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.
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.
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.
Meeting Angela was a wonderful experience! I not only enjoyed insight into her work, but made a new friend. I was surprised to discover several pieces of artwork around Sioux Falls, that have left a significant mark on me, are hers. I was delighted to have the chance to chat more in-depth about those subjects with the artist herself.
Before any questions were asked, Angela jumped right into talking about her work.
In 2012, I had a solo exhibition. My work was right outside that really long gallery–that A Gallery–I got to have that gallery during the “Beauty and The Beast show.” I did kind of a reboot of the piece that was on the wall. It was all these little bags of clear perfect water, and they were kind of jewel-like. It was suppose to be like a power plant, that could conduct energy from one end of the wall to the other. The wall was close to 30 feet long. So, I sent all of the energy down to one end and then it gathered with the copper wires connecting all of those. It gathered in a mirror, and I had crocheted some copper wire and put a bunch of stuff around that mirror so that the energy would gather around these little wires and come into that. We set up the lights so that the round mirror would reflect the spot of light down onto the floor. It was hung at a height where most people could see themselves in it, but they could also see other parts of the show around them.
I really liked that idea, but when the opportunity for the “Women at Work” show came up, I’m like ‘you know, I think it should be an installation piece instead of, you know, just an object.’ And so, I put that one up. I put India ink into some of the water bags. So there are some that are clear and beautiful and the light doesn’t really refract, but it’s bent to shine spots on the wall from when the lights hit it. Some of them got a tint, and some of them didn’t. Some of them got a lot of ink so that they were just super black. All of the black is up here on the top of the installation, so some of the lighter stuff is down below, and there’s a spot over here that’s the bright clear water. It’s about water quality and us needing to save that resource and pipelines, and fracking and the fail rate.
You’re probably familiar with the feathers and branches in the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center. So, that’s one of mine that’s in a collection now. As part of a collaboration with Post Pilgrim and the Sioux Falls Design Center, Jennifer White and I did a Final Friday with the chalkboards. As far as I know, the chalkboards are still up. That night there were people leaning up against the wall, and as soon as they walked away I would be over there with the chalk fixing it. I guess I’m just a little bit of a freak that way.
A few steps down the street from the Sioux Falls Design Center is the Shriver’s window. You don’t have to go inside the building to see it, it’s just the corner display window at 11th and Phillips. I’ve got that 18 foot raw canvas laying on the floor. I had that thing along with me from when I went on the camping trip that produced the “sold” pictures on the boards. It was a site in the South Jenny Lake in the shadow of the national park. I rolled the canvas out on my camp site, and I brought a little bit of tobacco. I had worked with tobacco before as a staining drying material, so that ended up being the brown color. I made some bison on the canvas. Then I needed charcoal, so I kind of fished some stuff out of my camp fire. Along with that installation, I had made these tripods out of branches. They were meant to hold the canvas up. When I went to install the thing, I had some engineering issues and it didn’t work. Now, they are kind of a backdrop, or forest to that installation. So you walk up to the window, and you look down to see the piece.
I did a Final Friday that was in conjunction with the PechaKucha. You get 20 images and you get 20 seconds per image. You are presenting whatever ideas, artwork, whatever it is that you do and that you’re passionate about. You share that, and then it goes up on a website. I haven’t had the guts to go listen to mine. I was so busy with Jennifer getting the “Love or Money” show together that I didn’t spend a lot of time preparing the PechaKucha. Anyway, it’s out there on the Net for everybody to see!
MAST (Madison Area Stands Together) is a local group that formed after the presidential election last year. There was a lot of concern about the travel bans, and the Visa issues. I work at Dakota State University, and we’ve got a lot of international students and faculty members, too, who are from all over the world, and they’re suddenly not able to move about and come and do their jobs. Everything was all kind of scary. So, we held a candle light vigil for them, just to let them know that we care and are concerned, too. This group developed out of that sense of helplessness. It recently came up that they need to have a logo. So, I don’t know if this [see below] is going to be their final design, but I proposed it and people seem to be fairly excited about it. It was important that there was this sturdy something. I wanted that awareness with the eyes and everything. Then also, the horns are not being used, but they could be, you know. It’s like this defensible possibility. And black and white is pretty powerful.
You just answered several of my questions there before I could even get to them. I like it–this should be a great time! Are you from Madison?
