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June 08, 2018 10:00 PM

Sculpting Success In Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls

This year's SculptureWalk celebrates 15 years. Artists from as far as British Columbia to right here in Sioux Falls have invested time, money and talent into making the walk gain international recognition. 

This year, 57 pieces of artwork line the streets of Downtown Sioux Falls for residents and visitors to enjoy. 

In his 8th and Railroad studio, you'll find 30-year-old Cameron Stalheim, pouring his heart and soul into his sculpture. 

"Allowing yourself to be free and true, I think is really important in this day and age,"Stalheim said. 

Coming from an artistic household, Stalheim studied art at the University of South Dakota and left his mark there with something you may find familiar, the coyote statue on campus called "legacy." 

But the starving sculptor is now making his mark in a new place, Downtown Sioux Falls. 

"And so I had this idea to do a sculpture that was really tightly bound in fabric. And then this figure starts to break free from that fabric. His hand is like outreached asking for help," Stalheim said. 

This idea started with a drawing, then a 3D clay model, then enlarged covered in clay and bronzed, before it landed here at the corner of 10th Street and Phillips Avenue. 

"This is the first of three that I would like to do, in which the figure is slowly revealed as he becomes more vulnerable and more free," Stalheim said. 

It's called "Persist". 

"I think that would be the launch of me as a surviving artist. Just like selling that first piece. That first big piece, so we'll see," Stalheim said. 

After a $25,000 investment, Stalheim is a first year SculptureWalk artist making his mark along Phillips Avenue. 

"We've had great sculptures over the years, but as a group, can't beat this year," Executive Director of SculptureWalk Jim Clark said. 

Over the past 15 years, 777 sculptures have been added to the walk.

Clark says while the walk continues to grow, more investment in local art is needed to take it to the next level. 

"It's almost a synergy that's happening. And it's great to be a part of that, because the more buy-in, the more financial support the arts gets, the more we can do," Clark said. 

But until then, Stalheim is doing everything he can to support his dream. 

"I'm a server at a restaurant, and then I also deliver magazines for 605 Magazine. I just do that once a month, it's pretty fun. And then I have an Etsy store, where I sell like little novelty items," Stalheim said.

Despite his sacrifices, he hopes his work sticks as an example for other young artists. 

"You might have to knock on some doors, you might have to jump in some dumpsters, but if this is something you want to do, you can do it too. I'm living proof of that and I think it's a really great place to jumpstart your career, here in Sioux Falls," Stalheim said.

Stalheim's piece is listed for $120,000. He says after a year display at its spot in Phillips Avenue, he has a couple other places in mind where he'd like to showcase. 

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