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Art Alley Moves To Permit System

Rapid City’s Art Alley is known as a place of free form expression.  Graffiti artists are allowed to paint on the walls of the alley between 6th and 7th streets in the middle of downtown.

But some building owners in the alley have complained and some even called for the alley to be closed to altogether.  In a compromise a new permit system is being set up for artists who want to show off their work in the alley.


For Tyler Read the move to a permit system in Art Alley is not an easy one.   The change comes after a previous attempt to manage Art Alley organically by giving artists free access to paint murals on the alley walls when and how they please.    But this system made some alley building owners unhappy.  Read, who is with the Rapid City Arts Council says this compromise keeps the alley open.

 “And also some of the artists have felt this was kind of the direction to go to protect some of the efforts they’re making in there," says Read.    "Noting in there is permanent.  But, we found that a lot of artists are just backing out now because a day or two days of painting a mural isn’t worth it anymore if it’s disrespected in one hour,” Read says.

Read says a permit system for painting in public spaces has worked in other cities.

“The walls in Venice beach California  are and excellent example of a place that has gone through this transformation survived it in thrived,” says Read.

Read stresses that the permits to pain in art alley are free.  Artists can attain permits through the Rapid City Arts Council at the Dahl.  He says some building owners also require in-person permission before they approve any painting.  Some buildings are excluded from art altogether.

Read says the move also allows the police more clear guidelines on when someone is permitted to paint and when someone isn’t.

A public meeting on the changes in Art Alley is scheduled for April 12th.

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