Home Art collection Eye on KELOLAND: The artists behind the utility boxes

Eye on KELOLAND: The artists behind the utility boxes


SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – The Sioux Falls art scene continues to expand, especially downtown where works of art are popping up around every corner.

Both downtown Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls Arts Council recently packed 26 utility boxes in artwork created by local artists.

Utility boxes grab the attention of passers-by in downtown Sioux Falls.

“It’s just a really good way to take something that’s kind of this neglected piece of the urban environment and add some life to it, make it something beautiful,” the president said. from DTSF, Joe Batcheller.

26 boxes wrapped in vibrant patterns and colors, locally created works of art.

“All different artwork, of all abilities, from people from all walks of life and it’s just a great way to engage the community and bring beauty to the city center,” Batcheller said.

“A lot of the artists you see on these boxes are not professional artists, it’s people like you and me who wanted to create something and submitted it and ended up on one of these boxes”, Executive of the Sioux Falls Arts Council said director Kellen Boice.

The project is funded through a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York City, with winning artists earning up to $ 600. The Sioux Falls Arts Council received 176 nominations and an eight-person committee selected the winners.

“It wasn’t just based on the illustration, the visual, it was also a lot to do with the story because we had so many submissions so how to sort them out, so it wasn’t just based on the aesthetic that it had a lot to do with the work and the story as a whole, ”said Boice.

One of the 26 art boxes belongs to Hannah Van Steenwyk. She started Hannah V Fine Arts in 2010 and spent the early part of her career trying to master charcoal drawing.

“I actually thought I was not a painter, then I first touched oil painting and loved it, so I do a lot of acrylic oil painting over the course. the last five years, I would say, “Van Steenwyk said.

The paintings are popular among customers. She also thought of the audience when she created her entry for the Art Box competition.

“The art box behind me is actually not my style at all, it was something I was going to do for the sake of showing off some more, I guess just a fun style and something that people can come by and say, oh that’s kinda cute, ”Van Steenwyk said.

This is his take on the One Sioux Falls initiative.

“Whatever your political views, everyone can get along and you can have a good, solid conversation together, including about your profession. If you are a sculptor, painter, poet or whatever you are, ”said Van Steenwyk.

The public can join the conversation by downloading the DTSF digital passport and scanning the QR code on each Art Box.

“They can scan the markers you find on any art box and there will be information about the artist, the name of the art, his biography and a bit of a recording as well,” Batcheller said. .

“Watching these pieces is great, but there are also a lot of stories behind it so if you have the time to check them out it’s really interesting and engaging and it tells a story and it can resonate more than just watching a movie. room while you “drive by or walk,” said Boice.

A few steps from Van Steenwyk’s art box, his latest collection is on display in the downtown library.

“It’s weird (laughs), it’s weird going downstairs, I went to set it up in the library and I said to myself, wait, it’s mine (art box) here (laughs)”, Van Steenwyk said.

The library exhibit features acrylic paintings of women who are a source of inspiration for Van Steenwyk, depicting them with little or no makeup.

“I’m just trying to show men and women that you don’t need to put on a false mask and that you can fully love who you are and appreciate what God has given you,” Van Steenwyk said.

Exhibition is another reason the arts thrive downtown.

“I would say even the whole Sioux Falls area has really grown a lot when it comes to art projects, and I use art loosely because there are all kinds of art forms out there, so yeah, that is. quite interesting, it’s great to watch him grow up, ”said Van Steenwyk.

“We’ve really seen that art has a great ROI, but it’s also a great way to make downtown special, to make Sioux Falls special and Art Box is just the next chapter in this book. “said Batcheller.

If you are planning to visit all 26 art boxes and want to learn more about each piece, click HERE to download the DTSF digital passport.