USD Sculpture Walk expanding to downtown
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USD Sculpture Walk expanding to downtown

Downtown Vermillion will get a touch of artistic culture this summer as an extension of the University of South Dakota’s Sculpture Walk brings four sculptures to Main Street.

Dean of the College of Fine Arts Larry Schou saw an opportunity to give recognition to the Arts Department and commemorate the hard work of artists in a way that would also benefit the city after he received positive feedback on the 12 sculptures placed around campus last year.

“My interest was to advance what we have on campus and also help beautify the city,” said Schou, the chair of the city committee and co-chair for the campus committee of the Sculpture Walk.

The sculptures appeared on campus after the Student Government Association asked President James Abbott for Legend, the Coyote statue near the Muenster University Center.

The positive reception led Schou and the committee to extend the opportunity for a sculpture walk to downtown Vermillion.

“It’s working on campus, so why not use that process and see if it will work downtown?” Schou said.

The sculpture “Back Channel” by Dan Perry will be in front of the Edith B. Siergrist Vermillion Public Library. “Passage” by Ivan Schultz will be by Bank of the West. The cement area across from Cafe Brule called the platz will feature the sculpture “Device #2” by Nathan Pierce. The final sculpture will be “Festival of Friends” by the artist named Morin in front of the Whoopti Do Hair Salon, Schou said.

“They’re in good proximity where people will basically see one and know to go to the next one,” Schou said.

Using the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk as a reference, the project in Vermillion will be similarly shaped and follow the same protocol.

“This project is a great collaboration between the Vermillion and Sioux Falls communities,” Schou said.

Senior Stephanie Fischer is looking forward to the Sculpture Walk.

“It gives me something to look at while I’m downtown,” Fischer said.

Fischer said it is great South Dakota is home to such abstract art.

Schou said the project will cost about $22,000 and they still need $2,000. The city of Vermillion allotted $10,000 to start the project, and the rest of the money has come from donations by businesses and owners, as well as a few grants, Schou said.

Each sculpture will be leased for two years, costing $3,000 per sculpture. After two years, the sculptures may be purchased and new ones will be brought in so people can view a variety of sculptures, Schou said..

Sophomore Shea Kister is an art major and thinks art is an important form of communication.

She said she likes to see what others have to offer.

“It is sort of multi-purpose,” Schou said. “It is creative scholarship and research, but it is a piece of beauty that the public can enjoy for a long period of time.”

(Photo: The “Generation Slaps” sculpture sits between the Al Neuharth Building, the University of South Dakota School of Law, and the Beacom Business building. More sculptures will soon be appearing in downtown Vermillion. File Photo / The Volante)