The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind and Water is a massive public art project underway in the heart of downtown Rapid City that will be part of the community for generations. The project is funded through a partnership between Destination Rapid City and the John T. Vucurevich Foundation.
The 21 large chunks of ancient granite that make up the project were integrated into the original design for Main Street Square, which opened in October 2011. The Square’s landscape architect, Deane Rundell, designated the granite pieces along Main Street the "Badlands Tapestry Garden" and the granite along Sixth Street the "Black Hills Tapestry Garden." A selection committee of arts and community leaders chose stone sculptor Masayuki Nagase to be the project's artist from an international pool of 88 artists. Nagase trained in Japan, is based in Berkeley and has a long career as a stone sculptor and public artist.
The sculptor’s abstract design for the project uses two major visual themes, wind for the Badlands Garden and water for the Black Hills Garden, and explores a vast expanse of the region’s history of continuous and often rapid transformation. Nagase’s design suggests the aspiration of all beings in nature to live in balance and communicates the community’s hopes for the future.
“The design elements are tools, a means, for me to show people the themes of change and the energy of nature which takes us all," Nagase says.
Using traditional stone carving tools, Nagase began work at Main Street Square July 1, 2013. As he carves by hand onsite during the summer months over five years, he’s opening up a conversation about common ground and shared values among community members and visitors.
"The carving of the granite sculpture project at downtown Rapid City's Main Street Square distinguishes Rapid City and South Dakota as home to one of the largest public art projects underway in the United States. This $2 million project is entirely privately funded through a partnership between Destination Rapid City and the John T. Vucurevich Foundation. Each has identified the potential of the granite sculpture project as both an economic development engine for our region and a unique point of community coalescence. I heartily join them in supporting this project." - South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard