This long-term, $2 million public art project in the heart of Downtown Rapid City, South Dakota, adds even more energy and meaning to a busy public square. Recently an aging concrete parking lot, Main Street Square, home of The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind and Water, is a popular and inviting public venue that overnight became a hub for the Rapid City community when it opened in the fall of 2011.
Like a village green, people from all corners gather at the Square for everything from informal picnics to seasonal festivals to Shakespeare performances. Fountain play in warm weather, ice skating in winter, and year-round entertainment will continue as stone sculptor Masayuki Nagase carves his design into the 21 large pieces of granite that line the Square’s two street sides.
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. The world's largest outdoor sculptures, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial, are within an hour's drive. Rundell 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 20 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.
The artist has developed a design that explores and expresses aspects of the rich natural and cultural history of the Black Hills and Badlands. The main visual themes of his design are based on the natural elements of wind and water. He sees these elements as basic energy and forces of nature that bring and sustain life.
Nagase’s design concept is an ideal fit for Main Street Square. Like the space itself, the concept is a celebration and exploration of common bonds.
"Main Street Square provides an atmosphere to engage multi-generational, multi-cultural and multi-agency art and educational events. The granite sculpture project will provide an unparalleled forum to increase exposure for the arts community for locals and visitors to enjoy."
—Sandy Diegel, Executive Director, John T. Vucurevich Foundation
“Yuki has a subtle but powerful vision for the granite sculpture project that is inclusive of the entire community. Everyone will be able to find their story in Yuki’s work and the sculpture will become part of Rapid City’s legacy for years to come.”
—Dan Senftner, President, Destination Rapid City