Area residents and visitors to Vermillion have new artwork to contemplate as they stroll through downtown and across the USD campus, thanks to fresh art installations put into place recently.
The new sculpture walks – one located on the USD campus and the other in downtown Vermillion – together feature 12 works by regional, national and international artists. A new sculpture brochure will be available soon, says Larry Schou, professor and dean of the USD College of Fine Arts and chair of the Vermillion Sculpture Walk committee.
USD has offered a sculpture walk since 2013. Downtown Vermillion, meanwhile, joined the sculpture walk movement in 2015. Both walks, which receive financial support from different sources, collaborate together, renting sculptures for two years at a time from the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk program.
The sculptures just put into place in Vermillion and on the USD campus will be here until August, 2021.
Explains Schou: “Twelve sculptures were installed, five downtown Vermillion and seven on the USD campus, on Friday, August 9. The USD sculpture walk committee and the Vermillion sculpture walk committee each made their selections of works from a group of 41 sculptures submitted by artists from around the country. Once both committees made their selections, we notified the people at SculptureWalk Sioux Falls and they organized the delivery to Vermillion of our chosen sculptures. This continues to be an exciting public artwork program for our community. The two-year leasing of the twelve sculptures helps us continue to bring new artwork to Vermillion on a rotational basis.”
This year, many people came together to help put the new sculptures into place.
“It is always an exciting time in early August when the installation day arrives,” says Schou. “This year, we had members of the Vermillion sculpture walk committee and USD art majors to help us with downtown installations. USD facilities management staff helped with the campus installations. We want to thank everyone who was there to help move, lift, and/or place the sculptures. We also want to thank Jim Clark and his group from Sioux Falls who help with all the installations every two years. It is a great partnership between Vermillion and Sioux Falls.”
Vermillion’s Sculpture Walk committee has a budget of approximately $20,000 for its sculptures, which covers leasing each sculpture for $3,000 for the two years, putting new stone plaques at each site that provide the artist’s name, title of the sculpture, and sponsors of the sculpture, installation costs, and more. The Vermillion sculpture walk committee is currently working on a guide to the new sculptures, which will soon be available at various locations throughout Vermillion and at USD.
Viewers of the new artwork will find a lot of diversity in the offerings, he says.
“Every two years we see a wonderful variety in the pieces we have selected to come to Vermillion,” said Schou. “We always try to select a family-friendly piece to be located at the Vermillion library. We select representational pieces that will be recognizable as a person, a dog, a saxophone player, etc. We also like to select some non-representational pieces to challenge the viewer to decide what they think the piece represents. … Public artwork is a wonderful way for the casual viewer to enjoy art as they are traveling around town, and then take some extra time at some point to visit the pieces later for a more in-depth viewing and enjoyment of the many artistic facets of each piece.”
Across the country, public artwork programs like Vermillion’s are becoming more popular, says Schou.
“Several communities in the country have public artwork programs,” he said. “This concept seems to be growing and expanding into many different avenues of outreach. Public artworks may be sculpture walks, may be murals on the sides of buildings, and may be artwork programs for children and families to create art together, amongst many other possibilities. Vermillion has many of these programs now occurring. We have the public sculpture walk and we have several wonderful murals on buildings downtown. The Vermillion Area Arts Council continues its “Many Hands” program, which is also a public artwork program.”
Once printed, sculpture walk brochures will be available at the USD Admissions office, the Office of the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, City Hall, and the Vermillion Chamber and Development Company office.