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FIRST FRIDAY: AN ARTIST’S PERSPECTIVE BEHIND THE SCENES

September’s First Friday was filled with new experiences and new friendships. I challenged myself this month by doing as many different and exciting things as I could. Having my artwork present in two separate group art shows, while simultaneously displaying quality, was a big part of that challenge. 

My First Friday morning began with appearing on KELOLAND News to chat about the 5th Annual Tallgrass Recovery Art Show at Exposure Gallery, along with artists Betsy Ashworth and Joan Zephier. Personally, this wasn’t a first time being interviewed about my artwork, but it was a first having it air on television. As nerve-wracking as it was to piece together what I’d say to KELO, it was all worth it. Being able to have the chance to speak about a powerfully impacting exhibition is well worth any amount of nerves. I’m so thankful for Joan and everyone involved with the show.

“Here’s something you could do tonight. #Repost @mattholsen
・・・
The 5th Annual Tallgrass Recovery Art Show is tonight from 5-9 at Exposure Gallery. A preview of the amazing pieces coming up on KELOLAND News. #kelonews” -KELOLAND on Instagram.

The most surprising thing was the intense amount of people that showed up just for this healing event. I’m, at times, the type of person that would rather stay home and resist any chance to interact with people. Then there are special times that I’m able to move into a healthier mood that pushes me to meet folks and reach out. The reception was an incredibly eventful first.

A fun, interactive aspect to the exhibit is the People’s Choice Award. Attendees were asked to cast their vote before they left. With the pieces being displayed the entire month of September, I hope you have a chance to stop by to look around.

I enjoy seeing written, story-like pieces beside a visual artwork. It’s even more powerful when the viewer gets a written accompaniment to help lead their thinking, and walk them down a path of interpretation. I like to look for little body cues as viewers take in my work, as well. When someone is reading what I’ve placed before them, and they realize how it fits with everything else they’re seeing, that’s one of my favorite moments. It’s almost like an electric connection is sparked inside their eyes. Witnessing people light up with a specific passion for any artwork is a treat.

At 7:00 p.m. I had to hop, skip, and jump over to Vishnu Bunny Tattoo for the other group show I took part in this month. This show served as an introduction to local artists that the community may not have known about otherwise.

Both Exposure and Third Eye Gallery at Vishnu are constantly brainstorming new topics and themes for artists to submit and present on. Keep your eyes peeled for calls for art. A great resource is our very own Call For Art page on JAM’s website!

I’m not a fan of bland artist statements. I like to give information in a more engaging and fun way. The “theme” of my work displayed at Vishnu is similar to a timeline with missing chunks. So, I decided to make my statement more of a funky story to follow along with. I noticed that during the night, I had to point this fact out to folks. Most of whom I chatted with had never heard of an artist statement that didn’t just state the obvious facts.

For those of you reading who are wondering how to get your work into galleries, just keep going. Connect. Keep pushing. Keep meeting people. Keep working on your art. Keep taking in constructive criticism. Keep positive. What more is there to say?
www.patreon.com/HannahWendt

www.HannahWendt.com

FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: SEPTEMBER

Despite the rain earlier in the day, September’s First Friday was a popular place to be. This month, I visited the events at the Washington Pavilion, Rehfeld’s Gallery, Third Eye Gallery at Vishnu, Exposure Gallery, and the Block Party at 8th and Railroad. Talking to the artists at most of the galleries and learning about their work was a treat! The events were all family friendly and worth a trip downtown to see.

~Rachel

“Cracked Open” the Pavilion

Emily Stokes poses next to one of her pieces.

Introduced by Sarah Odens, the Assistant Curator of the VAC, and Jason Folkerts, the Director of the VAC, Emily Stokes appeared to talk about her new exhibition “Cracked Open.” Stokes was very open about her work and life, while telling the crowd her approach to art and her process. Though the gathering only included 18 people, Stokes embraced the intimate atmosphere and opened the floor to questions. She answered inquiries about printmaking, her storytelling, the process she uses and the inspiration for most of her art.

Stokes’ work in the Contemporary Gallery is a compilation of her box and printmaking work that encompasses her style well. The larger pieces on the wall have a simplicity and brightness to them that immediately attracts the eye. The work featured in the gallery is inspired by the differences between small towns and the contrast of living in different places. She explained that this exhibition is somewhat of a new venture for her, and the box concept in some of the pieces came from a desire to change things up a bit.

“I always think of Monet and his haystacks,” Stokes says. “The boxes became a way to kind of unify ideas.”

This exhibition was the first time for Stokes to see her bright work against a dark wall, an experience she excitedly shared with the audience. “It’s taken me awhile to get comfortable with color,” she said.

Her current project is one similar to the boxes, but branches out into more organically shaped creations. She has also been working with screen printing, though her favorite style is still drawing with a ballpoint pen.

