Public artwork spices up SD state buildingsA program is appropriated $20,000 each year to buy works of South Dakota artists who submit proposals. Artists have until Aug. 1 to submit proposals for this year’s program.
By: Kristi Eaton, The Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS — From stainless steel sculptures to watercolor, South Dakota artworks are finding homes in state government buildings — and a state-sponsored program is looking for more.
The Art for State Building program was created in 2007 as a way to add artwork from South Dakota artists to the state’s permanent collection. The program is appropriated $20,000 each year to buy works of South Dakota artists who submit proposals. Artists have until Aug. 1 to submit proposals for this year’s program.
Work bought this year will be installed within the Capitol Complex in Pierre, said Michael Pangburn, executive director of the South Dakota Arts Council, which is an office of the South Dakota Department of Tourism.
“The state benefits because it now has beautiful artwork, and artists benefit because their artwork is going to be displayed in highly visible areas,” Pangburn said.
Most of the artwork already on display is two-dimensional, Pangburn said, so the five-member advisory committee that reviews proposals is specifically looking for artists who can contribute three-dimensional pieces this year. Artwork is selected based on the quality of the work; its relevance to South Dakota history, heritage, environment or culture; the artist’s professional experience; and the work’s safety as a public piece of art.
Pangburn said 12 to 15 artists are typically chosen to display their work each year.
The Art for State Building program was spearheaded by sculptor Dale Lamphere of Sturgis. Lamphere, who was president of South Dakotans for the Arts at the time, donated a piece along with four other artists to jumpstart the program with the condition that the Legislature appropriate money each year to sustain it.
Lamphere said it’s important for South Dakota to build a collection of well-maintained work that captures the state’s legacy for the future. Today’s South Dakota’s artist will be the Harvey Dunns and Oscar Howes of tomorrow, he said, referring to two of the most well-known artists from the state.
The public work also draws visitors to the state capitol and other state buildings who are able to experience their own walking tour of South Dakota art, said Tourism Secretary James Hagen.
“We have dozens of tourists stopping in each day to see the State Capitol, and if they can experience a part of our culture, cultural tourism, through the art that’s being displayed in the Capitol, it’s just a win-win all around,” he said.