On December 21, 1981 Bear Butte, located east of Sturgis, South Dakota, was designated as a National Historic Landmark. Bear Butte is one of just over 2,500 National Historic Landmarks across the nation. National Historic Landmarks must be “historic places that possess exceptional value in commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States” and may be buildings, sites, structures objects or districts.
Known as Mato Paha by Lakota people—and as Noahvose by Cheyenne people—the butte is not a butte by definition but is instead the remnant of ancient volcanic activity. Bear Butte sits 1,200 feet above the land that surrounds it, at a total of 4,426 feet above sea level. The result of a volcano that failed to fully erupt, the land feature is also a place of deep significance to a variety of indigenous peoples from the region. The Cheyenne spiritual leader Sweet Medicine is said to have received the basis of Cheyenne spiritual and moral customs on Bear Butte, while Lakota and Dakota people have held various ceremonies there.
By the end of World War II, homesteader Ezra Bovee was the legal landowner of Bear Butte. Early in 1945, Northern Cheyenne individuals requested to hold a ceremony at Bear Butte to pray for the war’s end. Bouvee welcomed their presence and became a steadfast supporter or preserving the butte. Bouvee went so far as to spark interest in making the butte a national park. While the federal government did not show interest in creating a national park, the South Dakota legislature set the area aside as a state park in 1961. Four years later, the butte was designated as National Landmark.
The north wall of the Historic Homestake Opera House is nearing completion, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Workers have finished replacing the understructure for the wall as well as installing new sheetrock and decorative plaster moldings over the original moldings. The total cost for the restoration of the wall is $35,000.
Previous restoration projects at the opera house include updates to the foyer and connecting rooms. Future projects are primarily focused around the theater area itself.
The Historic Homestake Opera House was consumed by a fire in 1984 in which the facility’s roof collapsed. Since the fire, community efforts have helped to raise more than $3 million to renovate the building, including a new roof and seating.
Mayor Steve Allender gave his budget presentation last week, including cuts to arts and volunteer programs. The Rapid City Journal reported on how these cuts would affect three organizations. The Black Hills Area Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) stands to lose all $40,000 of city funding. This would also remove Rapid City as sponsor for the federal grants that provide the rest of RSVP's funding. In 2016, RSVP placed 682 volunteers with nonprofits, providing 155,658 hours of work. Paying workers minimum wage for the same amount of hours would have cost over $1.3 million.
Rapid City contributes $331,500 to the Journey Museum, approximately half of its funding. Museum officials point out that every dollar invested in the museum generates four dollars in revenue for the area. Although the museum had its first profitable year in recent times, the $30,000 cut is two and a half times that profit.
The Allied Arts Fund provides more than $200,000 to music and art groups in the city. Rapid City funds it with $102,000, which Allied Arts then uses to gain matching funds from area businesses. The budget is set to remove $27,000 in funding, more than a quarter of what Allied Arts has been receiving.
Budget meetings are set for Tuesday and Thursday, August 15 and 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the City/School Administration Center, with additional meetings the following Tuesday and Thursday, August 22 and 24, if needed. Past stories on the budget are linked in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
On July 30, a Termesphere created by Spearfish artist Dick Termes was installed on the clocktower at the corner of Hudson and Main Streets in Spearfish, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The 3-foot-diameter Termesphere features local landscapes.
A gear system for the Termesphere turns the orb around for viewers to get a better glance at all of its artwork. The mechanism was created by Jared Capp.
The Great American Book Festival (GABFest) will take place over Labor Day weekend at Main Street Square, reports the Rapid City Journal. Award winning authors from across the country are scheduled to attend. Rapid City Public Library will host free seminars during the event.
Other scheduled activities include a Lit Walk, writer's conference, storytelling, panel discussions, and more. The events will be September 1st and 2nd.
