Even before sculptor Masayuki Nagase began carving Passage of Wind and Water in July, 2013, the project had begun to build cooperation and vibrancy in the Rapid City community.
New partnerships developed: The John T. Vucurevich Foundation, the area’s largest private foundation, and Destination Rapid City, the downtown economic development group, teamed up to fund the $2 million project. That partnership has led to another joint project at the intersection of the arts and economic development. ArtsRapidCity.org is an online hub for information about arts and culture in Rapid City that aims to build a more efficient and equitable future for the arts in our community. ArtsRapidCity.org is being made possible with funding from a Bush Foundation Community Innovation grant.
Through The Sculpture Project, Destination Rapid City also teamed up with the Rapid City Arts Council, first to select the sculptor and next to launch a grant making program for local arts providers to develop collaborative programming related to The Sculpture Project. Sculpture Project Arts Programming Grants are available several times per year to local arts groups and artists to help them develop original programming that promotes the arts, downtown Rapid City and the Sculpture Project. Grants have supported development of an annual Native American arts and culture festival, The Gathering of People, Wind and Water; a cross-artistic creative collaboration with the sculptor, Passage of Wind and Water Arts Collaborative and dual-aligned K-12 curricula written by a local award winning high school teacher, Passage to Schools.
The Sculpture Project underscores the democratic nature of public art and its role as a catalyst for dialogue and connection. Sculptor Masayuki Nagase has met with thousands of community members through design workshops, artist's talks at the work site, and lectures. In the process, The Sculpture Project has sparked productive conversations across demographics about the way the community values art, the complex human history of the area and how to honestly and fairly depict it.
A renaissance is underway in Rapid City arts. The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind and Water joins expanded arts facilities, especially the newly renovated Performing Arts Center, the recently expanded Dahl Arts Center, newly developed Memorial Park Promenade and Legacy Commons, and the well established Journey Museum, in augmenting Rapid City as a rich, accessible and welcoming arts and culture community.