For several months, I have wanted to visit the Museum of Visual Materials for their First Friday art receptions. My first impression was joy when I saw their sidewalk covered in fun chalk doodles. The smell of savory wine and cheese definitely peaked my senses. For someone who has never stepped into the building, I thought that the layout of the space helped me feel welcome to walk about and spark up conversation over the artwork by artist Isz.
Once I noticed my time was rapidly escaping me, I decided to move on to my next destination, the 8th and Railroad Center. Boy, was I surprised to find the chance to ride a mechanical bull!
After the sweet seduction of the delicious food trucks, I wandered into the Eastbank Gallery. They had some fun, new art displayed throughout the space. I can’t help, but take my time to gaze upon these diverse artist’s work.
On my way to the Washington Pavilion, I spotted one of the most artistic paintwork on a vehicle I have ever witnessed. I’d be telling myself lies if I said I wasn’t impressed. To be honest, I’m quite jealous and was considering doing the same to my own car.
As usual, the artists being held at the Pavilion always are enjoyably engaging and ever breathtaking!
A large crowd gathered in the Schultz Gallery for the opening reception of local artist, Anna Youngers.
Right outside Lucky’s stands Steve Bormes‘ sculpture, “School Spirit,” which is part of the Sculpture Walk. I try to take the long way around downtown just to see all of these wonderful sculptures as much as possible, even when driving to work.
There have only been a hand full of times that I’ve seen inside the Rehfeld’s Gallery. For me, each time seems to get richer as I explore the layout of artists.
Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Rehfeld’s is Vishnu Bunny and their Third Eye Gallery. Each month they host different artists, along with a different theme. All I can say is, you’ll want to go check them out!
With the night slipping away, I found myself getting my nightly caffeine crave. What a better situation having the downtown Coffea right next door to Vishnu… Yay, that means more art!
I am someone who is incredibly receptive of my surroundings. That amazing doughnut photograph by Amy really influenced me to go stop by Half Baked Cupcakes for some sweets. To my delight, I was able to see if Sara Bainter had put up any new pieces in their space!
Don’t forget, right outside The Phillips Diner and Woodgrain is usually some outstanding live music! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw crowds of folks gathering around the Dakota Snow truck giving away FREE shaved ice courtesy of National Bank. Cool! (Ha, get it?)
Even though I haven’t always been aware of all that First Friday has to offer, Downtown Sioux Falls continues to grow on me with each venture I take. Plus, I was able to look up into our bright, blue sky and watch some hot air balloons drift around town. Until next time fellows.
The first weekend in July may have set a record downtown. From events, to people traffic, to motorcycles; everywhere you went there was something to enjoy, a crowd of people enjoying it, and virtually nowhere to park. Like most summer weekends, you have to pick and choose what to do, but July First Friday proved to be a roided out rendition of Sophie’s Choice. No matter what you picked, you likely still felt like you were missing out on 10 other things. Some, to be never experienced again, like Art Maze II. It was arguably the busiest of all time that downtown has ever been. A couple of our bloggers caught merely a sliver.
ART MAZE II
With all of the outstanding events occurring Downtown Sioux Falls on July’s first Friday, I certainly hope everyone was able to hop down and enjoy the festivities! One of such events was the Art Maze II, which happened during the First Friday and Saturday. For those two nights, 30+ local artists, including myself and JAM, come together to create an aMAZEing event full of art installations, performances, murals, henna body designs, interactive spaces, lemonade stands for a cause, food trucks, and more!
As you walked through the spaces, you teleported into a world of extraordinary imagination. The truth is, even photographs couldn’t quite capture the excitement one experienced throughout event. For me, being one of the artists and witnessing the transformation of the entire space, I was filled with a surreal sensation. I still am unable to pin just what that feeling was…a pride in my city and its accomplishments, an excitement for everyone involved, watching and engaging with folks throwing confetti in my interactive installation, seeing such happy expressions on their faces. Maybe it was what the possibilities could be for the future…Art Maze III? Perhaps just an all-encompasing, epic feeling. Rock on Sioux Falls.
EASTBANK BLOCK PARTY
As the sun bent behind high-rising buildings, guitar chords jumped out of large rectangular speakers and danced along the open air. Erik Koskinen and his band just began there 2-hour-long set. Erik told timeless tales of American life through the eyes of a hard working, Michigan born man. The concoction of Erik’s folk rock, mixed with the community of the crowd in the art and cultural hub of Sioux Falls, made for the perfect end to an exciting and fun-filled First Friday.
YOU CAN STILL CHECK OUT THESE OTHER NOTABLE ART SHOWS THROUGH THE MONTH OF JULY
CIGARETTE MONEY @ THIRD EYE GALLERY
Visual artist include:
Solomon Carlson – Sioux Falls SD
Derek Meier – Minneapolis MN
Kimberlynn Jo Floren – Sioux Fall SD
Angela Meyer – Minneapolis MN
Melanie Ratzlaff’s artwork includes unconventional materials such as VHS tapes, pop cans, and recycled paper to create artwork that is a contemporary interpretation of her Lakota heritage. In this specific body of work, one will find references to pop culture & female identity. Melanie’s work has made its way to homes in South Dakota, Washington, and Arizona.
Every Friday I have the fortunate schedule of getting off work by 5:00, which for a workaholic like myself, that extra time always poses a problem: what am I to do for the next several hours? Never fear, my friends! Downtown Sioux Falls presented, yet another wonderful evening filled with that spectacular, creative scene.
First up was the 8th and Railroad Center for a “funtastic” time at a block party!
This being my first stop, I arrived as the beginning acts were playing. When I noticed the presence of several food trucks, I wanted to kick myself for eating dinner before coming…darn!
Well, nonetheless, the show must go on even without trying the amazing foods. Right as I had walked into Eastbank Art Gallery, my spirits were lifted to see such a variety of work being displayed! From jewelry, to watercolor paintings and a painted female figure! Boy, and don’t forget the wonderful sculptures, and vibrant paintings of what our beloved, classy Sioux Falls looked in previous times.
As much as I wanted to stay the entire night for the later bands to play, I had to leave the block party to head up Phillips Avenue. To my surprise, there was a band playing right outside Woodgrain! My second destination was Half Baked Cupcakes to check out what new creations artist, Sara Bainter, has allowed us public to behold.
Now, walking south on Phillips, I directed myself to the New New show happening at Vishnu Bunny Tattoo.
Later that night, Angie Hosh (a personal favorite) was scheduled to play, however, I later found that I wouldn’t be able to see them. Luckily, my dear artist friend, Maddee Ophelia, had attended! Yes!
Through my time spent at Vishnu, I saw MANY incredible works. With the walls brimming with art, it was hard for me to pick a few to show closer up. I must say, these pieces by Sasha McDowell and Emilie Nettinga were some of my favorites. So, you’ll just have to make a hop down to check out the rest and decide which speak to you the most!
I enjoy roaming the collections of locally made work for sale at Unglued; it always brings a smile to my face. Good thing I was already smiling because there was a sparkling photo booth to take pictures in for their celebration! Not to mention, Scratchpad Tees had their first experience in its new location for First Friday. To them, I declare a warm summery welcome!
On my way to peak into the local authors signing event, I couldn’t resist stopping to appreciate Steve Bormes sculpture “School Spirit,” which is part of the Sculpture Walk.
The night had gone by fast, so I took a few skips east on 10th Street to Last Stop CD Shop, or more specifically, the Post Pilgrim Gallery.
Another personal favorite is J. White’s work. In addition, there was a large quilted rug placed in the center of the space. The details in these pieces continually blow me away. (Seriously, go check ’em out!)
Not only was there gorgeous visual artwork presented at Post Pilgrim, but the White Wall Sessions were jamming out with their featured artists! You’ve got to love having the chance to look at some inspiring art alongside with the head bobbin’ preforming arts. What fun!
First Friday, you were a great one, once again! See you next time.
ELEMENTS: WORK FROM USD’S SCULPTURE CULTURE by Emma Johnson
Friday, April 14, I had the pleasure of witnessing something that doesn’t happen too often in the art world – an exhibit comprised entirely of student work. The show, titled Elements: work from USD’s Sculpture Culture, featured artworks from both undergraduate and graduate sculpture students at the University of South Dakota. The exciting display highlighted the array of mediums and techniques that USD sculpture students are utilizing in their art making. -Emma
Third year sculpture student Courtney LaVallie’s piece immediately caught my attention as it seemed to be floating in the corner of the room. The work, titled “Unraveling Universe and Her Tears,” appeared as nest of wood strips tangled into an impossible egg shape. Upon closer inspection an opening in the front of the “egg” revealed a web of beaded droplets inside. LaVallie said she is most drawn to sculpture because of its versatility – “I can use any material I want, anything I can find can be made into a piece of art.” LaVallie is primarily interested in processes such as wood carving and metal casting.
In addition to wood working, the exhibit featured pieces of cast iron as well as ceramic works, such as graduate student Amy Fill’s series of porcelain cups titled, “Dynasty”. These ironically elegant forms resemble tin cans covered in soft, rusty orange and blue flowers. “Dynasty” highlights sculpture’s ability to include countless mediums and techniques in order to create a three dimensional piece. Fill works consistently with found-objects, ready-mades, and industrial materials.
