ArtCentral: Linking Fences in Spearfish and Beyond

July 4, 2018

Linking Fences in Spearfish and Beyond June

By Elizabeth Freer
Matthews Opera House, ArtCentral Manager

Starting this week, Spearfish will see a few Linking Fences projects start to appear. We are excited to highlight a few of the projects here!

“Crocheting Our Community” is a project developed by Sandra Callies, together with Joel Adams and Rose Marie Ludeman, will be installed on the tennis court fence at Spearfish City Park. Several Spearfish residents are helping to crochet large-scale doilies out of twine.

The design for the project symbolizes how our community cannot stand alone. By connecting with your neighborhoods through our life circuits and adventures, we will be stronger. Come by and see the starting installation on July 5-6. The second phase of installation will take place in early August.

Everyone is invited to participate in “Linking Fences Art Station” which will host a learn-to-crochet event as a part of the July 4th Canyon Acoustic Series at City Park. Stop by and make a quick flower or heart out of twine to take home!

GEAR UP students involved

Students with the South Dakota GEAR UP program (at Black Hills State University), visited The Matthews in mid-June to decorate nearly 100 vinyl records. The Matthews gallery manager, Kirk Hauck, and James Canfield of Binky Studios prepared the vinyl records for students to decorate. The decorated records will be installed at the Spearfish Recreation and Aquatics Center later in July.

Children First students are all over it!

Young students at Children First — Spearfish United Methodist Church– are working on a Linking Fences project as a part of their summer curriculum. The students are studying the galaxy and will be creating their own depiction of the universe. First, the students are learning to weave and then will create the background by weaving strips of black trash bags through the fence in early July. As students learn about the planets, space, the sun and sky, they will create these out of recycled goods to be installed later this summer. Watch for the Linking Fences project to develop as the students learn about our universe!

Lead, SD is getting in on it this year

The Linking Fences project is also spreading past Spearfish this year. Cary Thrall, of Cat Scratch Studios, is actively using art as a tool to engage and connect the Lead community as they design and build a 4-panel fence project at Manuel Brothers Park. The design of the fence is inspired by drawings created by community members, influenced by lessons in Pop Art, and important regional historical figures.

The goal of Linking Fences is to engage the community in a creative project that not only adds visual interest to our town but also uses the fences that typically divide us to forge new connections. Linking Fences offers an opportunity for everyone to express their creativity and make new connections. We are open to a wide (and creative!) definition of “fences.”  We look forward to seeing how creative our communities can be this summer. Contact us by email (see below) or call The Matthews for details on simple ways you could get involved with the project! We will provide a sign and include your project on the roster of fences.

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] if you are interested in volunteering or have suggestions.

Elizabeth Freer, ArtCentral Mgr.

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.”

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