The power of public art


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Whether they’re lining the streets or stretching across the Big Sioux River, you don’t have to look too hard to find sculptures in Sioux Falls.

Now you can find new artwork in a central Sioux Falls park.

The bronze feather resting near Downtown Sioux Falls took shape at the hands of sculptor Cameron Stalheim.

The Sioux Falls artist started crafting the piece back in September.

“There’s a lot of different ways you can go about making the original, but with this one I just built it out of clay straight up,” Stalheim said.

Bronze Age Art Casting later turned it into the bronze piece that it is today.

The All Saints Neighborhood Association selected Stalheim to create the work of art for the area.

The association wanted something to sit on a pedestal in Lyon Park that would sustain the winter months and enhance the area.

“We know through research that public art and beautification efforts tend to increase the safety and walkability of neighborhoods,” All Saints Neighborhood Association President Katrina Lehr-McKinney said.

After Stalheim submitted different designs for consideration, the feather became the winner.

“What I like about the feather is it’s part of a collection. The individual feathers are what is created to take flight and I think it’s pretty representational of the All Saints Neighborhood and how they band together as a unit,” Stalheim said.

But there’s a crucial piece to this project that needed to be met: funding.

That’s where the city’s Neighborhood Association Grant Fund came into play.

The city had $50,000 in grant money to hand out among neighborhood associations that applied.

“And what it does for the community, it really gets residents involved with working with one another to do something to enhance and beautify the community. There’s been several projects over the years that have been quite successful,” City of Sioux Falls Neighborhood and Historic Planner Diane de Koeyer said.

All Saints Neighborhood received $17,000 total to bring the project to life.

The piece was installed at its new home at 14th Street and Phillips Avenue on New Year’s Eve.

“When you are looking at creating a place where you want to live and work in, and play in, and feel good about public art is something that can connect all of us,” Lehr-McKinney said.

“With SculptureWalk already happening, we are a city of sculpture; we are a city of art, and I think it’s important to keep pushing that to allow people to have those experiences and to be able to have conversations outside of our own individual lives. Something that can sort of unite us; bring us together as a community. I think art has the power to do that,” Stalheim said.

The neighborhood association has donated the sculpture to the city.

de Koeyer says there will be $50,000 available in grant money again this year.

The applications should open up on February 1, 2020.

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