The South Dakota Arts & Education Conference, the first-ever major arts and education conference in western South Dakota, will be held Oct. 5-6 at Black Hills State University in Spearfish. More than 130 people are expected to attend.
The conference will bring together artists in the visual and performing arts, arts educators, educators in all disciplines, and community members for hands-on workshops, theatrical performances, a keynote address, and an exhibition of artwork by conference participants.
The event is held in conjunction with the South Dakota Arts Education Association (SDAEA) and the South Dakota College Art Association (SDCAA).
Desy Schoenewies, assistant professor of art at BHSU who also serves as conference director, says the conference theme is “Building Community Through the Arts.”
“Our goal for this conference is to equip participants with socially-engaged arts activities so they can lead community-oriented arts projects within their local communities,” says Schoenewies.
Keynote speaker Tyler “Siamese” Read’s experience as a graffiti artist aligns perfectly with that goal. Read has served as the community engagement coordinator for the Rapid City Arts Council for the past five years.
Read’s participation in the development of the now nationally-renowned Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park, and RedCan Jam in Eagle Butte, under the supervision of the Cheyenne River Youth Project, helped him to realize the potential to empower people and communities through graffiti art.
During the conference’s keynote address the morning of Oct. 5, Read will share the story of his unconventional path through the arts: from a manual laborer to a creative community catalyst.
Geared towards educators, each workshop at the conference is noted with an elementary, middle, and/or high school level designation to guide teachers in the best sessions for their needs.
Schoenewies said presenters are coming from far and wide – from Spearfish to Brookings, to Wyoming, Nevada, and Missouri to share their diverse methods of art with others at the conference.
"Attendees will gain the confidence and knowledge to be leaders of the visual arts in their local communities. Hopefully, conference attendees will lead public arts projects in their hometowns and neighborhoods," said Schoenewies.
View the conference schedule at www.BHSU.edu/artsconference