"This truly is amazing," Linda Billars calls to friends, pointing out one of the new sculptures along Phillips Avenue.
"It has a buffalo face on this side and the warrior's face on the other side," she says, walking a circle around "Buffalo Warrior," a sculpture by Lyle Parks at 120 S. Phillips Ave.
The artist used the same shape to portray two different images, depending on where you stand.
Billars, a Sioux Falls real estate agent, was among crowds of people soaking up sunshine on the 80-degree Friday, eating at outdoor cafes, lounging on benches and checking out the latest round of SculptureWalk pieces.
For the second year, work by regional artists is being installed downtown as a yearlong public art display. Workers began at 5:30 a.m. Friday, placing most of the 46 new pieces. The remaining dozen will be installed today. Many are spot welded to metal plates on top of rough quartzite pedestals.
People stop, discuss, study, point, lean closely and even stroke the artwork. That's OK, says Jim Clark, who is spearheading the event for the second year.
"Things went quickly today, getting them in place," Clark says Friday, calling it the climax of a year of planning.
"It is just great to see people enjoying them," he says.
Several sculptures are crowd stoppers. Clark points to a nearby cluster of people taking turns looking at "After Knights Meal Cigar." They laugh out loud at the fat bronze of a dragon smoking a cigar near Stogeez Cigar Lounge, 215 S. Phillips, pointing out the pile of bones and knight's armor on the ground near the belly of the Lee Lenning sculpture.
It is one of two dragons in this year's show. The other is a shiny, large figure called "Cameron's Dragon," on the corner of 13th Street and Phillips Avenue, near Sushi Masa
"Installation is going like clockwork," says Jerry Hauck, a SculptureWalk board member, volunteer installer and co-owner of Craftsman Creek Studios & Gallery.
Most sculptures were placed with volunteer help, although a half-dozen needed to be lifted with a crane, Hauck says.
"My customers tell me they love it," says Sharon Rons, co-owner of John Adam Collection in the 100 block of South Phillips Avenue. "I think it adds culture to the city, gives us more of an artistic flare, more to look at while they're downtown."
Nancy Wahlstrom of Sioux Falls spent her Friday noon hour, on break from nearby First National Bank, walking part of the SculptureWalk route.
"I just saw 'The Shepherd' at 10th and Phillips and 'Rachel Weeping,' and just can't believe how gorgeous they are, how detailed," Wahlstrom says. "It's nice to be able to walk in downtown Sioux Falls and see all this."
"I think all towns should have something like this," says Steve Lemel of Albuquerque, N.M., in town visiting family members. "It's a nice contrast to the old architecture of the buildings."
He and others study closely the nearly 10-foot-tall "Blue Moon II," at the northwest corner of 11th and Phillips.
As Lemel and others walk toward the next sculpture, more people take their place for a close look at the John Henry Peters work in blue-colored wood branches and slats. Many different figures and shapes are incorporated into the design inside the sculpture.
Maps of sculpture names, artists and locations will be in downtown businesses after June 1. They will include ballots for the public to vote on their favorite piece, which will be purchased by the city for permanent display.
"SculptureWalk is a true jewel for the city of Sioux Falls," Billars says, moving on with her friends to the next piece.
Reach reporter Jay Kirschenmann at 331-2312
Second year of artwork being placed Friday, today.
By Jay Kirschenmann
— May 21, 2005
Nebraska artist Sondra Jonson polishes her sculpture "Rachel Weeping" after it was secured to a stand Friday morning along Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls. Jonson is one of 38 artists in this year's SculptureWalk. (Christopher Gannon / Argus Leader)
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