As part of First Friday, the Pavilion had a scavenger hunt for children that included pieces in Stokes’ exhibition. Families came in and out of the gallery throughout the talk, producing a lively atmosphere. The unusually shaped pieces and familiar images are a great opportunity to expose kids to art they will understand.

Every side of Stokes’ art has something to it, and the three-dimensional features keep visitors on their toes throughout the exhibit. With the warm colors and farm life images, Stokes has produced a relatable and inspiring exhibition. Director Jason Folkerts said it best: “[She] does a good job of inheriting the Midwest.”

Also at the Pavilion is the “Above the Fold” exhibit with featured origami from nine artists. This exhibit is amazing and has some larger than life pieces that will delight children and adults alike!

Karen Kinder at Rehfeld’s Gallery

Karen Kinder poses next to her favorite animal: sheep.

Walking into Rehfeld’s I was greeted immediately by the new owner, Matt Jorgenson. He was exceptionally polite and helpful in my search for Karen Kinder, the artist of the reception at the gallery that night. The gallery itself was very open and the floor plan well-suited to the foot traffic of a busy First Friday reception. With over 30 artists’ work on display, I was worried I would not be able to identify Kinder’s work. Boy was I wrong! The gallery had set her pieces centrally, and my eyes were drawn immediately to her work.

While walking through the gallery, there was a noticeably different feel from the modern vibe of the Contemporary Gallery at the Pavilion. Rehfeld’s had a warmer and more at-home feel to it. There were children about from the moment I walked in, but much more subdued than the ones at the scavenger hunt. Kinder’s work added to this calmer vibe,  featuring farm and field landscapes with sheep and cattle.

Kinder had many friends and acquaintances visiting with her throughout my time at the gallery. When I finally got a chance to talk to her, the explanations of her work were as warm as the paintings themselves. “Color is just fun!” She said.

Kinder loves color, especially purple, and contrast is extremely important in her work. She also explained that sheep are her favorite animal to paint, though she appreciates the “angularity” of cows as well.

Kinder’s work is well worth a trip to Rehfeld’s, and a great fit for the family or date night. The warmth and farm-grown feel of her oil paintings are inviting and capture the essence of farm life in South Dakota.

Shiny, Happy People at Vishnu Bunny/Third Eye Gallery

Anna Glenski, Morgan Bentley, Hannah Wendt, Dustin Marie, Tyler Breske, Trista White Dove, and The Art of Lemmons were featured in Third Eye Gallery’s latest show. Unfortunately, I did not stay long enough to hear the music from Bodega Sushi and Granola featured that night. The artists put together an amazing array of art in different mediums. The work on display included everything from sculpture to charcoal drawings on newsprint.

The artwork in this gallery presented a different side to modern art that the previous exhibitions influenced by farm life could not achieve. The neons and saturated colors of pop culture icons filled the walls of the galleries, and mixed media pieces with global influence found their place there as well. Though the exhibition was listed as a family event, there were a few pieces present that included nudity or more adult themes that some families might want to avoid.

While many artists presented more abstract concepts, common themes throughout the exhibition were human forms, or parts of them, and pop culture references like Pokémon and the Joker. Along with the many brightly colored pieces, there were quite a few black and white or monochromatic pieces, as well. Some artists had a theme while others simply displayed a selection of their varying works. The variety of work displayed was a refreshing change of pace from the previous galleries I visited, though each gallery had its own charms.

Bonus Feature! Our own Hannah Wendt was featured at this exhibition. She also had work at my next stop–the 5th Annual Tallgrass Recovery Art Show.

Tallgrass 5th Annual Recovery Art Show

The last gallery stop on my First Friday tour was the busiest yet. Held at Exposure Gallery, the Tallgrass Recovery Art Show features the artwork of people who have been affected by addiction. On Facebook the gallery said, “Art is a medium for healing and we’re happy that we can help bring attention to the work that Tallgrass does each year in a small way.”

This show featured paintings, sculptures, and a few found-art style pieces. Most notable in the two room show were the larger-than-life sculpture of a man made of branches, and the fabric draped painted sign. A voting box sat next to the entryway of the gallery, and several visitors stopped to voice their opinion during my time at the show.

Many of the paintings featured words, quotes or the artist’s own thoughts on addiction. Another common motif throughout the show contrasted bright color with black and white or shades of gray. Subjects for the paintings and sculpture ranged from abstract to depictions of people. Though touching is not allowed, many pieces in the show make you want to reach out and feel their different textures and layers. This sort of tactile yearning was a unique experience among the gallery shows that night.

Some of the art in this show may be disturbing to younger audiences, but overall I would consider it family friendly. The pieces came from artists of different age ranges, and the perspectives were as varied as the artists themselves. The pieces in the show draw the audiences in, and simultaneously push them away. This show truly encompasses the different sides of addiction and recovery for an audience who may not have experience with the situation.

