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SD Revives Art Conference After Five-Year Hiatus

In South Dakota, 51 percent say they participate in some form of creative or artistic endeavor. (
In South Dakota, 51 percent say they participate in some form of creative or artistic endeavor. (
May 3, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Key players in South Dakota's creative community will gather in downtown Sioux Falls this weekend for the first statewide arts conference in nearly six years.

Jim Speirs, executive director of Arts South Dakota, says many people don't know that the downtown Sioux Falls SculptureWalk is the largest and most recognized annual public art sculpture exhibit in the country.

"When you think of South Dakota, what is the most iconic image of South Dakota?” he states. “What do people know about our state everywhere in the world? Mount Rushmore. We are most known as a state for a giant piece of art, probably more so than any state would ever be known for art."

The conference will include installation of 87 new pieces for the downtown SculptureWalk.

The conference will take place at the Holiday Inn City Centre Friday and Saturday.

Speirs says the conference will give artists a chance to tell their stories and exchange ideas and information with others involved in South Dakota's broad artistic ecosystem.

"South Dakota is described by some as a small city with really long roads,” he states. “Ha. You know, we're such a small, tight knit community, but yet we're so distant from each other.

“This conference is the chance to have conversations that haven't been had in a long time."

Speirs notes that South Dakota was home to internationally recognized artist Oscar Howe, who helped define the Native American Fine Arts Movement between the 1940s and 1960s.

He says art is important because it expresses universal joy and sorrow.

"You look at our creative cultures in South Dakota, especially the American Indian culture, and just how art is so integral to their way of life, and that's something that has made its mark on our state," he points out.

In addition to art lectures and performances at the conference, downtown Sioux Falls will be host to the Art and Wine Walk and other First Friday events.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD