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Dahl Arts Center Celebrates 40 Years

Courtesy of The Dahl Arts Center.

Mayor Sam Kooiker has proclaimed today as “Dahl Arts Center Day” in Rapid City to commemorate the facility’s 40th anniversary.

“The Dahl” offers the Rapid City community everything from a place to view fine art to somewhere to hold your wedding.

Local banker Art Dahl gave the center that bears his name to Rapid City as a gift in 1974. The Dahl Arts Center is owned by the city and managed by the Rapid City Arts Council.

Credit Courtesy of The Dahl Arts Center.
Rapid City Arts Council executive director Pepper Massey.

The facility was expanded in 2009 when the adjacent building, formerly owned by Montana-Dakota Utilities, was purchased by the city and incorporated into The Dahl. That move more than doubled the arts center’s capacity, says executive director Pepper Massey.

“We put an events center in the middle of it and joined everything all together,” Massey explains. “And the old MDU building is the education complex. It’s also the Bruce H. Lien cultural café where we have our emerging artists weekly performances as well as an emerging artists gallery. All of our classrooms are there. The office suite is upstairs.”

The original Dahl location houses a Children’s Art Gallery, a gift shop, four formal galleries, the events center for musical and theatrical performances and the oil-on-canvas cyclorama mural.

“It was painted by Bernard P. Thomas,” says Massey. “Took him about two years. And it depicts two-hundred years of U.S. economic history. And is the…let’s see…the third of only five known to exist in the United States.”

The Dahl also hosts commemorative events, community outreach, weddings and celebration of life memorials.

Pepper Massey says the goal of The Dahl Arts Center is to continue to be an integral part of Rapid City’s growing arts community.