The Spearfish City Council recently approved artistic crosswalk painting at three locations in the city, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The project was requested by Elizabeth Free, ArtCentral Manager at the Matthews Opera House and Art Center, is part of the 2016 Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant. The three locations approved for painting will be used to informally gauge community interest and participation in public art.
The painted crosswalks will be located on Canyon Street near Spearfish City Park, the intersection of Grant and Canyon streets, and on the Black Hills State University campus. The timeline for completion of the crosswalk painting is dependent on the weather, but tentative plans indicate the project will be completed in June.
The second annual Community Innovative Summit was held in Rapid City, reports KOTA TV. The summit gives citizens an opportunity to discuss options that will allow multiple groups to be heard while remaining respectful. The conversations allow exchanging ideas such as ways to allow collaboration between tribal and city leadership.
The Rapid City Community Conversations group works to create a space based on shared values. You can see a complete list of their events on their website.
For more information about arts and culture in the area, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.
In April 1921, South Dakota Attorney General Byron Payne announced his intent to enforce South Dakota’s blue laws. Blue laws, also known as Sunday laws, prohibit certain activities on Sunday, including operation of certain businesses. Attorney General Payne was especially interested in enforcement of the statutes prohibiting “baseball and moving picture shows, and the law which makes the showing of moving pictures suggestive of crime or immorality a misdemeanor,” as reported by the New York Times.
Enforcement was not quite the success Attorney General Payne had in mine. On the first Sunday the blue laws were enforced on Payne’s watch, Rapid City businesses remained compliant as well as most proprietors in Deadwood. Eastern South Dakota was more rambunctious. No effort was made to enforce the laws in Mitchell and the town’s ice cream parlors and movie theaters were reportedly crowded, according to the Times.
Just one month after Attorney General Payne announced his decision to enforce the Sunday laws, the issue bubbled up in a Pierre court. The court decided that movies could be shown on Sundays, as long as the genre was not “tragedy, comedy, farce, negro minstrelsy, sparring contents, or trials of strength.”
The reaction to the enforcement of the Sunday laws are unsurprising given the lackluster support of the proposal when it was enacted. South Dakota had instated its initiated measure and referred law process in 1899. However, it was not utilized until 1908, and the Sunday laws were among the first four citizen-initiated measures on the ballot. South Dakota voters narrowly approved the measure by just 372 votes.
“South Dakota Fails to Enforce Blue Law: No Arrest Reported in State on First Sunday Under New Restrictive Statute,” New York Times, April 4, 1921. Page 15.
“Enforce Blue Laws Today,” South Dakota Officials Will Act Under Attorney General,” New York Times, April 3, 1921. Page 14.
Free painting permits for artists interested in Art Alley as a canvas are now available, reports KOTA News. The permits are available at the Dahl Art Center. Interested artists must provide an ID and sign a waiver in order to receive a permit. With a permit, artists can choose a location to paint in the alley. So far, eight permits have been given out this year.
For more information on arts and culture in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Although a 1984 fire destroyed much of the interior of the Historic Homestake Opera House in Lead, efforts to replace an interior wall are currently moving forward, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Replicas of the original plaster moldings comprise a significant portion of the restoration. A study of the remaining paint on the original wall is being conducted to determine the original color.
Current renovations for the opera house are being financed by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission alongside support from private donations.
The Homestake Opera House was built in 1914 and boasts seating for up to 1,000 people. To learn more about the civic life and history of Lead, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile or online news archive.
Local investors are looking to reopen the movie theater in Hot Springs, reports KOTA News. The theater closed in 2015 when studios stopped releasing film copies of movies in favor of digital releases. At the time, the theater could not take on the expense of upgrading to digital projectors.
The investors purchased a new sound system and digital projectors and anticipate a spring opening for the theater. An art deco façade is also in the works.
To read more news from Hot Springs, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Officials from the South Dakota School of Mines, Black Hills Economic Development Partnership and the Journey Museum met recently to discuss opportunities to include art and medicine in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Program at Rapid City Area Schools. KOTA News reports that Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon believes including medical and arts opportunities would provide more career options for students.