I’m from southwestern Minnesota. I got out of there as quickly as I possibly could. I went to college in central Minnesota, and then I went to the Twin Cities, and kind of bounced all over the place there. I was a little too distracted, so I went back to UMM–University of Minnesota, Morris–to finish college and I floundered around for another number of years, then I went to graduate school in Lincoln, Nebraska. After that I moved to Vancouver, Washington for 7 or 8 years, and then I moved to South Dakota.
So, was your degree centered around your artwork?
Yes, my masters degree is in sculpture. My undergraduate work was a duel emphasis in sculpture and printmaking. I tried to continue with printmaking in graduate school, but it didn’t work out very well. I had a studio that I loved, but it was in this dumpy old building that they were going to tear down. But it was a good quarter mile from the print studios, so that was kind of tough to get stuff back and forth, and I didn’t have any storage space in the print area. I mean, for graduate students, you just kind of carve out your space. You know, it’s all self directed, and I was busy enough with sculpture.
So then, how long have you been in South Dakota?
2009. So, it’s close to eight and a half years. I’ve been at Dakota State University for eight years, and I started out there with one 3-D Design class, but that wasn’t enough to pay my rent. So, I taught ESL for one semester.
Cool! You’ve been here for a while then. You have your artwork and teach, too?
Yes. I am employed full-time as a lecturer of art at Dakota State University in the digital and arts design department. During the summers, I haven’t done it for a couple of years, but this year I’m working as a part-time naturalist at Lake Herman State Park in Walkers Point Recreational Area. It’s kinda cool. I get the opportunity to come into contact with lots of different kinds of people. You know, especially with the DSU stuff with students, and faculty, and community. I always try to get my students to focus on something that’s outside of the classroom. It’s not just about earning a grade; I mean it’s important stuff, this visual communication. We’ve got so much screen time and everything. I make them do everything analog. They have to cut paper, they have to tear things and make collages.
I’m not too great with technology, so that style is perfect for how my mind works.
Well, I kind of call myself a dinosaur. I have sort of actively resisted–I mean I do the things I’m supposed to do for my job. I just think [technology] is another medium you can work in. Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign; these are digital tools you can use, but you still need to have those basic design skills to make something descent. The MAST design that I made is cut paper. I started with drawing it on paper, and then cutting it out with an exact-o knife. Then I printed out the text that I wanted to have on there. I’m perfectly happy with designing the font, or the typeface, I should say. You have to have a sense of composition. You have to be able to make things communicate what they need to communicate. The digital image manipulation is not the end all of design skills. Yeah, I’m a dinosaur.
You’ve already mentioned different inspirations that you have, do you have more that influence you?
I think it’s vitally important that people connect with nature, and that has been so lacking. It’s like there’s this spiritual deficit, I think; maybe even like a sink hole. We get enough racing around, driving around looking at screens, typing things, you know. If you’re taking notes on a computer, you’re not making the same neural connections you would if you are writing with a pencil on paper, or drawing. You know, you have to have this physical connection with the stuff that you’re learning. It’s not as effective to just type things, and look at it on a screen. So, yes, there’s all this technology that we deal with, it is wonderful. There are things that give lots more efficiency, but do we really keep moving at that pace? It’s making everybody sick. Everybody’s not getting enough movement, enough exercise. It drives me crazy, and I’m in the middle of it, too. When I make something, installation work especially, when I make work I’m really careful about the path of the energy, and the path of the people in that energy. I work my ass off when I have the opportunity to put something up. Humility also has a place here. I’m always unsure about it, but I work as good as I can so that I can offer it as a gift to the people that go and see it. When I say I’ve got this show up and I want you to go see it, that’s like me with a little gift with a bow on it offering this experience, because I want to give that. I think it will do something, it will help somebody, or make them feel a certain way, or give them a moment of peace, or something like that. So, that’s my gift. I realize a lot of times when I’m saying, ‘go see the show’, and doing all that self promotion, it’s not self promotion to make a career for me. It’s that there’s a gift that I want to offer that’s not going to get unwrapped if you don’t go and see it.
Yeah, I like that point…where it’s just two-dimensional, and people just looking at something. I think sometimes people need that three-dimensional installation that’s actually intruding into their space. It’s very important, I agree.
So, it’s more experiential than something you would just look at. I think installation, and sculpture–three-dimensional stuff–has an easier inlet. There’s a lot of paintings out there, but there’s probably not a lot of paintings that will really pull you in and offer you the kind of physical, or emotional, experience that an environment can. That said, I’m not trying to make judgments on things that I don’t respond to.
