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The Beginnings

Landscape architect and urban designer Deane Rundell of Rundell Ernstberger Associates incorporated the granite sculpture project into his original plans for Main Street Square partly as a tribute to the tradition of large-scale outdoor sculpture in the Black Hills. He also envisioned the on-site public art project as a point of interest for the community and visitors. Initially, the plan called for the stones to be sculpted one at a time over the years by different artists. The plan changed and a selection committee was formed to choose a sculptor to bring a cohesive design to the granite sculpture project.

When Main Street Square opened in the fall of 2011, it replaced an aging concrete parking lot and instantly gave downtown Rapid City a new heartbeat, drawing hundreds of locals and visitors daily and thousands to special events. The Square is a year-round active public space featuring special events, arts and culture, live concerts, seasonal ice skating and interactive fountains located in the heart of downtown Rapid City. The Shops at Main Street Square surround the Square, offering visitors shopping and dining options.

Twenty-one large pieces of granite, each uniquely and organically shaped, surround the Square on its two street sides, creating a flowing, porous divide between the interior and exterior of the Square. The landscape architect planned for the granite to be arranged in two series: The Black Hills Tapestry Garden along Sixth Street and the Badlands Tapestry Garden along Main Street. The intersection of the series is marked by two 35-foot high spires meant to reflect Rapid City's location at the nexus of the Black Hills and Badlands.

The granite for Main Street Square was supplied by Cold Spring. Their coporate offices are in Cold Spring, Minnesota; they have quarries throughout the United States and Canada. The Black Hills Tapestry stones are varying shades of gray granite called Rockville Beige quarried in Rockville, Minnesota. This stone is coarse grained true granite formed in the Early Proterozoic age, 1,730 million years ago. Its main minerals are quartz, potassium feldspar, plagiclase feldspar and biotite. The Badlands stones are reddish-brown granite called Carnelian quarried in Milbank, South Dakota. It too is true granite formed in the Early Proterozoic age, 2,000 million years ago, and has a similar mineral composition to Rockville Beige. Polished bands and surfaces give each stone color variance. From smooth to rough, these original finishes are: honed, thermal, bush-hammered, and rock-pitched.

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