A particularly charming piece was Beckett Smith’s “Silhouette”. This one-legged stool defied gravity in the center of the gallery, while its shadow (a thin piece of wood painted black and laid out on the floor) revealed all four legs! This work not only made some great art historical references (Duchamp anyone?), but added a sense of humor and whimsy to the exhibit.
The back gallery at Exposure featured USD student, Leila Ghasempor’s solo show. Ghasempor was the winner of Exposure’s Solo Show award at the annual Stilwell Juried Art Show that occurred this past January. A quick look around the room made it quite evident why Ghasempor received this award. The artist chose to display a series of striking ceramic busts that she created last summer. Each face was carefully twisted and molded into fantastic facial expressions that reveal Ghasempor’s anti-war advocacy. Although her solo show contained only ceramic works, Ghasempor utilizes a number of mediums; one of which is performance. The piece that Ghasempor performed at the opening of her solo show further emphasized the anti-war theme that runs through much of her work.
Students such as Cody Robinson (a senior sculptor) feel that Sculpture Culture is a term used to define the sense of community that sculpture students have formed with one another. Robinson has stated that he enjoys being a part of a group that he can share his ideas with.
The Sculpture Culture show brought to light the sensational student work that all too often remains in the studio as opposed to the gallery. While this group of student artists agree upon the importance of Sculpture Culture, LaVallie has pointed out the importance and necessity of student-led exhibits. LaVallie believes these “are important for students because it gives [them] an opportunity to see [their] work outside of the studio.” Student-led shows also allow young artists to make necessary connections with their audience and other artists working in their community.
APRIL FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW by Hannah Wendt
With the days getting longer and the sunset guiding my footsteps, where do I go on April’s First Friday night? Downtown Sioux Falls!
Taking the hands of my 7-year-old sister and 4-year-old niece, our first destination is one of our top favorite places in Sioux Falls, the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center. March’s First Friday event hosted several new exhibits, so April’s was a continuation of most of the same works. However, twice visited is great for the younger, or the younger at heart, as the building continually offers a fun learning environment.
After our adventure cravings were filled by the Pavilion, we decided to walk (more like skip) across the street to the Sioux Falls Design Center. For the last while, popping into the Design Center to see what they are all about was on one of my priority lists. I led my two companions through the door, and, wowza, I’m glad the three of us stopped in during Free First Friday! They were demonstrating how to complete your own screen printing…with Easter designs on cards! We followed a helpful individual to a table set up with colored card stock, and already prepared screen printing boxes. The process of pulling a squeegee across an ink covered screen onto the paper underneath to produce something entirely new fascinated anyone inexperienced with printing. So, for my little sister and niece, it was the equivalent of finding a treasure chest in a never before discovered cave.
Eight-thirty rolled by, and signs of tiring feet, tiring eyes, and tiring minds appeared. Our First Friday trio called it a night. Moreover, it would be a challenge to contain our excitement for the fun that was set to be had the next morning. We looked forward to exploring new ways of doing origami at JAM Art and Supplies with local artist, Reina Okawa, who will be putting the origami pieces together into a full scale installation at the Washington Pavilion. Oh, what great things Sioux Falls is holding for us in the near future!
ARTability by Tana Zwart
The Sioux Falls Mayor’s Disability Awareness Commission hosted their 7th annual ARTability reception at the Museum of Visual Materials on April First Friday. Roughly 60 local artists with disabilities displayed limitless creativity in a wide range of mediums; even needlepoint and macrame. Melodies from local flautist, Vicki Kerkvliet, provided ambience while over 130 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, and perused the large exhibition.
The transforming and therapeutic nature of art seemed to be a prevalent, collective undertone. One artist noted a drastic evolution in her paintings from when she initially started creating. The angry stark blacks and piercing reds she described of her first works compared to the prominently more colorful, abstract pieces she had displayed that night, was a testament to an internal shift that can come from finding an outlet that fits.
The exhibition was a one-night event, as opposed to previous years where the art hung in the museum for a month prior to the reception. Many of the pieces were available for purchase, with all of the funds going directly back to the artist.
It would be wonderful to see more faces of the art community at next year’s event. Keep it on your radar. I promise, you won’t want to miss it!
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
MISHEARD LANDSCAPES: IPSO Gallery
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.
“Two for Fargo, please.” With tickets safely in my breast pocket, I leave the DTSF office and the Shriver Building to greet the morning’s piercing sky. Smiling, I think about my hopes for tonight: The Museum of Visual Materials for Tara Barney’s interactive art project, the Pavilion for art receptions, and the State Theatre’s showing of Fargo. Fargo. How appropriate; I realize I’m not at all dressed for this cold, so I stuff my hands in my pockets and run the block to the car. Glad I don’t live in Fargo…
With a piece of downtown missing, and in the aftermath of road closures and some temporary business closings, a rescheduled First Friday hoped to draw people back to the area, spread cheer, as well as raise funds for the families affected by the building collapse.
