Eye On KELOLAND: Right up your alley

Eye on KELOLAND

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Alleys don’t always have the prettiest look or the safest feel. That’s why an effort by the Rapid City Arts Council, business owners, and many different artists, are teaming up to change that perception in downtown Rapid City.

Art Alley began in 2005 when these businesses painted their logos on the building so that delivery trucks could tell them apart. Now it has grown to much more than that.

“Anytime you step out to do something that maybe does have, maybe for a long time, negative connotations and you’re stepping out to have it have positive connotations that’s an educational process,” Stephen Branch, Education Director of Rapid City Arts Council, said.

Street Art consists of graffiti and murals, which you can find in many cities around the world. Some find the idea beautiful and others not so much.

“Initially I was not really in favor of Art Alley because I was a member of the Historic Preservation Commission here in Rapid City and I didn’t like anybody painting on historic buildings here,” Pat Roseland, Board Member of Rapid City Arts Council, said.

Pat Roseland has been a board member for the Rapid City Arts Council for nearly 25 years. When the Arts Council took over the alley, Pat wanted no part in it. Until recently…

“A couple months ago Derek Smith with the Rapid City Arts Council worked with the Rapid City Police Department and Youth Groups in Rapid City and painted the wall down here with the police officer holding the umbrella over a Native American younger lady, when it was raining,” Roseland said.

He saw many people talking, interacting, helping each other to paint this mural.

“Basically it says community and together and I think that that kind of states it all.. And that’s what I like about it right now is that it’s a gathering place where anybody in Rapid City can come,” Roseland said.

Muralist Derek Smith, has helped to paint some of the murals.

“I think it’s a statement, a statement that life continues to flourish that life is always different that it’s never the same and the pictures on the wall depict just that statement and there’s a lot of energy that goes into each mural, each painting, each project that happens down here,” Derek Smith, muralist, said.

You can usually find people visiting the alley and taking pictures of the murals that are always changing.

“I feel wholeheartedly when I say that people that are walking down here in Art Alley, even their presence in Art Alley adds to it. They probably don’t see it like that but I think that it does. It adds to it and it gives it the light that Art Alley has, so they are an addition to it just by walking down here,” Smith said.

“The connections between those that might have been negative and those that might have been positive.. This is what has transpired when those people determined, ‘we’ve got something here where we need to work through it to have something that’s good and to bring people downtown Rapid City’,” Branch said.

And to provide a place where everyone feels welcome.

“As I get to know what’s going on and feeling a part of it I feel like I’m even more a part of it. I’m not stuck in one spot, I’m meandering and getting to know other people that are doing certain types of art that I wouldn’t have been involved in years ago, but now I am,” Roseland said.

“It’s in my heart that it’s going to be a place where people can continue to come together and not only build up the community but build each other up through the experiences that they share here,” Smith said.

More projects at Art Alley are in the works. To stay updated on what’s happening next on their website.

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