We Need Your Voice Now!


Recently Mayor Paul Ten Haken recommended a full-time arts specialist position be added to the 2023 Budget. If approved this position will work with

multiple city departments, community organizations, neighborhood associations and individuals to create arts and culture policies, manage city art investments, implement procedures, and develop partnerships and financial resources to meet the diverse needs of Sioux Falls residents and visitors.

Although this effort stalled at the last budget hearing, leaders in the arts community are actively developing supporting documents to reapproach City Council in December in hopes that the position will be added within the Planning and Development Services department in 2023.

Please consider joining this effort.

Approaching the City Council with a unified voice is a powerful endorsement of the Mayor’s proposal by either signing on to this petition and/or sending a letter of support for this initiative to kboice@artssiouxfalls.org by Monday, November 14.

Still have more questions? We invite you for your input Wednesday, November 16 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Downtown Public Library Meeting Room A. If you would like to learn more about this effort, please contact a member of the arts advocacy group whose names and contact information are listed below.


Kellen Boice
Executive Director
Sioux Falls Arts Council

Janet Brown, past president/CEO Grantmakers in the Arts/ South Dakotans for the Arts, Arts Task Force Facilitator – janetbrown153@gmail.com

Jim Speirs, Executive Director – Arts SD – jim@artssouthdakota.org

Kellen Boice, Executive Director – Sioux Falls Arts Council – kboice@artssiouxfalls.org

Nancy Halvorson, Executive Director – Levitt at the Falls – nhalverson@levittsiouxfalls.org

Initial Effort

As supporters of the art in Sioux Falls, we are reaching out to you today to find support to include funding in the 2023 Administration Budget to include an Arts Coordinator position. If funded this person would:

  •  provide the specific leadership to develop partnerships and more cohesiveness with arts groups, other city departments as well as citizens and visitors.
  •  provide direction, develop policies, maintain tax dollars investment and be able to seek funding for projects including implementation of the City endorsed cultural plan.

This position is currently supported by among city officials including Mayor Paul TenHaken, Director Jeff Eckhoff and Assistant Director Kevin Smith for Planning and Development Serivces, City of Sioux Falls Arts Task Force, Sioux Falls Visual Arts Commission, Sioux Falls Arts Council, Arts South Dakota and lastly from the artists living in our community and that where you come in.

Here are a few action items you can do to show your support.

  • TODAY –   Please take a moment to reach out to your City Council in support of this position (talking points and email addresses below).
  • SEPT 6 –   Attend the first reading of the budget – 235 W. 10th Street, Sioux Falls.
  • SEPT 13 – Attend the final and passage of budget – 235 W. 10th Street, Sioux Falls.

Thank you for your time and support of this VOICE NOW initiative.


Kellen Boice
Executive Director
Sioux Falls Arts Council

Talking Points

  1. The position, as recommended by the arts task force, is a professional arts administrator. It is not a clerical position. The city would seek someone who understands nonprofit management and finances, facility needs and management, public art preservation and maintenance.  They would also be able to increase funding from outside sources through grants from private foundations and the state and federal government. Sioux Falls is ready and in need of this kind of leadership.
  2. As in all industries, there are politics internally that sometimes prevent partnerships or collaborations. Cultural groups are no different.  This is one of the reasons why a city position is much more effective and efficient than jobbing this out to another arts group.  As Jeff Eckoff said, without great expense, the city can convene and develop policies that promote and encourage collaborations and give attention to the creative sector including individuals and smaller organizations.  Nonprofit arts organization are businesses focused on staying solvent through a sale of a product. They are not service organizations concerned with the values of government such as transparency, equity, effectiveness and efficiency.  They are also not accountable to taxpayers and all citizens. Based on the task force’s work, there is great need for leadership from the city to bring about cohesiveness and collaboration.
  3. Currently, there is no professional arts specialist on staff to deal with requests from cultural groups. The point person is the Mayor and many nonprofit board members have convinced mayors over the years to invest city funds.  There are no policies or procedures to follow. This position would create policies to be followed so that all groups would treated equitably by the City.  A good case study for this is how the City came to purchase the Orpheum Theatre.  Not that owning it is a bad idea, but the process was less that transparent. This position becomes staff for the Mayor and Council to give advice on the soundness of investment in facilities and viability of organizations.
  4. Many cities work with artists during budget hearings have been integrated into all of the areas of the budget that were covered.  Health, hunger and food needs, criminal justice, mental and physical health, public works (their mural/sign program is a good example) and more.  The ability of an arts specialist on staff would make this possible.
  5. As Sioux Falls continues to grow, like other mid-sized cities, the differences in those cities will become minute.  It will come down to the culture of the community, the amenities that younger people insist upon.  Creative individuals, culture and entertainment become a fabric of what makes our city attractive.  Now is the time to push the button on that.

Sioux Falls City Council: 8/8/2022

David Barranco (Southeast District)
Phone: 605-367-8102
Email: David.Barranco@siouxfalls.org

Sarah Cole (At-Large)
Phone: 605-367-8808
Email: Sarah.Cole@siouxfalls.org

Alex Jensen, Vice Chair (At-Large)
Phone: 605-367-6393
Email: AlexJensen@siouxfalls.org

Rich Merkouris (At-Large)
Phone: 605-367-8818
Email: Rich.Merkouris@siouxfalls.org

Greg Neitzert (Northwest District)
Phone: 367-8109
Email: gneitzert@siouxfalls.org

Marshall Selberg (Southwest District)
Phone: 367-8819
Email: mselberg@siouxfalls.org

Curt Soehl  (Central District)
Phone: 367-8110
Email: csoehl@siouxfalls.org

Pat Starr (Northeast District)
Phone: 367-8809
Email: pstarr@siouxfalls.org

(name of council member)

P.O. Box 7402
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-7402


235 W. 10th Street, Sioux Falls.
Mayor Paul TenHaken (presides at Council meetings)