Countless times over the last week people have commented how Sioux Falls is like a small town community in a big city. I can definitely attest to that, as someone who grew up in a town of 1000. The way people show up for each other, give to those in need, and work together is pretty fantastic; living downtown feels like home.
The art community seems to reflect that in ways, as well. So many creative minds work hard to make opportunities for each other, and work together to advocate for local art. It is really growing and developing into an amazing and unique scene. It is exciting to be around, and watch happen.
Seriously. Get out and experience a First Friday, attend some of the excellent events we have year round, and really see the beautiful things that come out of where we live. And as someone who hates winter more than you, don’t let the weather be an excuse.
Support small businesses, support local, support art.
I greatly admire those who love fall. I try really hard to get into the spirit of the season. There are certainly things I can appreciate: the yummy coffee drinks and hot cocoa, the pretty colors of the leaves, and after a difficult few months, a welcomed sense of change. But in all honesty, the shortening days and dropping temperatures get to me. And on a chilly, dark October First Friday, I didn’t venture outside of the Washington Pavilion. Even so, the Pavilion was bursting with life, and lots of new and intriguing exhibits to be explored!
This exhibit was really hard for me to write about. Why? Because it was so intense, deeply intimate, and above all, raw. Part of me even questioned if I should be writing about it at all. Of course, one could argue that all art is deeply intimate. Art is self-expression in the truest sense, so what makes this exhibit any different? Shearing the Shepherd is a vulnerable and truthful portrayal of a man’s grief for the loss of his father. The artist uses audio-visual media to bring his experiences of grief to life in a way that is crude and authentic. Standing and viewing this exhibit, I felt like I was crashing a private wake. As someone who lost a parent at a young age, and recently lost a close grandparent, this art felt deeply familiar to me. This exhibit will be different for everyone who views it because everyone has had different experiences with grief. For me, I was deeply uncomfortable. I felt it in my bones, and I cried. And above all, it was a healing experience for me, to see something that I could relate to so genuinely. No matter how grief has or hasn’t touched your life, I think everyone can get something from visiting this deep, and important exhibit.
Deep Sea Imaginarium by Steve Bormes
Stepping into the Deep Sea Imaginarium by Steve Bormes is like entering a cross between an alien universe, and a child’s fantasy world. Bormes spent two years sculpting 101 alienesque fish from old objects and lights. Light plays an integral part in this exhibit. Multicolored lights set the scene in this underwater world, and the fish themselves glow from within: reds, greens, blues and purples. Of his work, Bormes says, “I combine light with objects born of mid-century engineering to create pieces that celebrate the inventions of the past, and transcend a static presentation of antiques and found objects.” He goes on to add, “Every decision I make as an artist is dictated by light.” Bormes is not simply an artist, though, but a story-teller. For each fish he sculpted, he also created humorously fitting common and scientific names for the “species,” as well as whimsical poems that reveal something about what each species is like. Deep Sea Imaginarium is where art meets the fantastical, the whimsical, the downright weird. It’s marvelous.
Terry Mulkey creates art that is both easy to look at, and rich in meaning. He works layer by layer using abstract forms and simple, limited color to achieve a sense of balance. “Drawing upon impulses both unconscious and calculated,” he says in his artist statement, “I move and alter lines and fields of color, acting and reacting to forms until the composition expresses a state of harmony.” The shapes and colors balance each other out, giving them a feel that is peaceful and almost zen. Even the way that the compositions are arranged in the gallery seems to have been chosen so as to balance the colors and tones on each wall. His works are all very bold in their plainness, yet delicate in their simplicity. They seem almost paradoxical by nature, a true testament to the harmony that Mulkey was able to achieve.
Along with a full slate of new exhibits at the Pavilion, downtown was buzzing with the annual Art and Wine Walk, as well as Sioux Falls Design Week projects.
Apparently, summer happened already. Kids are back to school, and I have seen a few leaves on the ground. I’ve once again declined an invitation to suck at fantasy football, and my gourd-loving friends have already been talking about how excited they are for pumpkin spice season. I prefer to call it fall, and leave my plain, black coffee alone.
I’m pretty positive September has no intention of going any slower, so before it’s suddenly October, here is September’s First Friday Review.
I’ve lived in Sioux Falls for three years now, but this was the first time that anyone in my family had been to a First Friday. While my dad enjoyed a couple of beers outside Stogeez Cigar Lounge, I explored all of the great art. At the end of the evening, we both remarked that we’d never seen so much diversity in Sioux Falls all in one place. It was beautiful to see.