A sculpture once again adorns a pedestal at the corner of 14th Street and Phillips Avenue that’s sat empty for more than three years.
Earlier this week, the All Saints Neighborhood Association installed a cast feather sculpture by Sioux Falls artist Cameron Stalheim before formally gifting the piece, valued at more than $17,000, to the city of Sioux Falls.
“We think it’s very important to celebrate the arts in anyway we can, and utilizing public art to celebrate the neighborhood and reflect on that place is a way to do that,” said Katrina Lehr-McKinney, president of the All Saints Neighborhood Association, which borders downtown to the south.
But the story goes beyond just adding art to the elements of Lyons Park and the All Saints Neighborhood.
It was August 2016 when “Effortlessly Buoyant,” a piece depicting the silhouette of a woman leaning forward with an arm raised to the sky, was removed from its base at Lyons Park.
The neighborhood association had the piece on lease from the Sioux Falls SculptureWalk, and was readying to outright purchase it. But it was at that point that it became the first victim in a new city policy prioritizing prudence when it comes to public art.
The upkeep costs of “Effortlessly Buoyant” were deemed too much for the city to deal with in the long run.
“They looked at the piece and discovered it wasn’t built to be in South Dakota year round,” Lehr-McKinney said.
So, the pedestal, which was built along with other improvements to Lyons Park just a couple years before “Effortlessly Buoyant” was taken down, sat empty while the All Saints Neighborhood Association figured out its next step.
In 2019, a neighborhood grant through the city of Sioux Falls came available just as the neighborhood association was readying to launch a fundraising drive to finance the commission of a new piece that would withstand the South Dakota climate.
Lehr-McKinney said a formal dedication for the new sculpture will be held in the coming weeks.
Zach DeBoer, a member of the All Saints Neighborhood Association Board and a leader in the urban cities advocacy movement, said having art at a connection point between the predominately residential neighborhood and downtown makes the area a more inviting place.
“This has all been an effort with the All Saints Neighborhood focused on art, but also walkability,” he said. “It just makes things feel more like a neighborhood, a sense of place.”
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