Artist, Justin Fossum of Spearfish

Artist, Justin Fossum of Spearfish

It’s all about STEAM

It’s been a big project.  What started out as a casual conversation at Common Grounds this past July, has turned into a huge, beautiful piece of art.  This is exactly what STEAM is all about — Science | Technology | Engineering | Art | Math.

As part of Spearfish’s The Big Read from January-March, Justin Fossum, age 11, and origami artist extraordinaire, took on a challenge.  Executive director, Sian Young, asked if he would create an origami piece following the theme of our Big Read book, “The Maltese Falcon.” Justin has previously won several awards at The Matthews Winter Art Shows for his origami creations.  We knew he could create something wonderful.  

He didn’t disappoint.  Justin, from Spearfish, started folding falcons…and folding…and folding…

Along with his parents, Reed Fossum and Lana Fischer, they toiled away with the challenge of how to be able to display them all in The Matthews Art Gallery.  Various methods were tried.  Various methods failed.  Eventually, using three aluminum rings, fishing wire, and chains, the structure took hold. 

Justin created almost 600 falcons, about 10″ wide, in three different subtle colors.  Almost at the last moment, it was discovered that the third metal ring wouldn’t work, so he went with two rings.  This cut down on the amount of falcons used for the final piece, around 360.

What’s even better, is that another Spearfish artist, Dick Termes, let us use one of the motors that spins his famous Termespheres.  Now, the inside ring of falcons slowly rotates.  It is spectacular.

Watch it move.

Official Unveiling

At 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 9, in the art gallery, Justin’s work will be officially open to the public.  Saturday is the kick-off for The Big Read, with five other events taking place throughout downtown Spearfish.  



Ava is a rock climber, thank goodness. Her mother was watching her do this.

Justin adjusted each falcon beak before it was hoisted up!  Dad looks on.

Justin adjusted each falcon beak before it was hoisted up! Dad looks on.

Ava's still up there!

Ava’s still up there!

Almost done!

Almost done!

Artist & Parents: Reed Fossum, Justin Fossum, Lana Fischer

Artist & Parents: Reed Fossum, Justin Fossum, Lana Fischer



The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.