Now, how can people contact you? Do you have a website?
Facebook is just fine. My profile picture is me kissing a fake bison. I do have a blog site. I call it an images only blog site, but I haven’t done a really good job of keeping up with stuff on that. So, most of the stuff is older. That is a place where they could go and see things.
Can you describe your work, art and everything else, along with who you are in three words, or I should say, in three “sections”?
Art, nature, joy. Those are the things that I seek, and seek to share. I want to add something for people who are stopping themselves because “I can’t draw, I can’t do this, or I can’t do that.” It’s really, really, really important for your heart and soul to just make stuff, and experience stuff. You know, get away from your computer for a little while, and connect with people and connect with nature. Really, really, really important. That’ll make us happier, and it’ll make the world a better place…make it easier to live in.
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!
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.
One of the qualities that I treasure most about my hometown is the tight-knit, supportive community that is downtown Sioux Falls. It seems that when any one of us is in a pickle, another soul is there, without hesitation, to have our backs. This week, my stand-out someone was fellow JAM blogger Kaitlynn Wornson. Kaitlynn stepped in for a couple of hours on First Friday and allowed me to dash off and sell some of my own artwork. So, with much gratitude and no further adieu, I give you a collaborative December First Friday review by Kaitlynn and yours truly.
Is it really November already? Despite the warm weather, a new month has crept up on us and with it has brought a new selection of artwork for the good people of Sioux Falls to feast our eyeballs upon. I’ve extended my review to include not only DTSF First Friday on November 6th, but also Second Friday on November 13th!
This past First Friday held an abundant offering of exhibits, and judging by the packed streets of downtown, you could tell that everyone was trying to enjoy the last fleeting days of summer. Art receptions for the evening included:
August can be a bittersweet month. It’s summer, but school is creeping up in a matter of weeks. We’re wearing shorts and tank tops, but planning an autumn wardrobe. There’s no snow, but it’s so hot and humid that simply taking a shower seems fruitless most days. Thankfully, First Friday comes with beer, wine, snacks, and an intellectual feast of the artistic variety to cool us off as we jump into the end of summer.
Art goes far beyond the paintings on a gallery wall. We use the term ‘art’ to describe everything from Rembrandt to motorcycle maintenance. Likewise, ‘design’ alludes to many different mediums. From the architecture that decorates our downtown streets to the layout on our computer screens and desks on which they sit, design brings ease and aesthetically appealing convenience to our everyday lives.
Located on 11th, just off of the Phillips Avenue main drag, The Sioux Falls Design Center is a space that seeks to shed light on the importance of design in our everyday lives. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Kellen Boice and chat a bit more about the Sioux Falls Design Center.
Jordan: What is the Sioux Falls Design Center’s goal as a space and organization?
Kellen: The Sioux Falls Design Center’s main mission is to inform and engage the public on design in the community they live in. We do the with help from our sponsors by hosting events, where people can come in and learn about design.
J: What are some of the events that the Design Center hosts?
K: The Sioux Falls Design Center is open every First Friday for an evening event. Generally it ties in with our DC Gallery and what we are exhibiting for that month, highlighting one of our SFDC Sponsors.
Throughout each month we may host lectures, panel discussions, workshops, design charrettes, all of which are always free and open to the public. These events can be found on our website calendar and Facebook page.
J: What is going on during the month of June at the Design Center?
Later in the month, on the 22nd from 6:30PM to 8PM, we will host a Design Charrette with Live Well Sioux Falls to come up with some designs for bike racks that will be placed around the city.
We will also be featuring an Emerging Artist in our DC Gallery, Klaire Pearson. Claire is pursuing her MFA at the University of South Dakota and has a very impressive collection called “Feminine Attempts.”
J: How can artists or designers reach out to exhibit at or become involved with the Sioux Falls Design Center?
K: Artists can submit to be one of our emerging artists by downloading an application from our website and send it to email@example.com along with 5 to 8 images of their work. we also are looking for volunteers during events to help with taking photos, arranging chairs, and even drawing on the chalk boards.
Check out more about the Sioux Falls Design Center at www.siouxfallsdesigncenter.org or stop in to 108 West 11th Street in Sioux Falls Monday through Friday between 1PM and 6PM.