I ended the night at the 8th and Railroad Block Party. I didn’t stay long, but it was busy and the music was interesting! The band I heard was a blues group that included a didgeridoo and harmonica in their songs. First Friday was a hit, and there are lots of great new art shows to go see this month. I highly recommend all of the places I stopped at!

FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: AUGUST

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.

Photographs by Hannah Wendt

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.

Something that caught my eye inside Rehfeld‘s was a poster for the upcoming IPSO Gallery reception with Marc Wagner and Amy Jarding on August 11. I couldn’t resist taking a quick photo of the advertisement art. See you there!

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.

Photographs by Hannah Wendt

 

 

FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: JULY

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.
Hannah
 
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.
-Pat

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
Derek Meier
Image via Vishnu Bunny on Facebook
Solomon Carlson
Image via Vishnu Bunny on Facebook


CHAD NELSON AND TRAVIS HINTON @ REHFELD’S
Travis Hinton is a ceramicist. Chad Nelson, a printmaker.

MELANIE RATZLAFF @ SIOUX FALLS ARTS COUNCIL
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.
Melanie Ratzlaff
Image via Sioux Falls Arts Council website

FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: JUNE

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!

Happy 2nd birthday, Unglued!

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.

-Hannah

First Friday Review: February 5th, 2016

A rare moment of warmth in the South Dakota winter meant I really didn’t mind wandering around on this First Friday. And mild weather came with a mild schedule. I had plenty of time to linger at each place because I got an early start and only had a handful of haunts to hit up. So let me share what I found with you. Continue reading First Friday Review: February 5th, 2016

First Friday Review: September 4th, 2015

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:

Frislie’s First Friday Art in the Alleyway, “Art of Colloquialism” at Eastbank Gallery, “No Deck Pics” at Vishnu Bunny Tattoo’s Third Eye Gallery, “The Annual Recovery Art Show” led by Tallgrass Recovery at Exposure Gallery and Studios, “The Annual Portfolio Show” at Rehfeld’s, as well as DTSF’s Chalk the Walk and the Downtown Block Party on the Eastbank. Whew. Continue reading First Friday Review: September 4th, 2015

June 2015 First Friday Review

Hello, I’m Sharon! I’m filling in here on the JAM blog for the first time to do a Downtown Sioux Falls First Friday review for June 5th. I was able to make it to four different art receptions that evening, but there were many, many more than that going on. The weather was perfect and downtown was absolutely bustling and buzzing with people!
SIOUX FALLS DESIGN CENTER
 unnamed

My first stop was at the Sioux Falls Design Center for Pikachu Night. I mean, PechaKucha Night. PechaKucha isn’t nearly as mysterious as it sounds, though I still can’t pronounce it correctly. It’s a simple presentation format where 20 images are shown, each for 20 seconds, while the speaker talks about the images as they go by.

Pechakucha_sioux_falls_design_center allyson_bousema_prints_and_repeat

I made it just as the second speaker, Allyson Bousema, was starting. It was standing-room only and I could barely get in the door! Allyson was speaking about her new business, Prints & Repeat, a printing company focused on the unique needs of artists.

Continue reading June 2015 First Friday Review

First Friday Review: April 3, 2015

Forget favorite colors or holidays. This printmaker has a favorite day of the month. I’m sure by now you may have guessed, that day is First Friday. A day when the creative souls of our humble midwestern city gather en masse to celebrate one another’s work. And I must say, April showered us with a darn fun Friday.

I began my art seeking adventures at Prairie Berry Winery, where I stumbled upon a themed group exhibition called “The Art of the Colloquialism.” The titles of the works sure didn’t “beat around the bush” in alluding to the communicative theme of the works, with headlines like “Six Ways Till Sunday” by Collette Gesinger and a stunning “Take Five” in oil by Steve Randall.

I then meandered onward to check out the newly missing wall between JAM Art & Supplies and Exposure Gallery & Studios. That’s right folks! These two wonderful supporters of local artists now share one, big Continue reading First Friday Review: April 3, 2015

MARCH 6 – FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW

I started my evening at the Sioux Falls Design Center for their PetchaKutcha Night. With an overflowing crowd settling in at 7PM for the speeches to begin, we were asked for four volunteers from the audience. These brave souls went on to narrate slides that popped up on the screen, each one unknown to the volunteer, and lasting 20 seconds long (coincidently the same amount of time per slide for the awaiting presenters). This activity serves as a warm-up for the room, and also gives the presenters that last boost of confidence; anyone can talk about something for 20 seconds. We can look at this activity in a broader sense, and take this as a lesson in interaction, and a nudge towards the need for open-mindedness. It’s important to keep an inquisitive attitude and a light-hearted approach when participating in community events such as this. Take an interest! Share your voice!

marcwanger

Continue reading MARCH 6 – FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW