilitate the Council meetings and communications. The meeting agendas are created by VAC staff, and include topics relating to the VAC and community artists.
  •  A VAC Board member attends the Artist Advisory Council meetings and an available Council member attends the VAC Board meetings as Liaison.
  •  At the Council’s request, additional invitations can be granted by the VAC Board for the purpose of presenting a concept or suggestion. It is encouraged for the Board Liaison to share the VAC Board’s agendas and minutes.
  •  Council members are eligible to participate in group shows, specifically: The VAC Juried Exhibition, Governor’s Biennial, Arts Night, The University Invitational and other group opportunities. The artists are eligible to submit exhibition proposals to the Visual Arts Center during participation with the Artist Advisory Council. However, solo exhibitions cannot coincide with the member’s active term.

Click here to apply.

SDHSAA Art Show 2017

Shaylee Severson of Washington High School in Sioux Falls discusses how family tradition inspires her. Destiny Ackerman of Hamlin talks about working with a unique medium. And art teacher Cherie Ramsdell, talks about how student Jessica Jaeger prepared herself and her show cow for a portrait that’s “true South Dakota” during this brief visit to the 2017 SDHSAA art show.

via SDPB. To view more, click here.

Why You Should Attend One of Reina Okawa’s Origami Folding Parties

You may remember the waterfall of 1,000 origami cranes greeting you in the spiral staircase of Sioux Falls’ Washington Pavilion. Hung from the towering ceiling, this giant mobile transformed the Pavilion into a whimsical realm of color and texture. The installation was created a few years ago by local artist, Reina Okawa, who worked collaboratively with volunteers to produce the gargantuan work. Continue reading Why You Should Attend One of Reina Okawa’s Origami Folding Parties


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.

for Sioux Falls Artists