Eye on KELOLAND: Home of the Yellow Jackets


SPEARFISH, S.D. (KELO) — A new 20-foot sculpture in Spearfish represents how layers of a community can come together to support art, culture, and education.

This stainless-steel beehive was designed and created by a former student at Black Hills State University, who is also a well-known artist here in South Dakota.

“Back in the late 60s, I attended Black Hills State for a couple of years. So, I have watched with real interest as the university has grown, and tremendous progress and development in terms of infrastructure and student body and programs, so I was really pleased when they contacted me and I had an opportunity to do sculptural work for the university,” Lamphere said.

This project was a unique one for Dale Lamphere… He created the sculpture as a representation of a hive in honor of the BHSU Yellow Jackets.

“The design came from the idea which is certainly not unique to me but the idea of the home of the Yellow Jackets would be a hive,” Lamphere said.

The sculpture is located right here on Jackson Boulevard on the newly installed roundabout here in Spearfish. You’ll notice ‘The Hive’ while you’re driving to Black Hills State University.

“So, what I’ve done is, what I’ve always done in my career is go back to nature, see the information that I can derive from that. So, I gathered hives and studied the overlapping plains and the linear textures to it and distill that down to what you see in the roundabout today,” Lamphere said.

BHSU president Laurie Nichols hopes the town’s newest addition will catch the eyes of everyone coming through town.

“I think it really shows people who are maybe not from here that hey there is a university in this town, and you are now approaching campus. You are leaving the business district as you drive up the hill on Jackson Boulevard. I think it’s a very visual gateway to the university,” Nichols said.

Nichols hopes the sculpture inspires students, staff, and all members of the college.

“I also hope it says, ‘We are Black Hills State University, and we are really of our university.’ And so, I think it’s able to hold up a whole lot of parts of the university, all of which we are really proud of,” Nicoles said.

“I think it bring a lot of perspective to our school and it helps celebrate that our college is here honestly, and it’s really cool that a student that did and not just a random person that designed it,” Hunter said.

Kaylyn Hunter is a junior this year. She says the sculpture brings out more of the art side of Spearfish.

“Spearfish is beautiful, I think we need more of it,” Hunter said.

“I think overall, public art brings a certain sense of cultural awareness to a place, and it adds an element of uniqueness to the community of Spearfish,” Baum said.

Assistant professor in the Art Department, Michael Baum, says “The Hive” demonstrates that art does play in a role in the community.

“And I think that’s great any time a work of art brings conversation into the public and certainly with students on campus as well,” Baum said.

The hope is that this one-of-a-kind piece creates conversations, inspiration, and a sense of community for generations to come.

The BHSU President says without support from the City of Spearfish, Dale Lamphere, and the university, creating “The Hive” would not be possible.

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