SFBJ cover story: Growing the arts as an industry in Sioux Falls

Here’s a preview of the Sioux Falls Business Journal cover story for January 13, 2016, about the ways the arts are growing in Sioux Falls, what might be holding them back and the possible ways the arts industry can grow going forward.
You can read the full story here.

Most people would have seen a somewhat drab, empty office building.

When Zach DeBoer looked at the vacant DM&E building downtown, he saw a one-of-a-kind chance to showcase local art.

“It was very sterile, and that was the beauty of it: The sadness and emptiness of the building. So seeing the work in that was kind of fun,” he said.

DeBoer, owner of Exposure Gallery & Studios, makes it his mission to promote local art and culture.

So last weekend, he and more than 50 artists turned the four-story Phillips Avenue building into the two-day Art Maze event – a winding trip for visitors who took in a wide range of artwork and live music.

“This is a big leap forward as far as size and scope and scale of what we can do,” DeBoer said. “It goes back to the whole support of shopping small and supporting local. It’s caught on and spread in Sioux Falls, and the art world has felt that, too.”

The Sioux Falls community – including many businesses – has noticeably increased its support of local art, he said.

Area arts organizations are finding larger audiences and more businesses looking to patronize local artists.

SculptureWalk director Jim Clark said the Arc of Dreams project, which hopes to extend a large sculpture over the Big Sioux River downtown, exceeded its fundraising goal, surpassing $1 million, and a new mark of $1.2 million was set.

Clark hopes the Arc of Dreams will function as a new South Dakota must-see and join SculptureWalk as a city workforce development tool.

“It not only adds beauty and culture to the downtown,” he said. “It adds to the quality of life of residents, visitors and tourists that come to Sioux Falls. It also makes Sioux Falls more attractive to the people we’re trying to attract.”

Sioux Falls has always had a stake in the arts, said Rob Oliver, president of Augustana University.

“Right now, it seems to me, with the size of our community and the energy we have, there’s a significant swell of interest in and support for the arts.”

You can read the full story here.

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