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June 14, 2013 10:00 PM

Exposure Sioux Falls Spotlights New Artists

Sioux Falls, sd

A unique art movement is gaining steam in Downtown Sioux Falls. In just a matter of months, a new non-profit brings artists and art lovers together like never before.

Exposure Sioux Falls offers unprecedented access to 160 up-and-coming artists while giving 100 percent of their proceeds to foster more creativity in the community.

On a busy Friday night, nearly 400 artists and art lovers grab a drink and mingle at Exposure Sioux Falls on Phillips Avenue.

"It's definitely one of the most exciting things I’ve been a part of," Solomon Carlson said.

At the center of the noisy gallery is Carlson's mural. This is only his third attempt at painting, an artist who typically works in charcoal and pencil.

"I wanted to have something that relates to other artists, to myself obviously, and the point is that as kids, we have these very vivid imaginations. I wanted to represent their thoughts, their imaginations, their freedoms," Carlson said.

This kind of attention is nearly unheard of for young artists just starting out in the Sioux Falls area.

"It's just so hard to go somewhere and show your art and for people to see it, it's so hard," Carlson said.

But a group of independent artist is changing that on the busiest streets downtown. 3500 square feet of wall space offered to 160 up-and-coming artists.

It's an idea Chris Reistroffer got while living in London last fall.

"It is so cool," Reistroffer said. "To see other artists get behind it, you can't help but get excited."

"Our goal is to give a venue to those people who aren't getting a look-in," Exposure Gallery Director Zach DeBoer said.

Typically, galleries take up to 60 percent commission when a piece is sold. But at Exposure Sioux Falls, all of the money goes back in the artist's pocket.

"We do that so they can buy better paint brushes, better easels; photographers can buy better cameras, better lenses. It's really designed to incubate small artistic businesses in Sioux Falls."

Without any money coming in, a small group of investors pay for the rent and utilities while sponsors donate to gallery parties like this one.

"People ask all the time, how do you make money; what's your catch" Marketing Director Brian Rand said. "We essentially don't have one. We are doing this to help the art community grow."

Looking ahead, the board of directors plans to expand into dinner theaters to showcase local artists.

But in the meantime, organizers are thrilled the community has captured their vision.

"There is nothing more awesome on nights when we have our galleries, to watch the art disappearing from the wall and we know that is pouring money into our local community, but helping one of the local artists be known," Rand said

And one of Carlson's pieces is walking out the door with a fan, an opportunity he wouldn't have without the non-profit's help.

"So today was a pretty good day, obviously, to make some money for art," Carlson said. "Obviously I am going to give them some money because they helped me so that's kind of the way it worked."

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