SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — 67 brand new handcrafted sculptures will soon be lining the streets of downtown Sioux Falls as the SculptureWalk kicks off its 20th year.
Starting Friday, crews will begin installing the new pieces rain or shine Regan Smith with the Board of Directors said over the phone on Thursday.
“We are having a 20th celebration with the artists and sponsors and community dignitaries,” Smith explained. “Friday and then on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. we are doing a special beer tasting of a beer at Severance Brewing that they made in honor of the event.”
When the SculptureWalk first began in 2003, there were 25 sculptures mostly from regional artists. Now, with more than double the amount of pieces, the art comes from all across the world.
“We have an artist that lives in Canada via the Ukraine… But in the past, we’ve had artists from Italy, Russia, China, Brazil, Africa. So, it has become an international flavor over the years, not just South Dakota or the Midwest,” Smith said.
In addition to more sculptures over the years, Smith said the exhibit has grown further across downtown Sioux Falls with some sculptures along 8th & Railroad and to the west along Main Avenue. With growing development near Sioux Steel and Cherapa Place, Smith expects the SculptureWalk to grow north and to the east in the years to come.
As the exhibit grows, Smith said that it provides residents and visitors of Sioux Falls with a cultural experience as well as entertainment.
“When people visit, they always bring their guests downtown and bring visitors downtown just to see the SculptureWalk, the Arc of Dreams as they’re visiting so it definitely is a something that’s unique to Sioux Falls,” Smith said. “I think we were ahead of it ahead of the game on it. I think a lot of communities are trying to emulate it now but it definitely differentiates Sioux Falls from other downtowns.”
While Smith won’t reveal the details of the sculptures yet, he says this year’s exhibit is the best year yet.
“There’s going to be something for everybody,” Smith said. “You don’t have to be an expert or anything like that. You can go through, find your favorite piece or what appeals to you or what talks speaks to you or what makes you think.”
For Smith, he’s especially excited about a piece from Ukrainian artist Serge Mozhnevsky.
“He had a piece here last year and then offered it up to SculptureWalk to sell, and we reached out to the community, sold it and then took those proceeds to help his village back in the Ukraine,” Smith said.
At the end of each year Smith said many of the pieces end up staying in Sioux Falls as residents, businesses and the city purchase pieces to display either publicly or privately in their homes or at college campuses across the state.
“That’s the reason why these artists are doing this; they want to sell their pieces commission, more work, and things like that,” Smith explained. “And that’s why we want to do a SculptureWalk because if we can do that, it brings high quality artists here helps those artists they’ll keep coming back to Sioux Falls.”
The process to get a piece in the SculptureWalk is competitive with nearly 200 applicants and only 67 open spots. Smith said that a panel of judges from local universities and art enthusiasts blindly judge submissions to determine which pieces will make it.
“It’s up to those jurists. The quality, the appeal, the style, those types of things, and then those scores are compiled,” Smith said.
While this year’s walk will feature close to 30 new artists, Smith explained that they have artists that submit pieces annually to be featured.
“Some have been here, you know, maybe a few years or even all the way back to 20 and you will start to know each artist has their certain little style that’s very distinctive,” Smith explained. “And you’ll say, ‘I recognize this.’ Well, because the artists has had a piece there and it’s similar and so it’s really cool to see that.”