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5 years of dreams

todayJune 5, 2024 2

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SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — This July marks five years since the dedication of the Arc of Dreams in downtown Sioux Falls.

The Arc has since awed thousands of people who’ve visited the stainless steel sculpture that spans the Big Sioux River.

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“Jim Clark and I were talking one day and I said to Clark, we need to put some art across the river. And he said, well, I already have pieces at 8th and Railroad and I said, no, no, no. I said a piece of art across the river. And he said you’re crazy and I said I’ve been accused of that,” Paul Schiller of Sioux Falls said.

Paul Schiller’s crazy idea years ago eventually became the Arc of Dreams. A stainless steel tribute to those who dream big.

“But also there’s a risk in doing that and that’s why we’ve got that 15-foot gap in the middle of the arc that illustrates the risk one takes when you have an idea, or a dream,” Schiller.

Sturgis sculptor Dale Lamphere created the arc which stretches 285 feet across the Big Sioux River, roughly the length of a football field. It was inspired by a blade of prairie grass. But it took multiple attempts to come up with a design that would withstand the extremes of South Dakota weather.

“The first design looked similar to the St. Louis arch as far as it was enclosed with the stainless steel. Well, that didn’t pass the wind test. The second one, the idea was to fill it with concrete. Well, that would have doubled the price. We didn’t want to do that,” Sculpturewalk Founder Jim Clark said.

The arc was built in Colorado. Installing it along the banks of the Big Sioux during the summer of 2019 proved to be a heavy lift.

“It was actually stressing the crane just lifting all that weight at a distance to get close to the river on its site and there was a big crowd here watching it. We were just holding our fingers crossed and then it got up and it was big applause, because it was quite an accomplishment,” Clark said.

People were quick to embrace the arc. Not just art lovers. But couples stirred by romance.

“The first year, we were hearing a lot about proposals on site, so I thought that was pretty cool,” Clark said.

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The Sculpturewalk committee is finalizing plans to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Arc of Dreams to celebrate its stature as one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of Sioux Falls.

“And in the five years we put up the Arc of Dreams, it has become just a tremendous centerpiece of the city, it’s the place everybody wants to come and get their picture taken and we see celebrities coming through town and they’re posting pictures of the Arc of Dreams on their social media. So it’s really getting recognized not just locally, but I think nationally,” Sculpturewalk board member Jim Mathis said.

As the city prepares to celebrate the arc’s first five years, its permanence in an ever-changing downtown landscape is a lasting reminder of the power of dreams.

“Even though I’ve been involved with the Arc of Dreams since the beginning, I still look at it and I have a sense of awe, there’s that wow factor every time I see it,” Mathis said.

“I think what the arc brings to Sioux Falls is a new awareness that this is a growing prairie center that truly has an interest in supporting the arts. Because arts truly enrich our community,” Schiller said.

More than 270 people donated money to build and install the Arc of Dreams, which speaks to the community support behind the project.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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