ArtCentral: Art for a New Year

By Elizabeth Freer
Matthews Opera House, ArtCentral Manager

Elizabeth Freer, ArtCentral Mgr.

New Years is a time of celebration, hope, goal setting, and optimism about what can be accomplished in the new year. It is a season of resetting, recalibrating, and maybe even recreating. We make resolutions – to try something new, to learn a new skill, or tackle a daunting project.

The turn of the year is a mark of time when we measure and reflect on the closing year. Was this a good year, a hard year, or a year to celebrate and remember? We reflect and resolve to improve in the coming year.

For ArtCentral, so many exciting things started last year. The year was full of learning, adventure, and community building – with art as our tool. Do you see art or think about creativity differently than you did a year ago?

This next year, we could each try exercising our creativity or participate in an event or activity that stretches our cultural comfort level. Stretching our cultural comfort level could simply mean opting-in to a new-to-you event in the community.

There are so many opportunities to exercise creative curiosity. We have opportunities to recreate how we engage with art and our community. How you ask? ArtCentral is here to help if you are willing to say “YES!”. To start, look for the ArtCentral postcards appearing this month and fill out one or two, or more.

Film Festival

Attend the free four-part “ArtCentral Film Festival: Season One” starting on January 21st. Each of the films is relevant to our community and demonstrates the transformative power of using art as a tool for economic development, practicing resilience, and building awareness. For films and times, look for the Film Festival posters, visit The Matthews website, and watch for listings in “Hills Happenings.” 

RE:Create Community Makerspace

RE:Create is a free community makerspace for the creatively curious and it is taking over the entire Matthews Art Gallery from February 3 – March 24 (Tues-Sat; 10-5). Explore your creativity with recycled and found items. Use materials in the space or bring some of your own. Play with words, sounds, objects, and ideas.

Each week, there will be opportunities to engage with community artists and crafters, and plenty of time to come in, explore, and tinker on your own. It is a space for all ages, not just the kiddos. It is a space for our community.

Join us for “Art Happy Hour” on Tuesday afternoon, literature explorations, Thursday morning coffee, and Saturday morning workshops. Share books through the “Upgraded Little Free Library” (books “upgraded” with a personal recommendation from the sharer).

RE:Create is not just for artists and crafters – it is for you! Visit The Matthews website, send an email, or stop in the Gallery for more detailed information on ways to participate.

ArtCentral has these incredible opportunities that will have something for everyone – even the artistically skeptical. Our community is joining together to make this happen, and all we need is your participation. You may find unexpected opportunities in unexpected places!

Will you make a New Year’s resolution to try something new with us this year?

ArtCentral is a community collaboration, funded by a 2016 Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant, to centralize the arts as an integrated asset for inclusivity, economic development, and outreach in Spearfish. As this is a community-based project, we welcome feedback and suggestions, as well as volunteers. Please contact us by email at[email protected]


Lead by Elizabeth Freer, ArtCentral manager at The Matthews, the project brings together a committee of advocates, artists, and residents working together over two years to create a new model for arts planning and outreach, focusing on the themes of belonging, inclusion, equity, rural connectedness, cultivating creativity, imagining space, and the arts as a community development catalyst.

“I am excited for this opportunity to work in Spearfish with The Matthews on this innovative and important project to advance the arts in our community,” stated Freer. “I encourage local residents who are interested in participating in this process to apply to be a part of the committee.”