A broad-based committee of local arts and civic leaders worked to select an artist over the course of a year beginning in late 2011 with support from Rapid City Arts Council, Destination Rapid City and project manager Wyss Associates, Inc.
The selection process followed best practices for public art: After carefully establishing selection criteria which included requirements to depict the region’s flora and fauna and natural and cultural history as well as artistic originality and practical feasibility, the committee widely publicized the project beginning in early 2012. Nearly 100 artists responded from across the world.
The committee narrowed the pool to 15 semifinalists who each submitted conceptual proposals in July 2012. Five internationally distinguished, award-winning finalists were then chosen:
Finalists were invited to Rapid City in August 2012 where they were introduced to the community and intensively toured the Black Hills and Badlands with the selection committee and a panel of experts on regional history and biology. The five finalists were then each given 30 days and $10,000 stipends to develop comprehensive proposals for the Main Street Square granite. The five returned to Rapid City in October 2012 to present their proposals to the selection committee over the course of two days.
The nine-member selection committee’s recommended artist was approved by the boards of the Rapid City Arts Council and Destination Rapid City.