Dr. Simon hopes to see new programming implemented in the next school year. A task force is currently working to develop an outline for the new programs.
To read more news about Rapid City Area Schools, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The GRAMMY Foundation recently awarded the Central High School Music Department with a Signature Schools Community Award in the amount of $2,000, reports KOTA News. A donation from the Hot Topic Foundation contributed to the award.
Central High School’s music program was selected due to its high achievement in music education. The school was one of 421 schools selected by the GRAMMY Foundation for funding. The funding will be used to purchase equipment in order to continue the work already being done in music education.
To learn more about education in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Our featured art exhibit for the months of January and February is a nice assortment of donated prints, plates, paintings and mirrors that we are selling by silent auction. All proceeds benefit the library. Come place your silent bid at the library today.
If you have art pieces in good condition that you would like to donate for this fundraiser, please contact us at 718-3663 or [email protected]
Piedmont Library offers classes in robotocs programming using the Lego Mindstorm EV3 robot for students ages 10 and older on selected Saturday mornings. Quadcopter flying lessons are also offered for ages 8 to adult.
Classes in using Essential Oils are offered during the week. No obligation to purchase any products and the library does not endorse or recommend any products. Purchases and use of any oils are at your own risk.
Call the library at 718-3663 or email [email protected] for more information.
Friends of the Piedmont Library are hosting a big winter book and movie sale January 31 through February 4 during library hours.
Thousands of titles - fiction and non-fiction, adult and children. Suggested donation is $5 a bag. DVDs and audio books $1-$3.
Call 718-3663 for more information
or email [email protected]
Rapid City's new Government Efficiency Committee has started its evaluation of the city's relationship with several organizations. These organizations include one city department, the Rapid City Public Library; the Journey Museum; the Dahl Arts Center; the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which is administered by the Finance Department; and the Humane Society of the Black Hills, reports KOTA News. The committee was proposed by Mayor Allender in August in order to examine the use of city funding and whether or not additional connections can be created between them to facilitate progress.
Further stories on Rapid City Public Library can be found through the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
The Matthews Opera House and Arts Center in Spearfish, South Dakota has received a $200,000 Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation, as reported and South Dakota Public Broadcasting. The grant will be used to create a model in which the arts help address social and economic challenges in small communities.
Executive Director of the Matthews Opera House and Arts Center Sian Young noted that arts are often deemed to be entertainment in smaller cities. She would like to see arts utilized to foster economic development in Spearfish.
To read more about arts and culture in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
For more information on the Bush Foundation’s Community Innovation Grants and other 2016 recipients, visit the foundation’s webpage.
In October 1974, the Dahl Fine Arts Center (now the Dahl Arts Center) opened its doors in Rapid City. Named after and funded by local banker Art Dahl, the facility is managed by the Rapid City Arts Council. The center boasts five art galleries, a children’s gallery, the Cyclorama Mural of American Economic History, a gift shop, and classrooms for various activities and events.
In 2009, the facility expanded when the city purchased the next door building, which previously housed Montana-Dakota Utilities. The expansion nearly tripled the size of the facility and cost $7.8 million dollars, part of which came from Rapid City’s Vision Fund.
In 2014, then Mayor Sam Kooiker declared October 20th as Dahl Arts Day in commemoration of the facility’s 40th anniversary, according to South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
To read more about the Dahl Arts Center, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The Seed, LLC requested $150,000 from the City of Rapid City Life Safety Loan fund reports the Rapid City Journal. The Rapid City Legal & Finance Committee granted the group an $80,000 loan for the new fire suppression system. City staff is currently looking for other funding options because $80,000 was all that was left in the loan fund. The Seed is a shared studio space located at 412 5th Street. The building representative said if additional funds were found, they would apply for another loan. The loan will be paid back at an interest rate of 2% for the first year, with the opportunity for a reduced interest rate if a letter of credit is established.