Underground wiring effort provides Rapid City artists new mural space
New mural space has just been opened for Rapid City artists, though you might need a ladder and some courage to get to it. The Rapid City Arts Council and Black Hills Energy partnered to remove the overhead cables that have been in Art Alley since the beginning.
Beyond the extra canvas, there are utility advantages to the decision too. Black Hills Energy general manager of South Dakota operations Michael Pogany said underground wires don’t just remove an eyesore.
“When we underground our electric utilities it hardens our system – it’s more impervious to weather," Pogany said. "South Dakota has some pretty strong winds and some nasty storms, so undergrounding when we can really does improve the reliability of our electric system.”
Artists are itching to break in the new space though. Jacqui Dietrich is the executive director of the RCAS. She said the additional square footage will open creative doors for painters.
“We know how much it means to have a public arts space," Dietrich said. "It may only be one city block, but we believe all public art initiatives deserve stewardship to amplify creativity and respects property ownership. At the Arts Council we’re taking up initiatives to bring creativity back to Art Alley.”
Dietrich said Art Alley, and street art more broadly, embodies artistic accessibility.
“The common idiom to take to the streets has been used for decades to reflect a diplomatic arena for expression," Dietrich said. "Street art has evolved since the 1970’s to encompass any visual art created in public locations – specifically unsanctioned work. Street art begs of us our attention because it aligns with democratic ideals.”
Painting in Art Alley requires a permit, which can be obtained on the Rapid City Arts Council website.