City approves sculptures to beautify downtown Aberdeen

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 5:42 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - While Main Street in Aberdeen has a lot of history, it also has a lot of new features. Soon, new art will be added to that list.

Earlier this week, the Aberdeen City Council approved a plan from the Aberdeen Downtown Association to add sculptures along main street.

ADA Executive Director Alexa Sheldon said the plan has been in the works for years, but it was never completed.

”The intent was to include a sculpture walk downtown. There were pedestals built with that intention. Right now, they do have flower pots on them. So, they still look beautiful, but we’re ready for some art downtown,” said Sheldon

When stepping into her role back in December, Sheldon said she felt a call to finish the project and add to the beauty of downtown Aberdeen.

”We have had people pioneering downtown Aberdeen for over 20 years, 30 years, who have worked so hard to get us to this point. Being new in my role, I feel the stewardship that it’s really time to step up and make it beautiful here for the people who have been here working hard and for new people moving to Aberdeen as well,” said Sheldon

The first sculpture will come from Sioux Falls artist Steve Bormes. The piece has already been completed, and it will be placed in front of Engels Events.

Now, the ADA is searching for more pieces.

“We have multiple pedestals, and we really don’t have restrictions for who can reach out. We’re totally open, whether it’s a local artist or someone outside of our region,” said Sheldon.

Sheldon said the ADA pays for the sculptures and isn’t particular on what material an artist uses. The agreement with the Aberdeen City Council is that the sculptures cannot be over eight feet tall, and the city manager and city engineer will have final approval on each sculpture.

While Sheldon hopes for a sculpture walk similar to the one in Sioux Falls, she said she’d like it to have a Hub City theme.

”Sioux Falls does a great job with their sculptures and their sculpture walk. We always like to try to make things our own, so we’ll see if there’s a spin we can put on it,” said Sheldon.

The project aligns with a multitude of strategies in the community that aim to further develop downtown. Private developers, like Hub City Downtown, LLC, have invested in remodeling buildings along Main Street to create additional housing, retail and office spaces. The ADA is also pushing to have Main Street turned into a two-way to increase traffic.

More art can only enhance the culture these organizations are striving for.

”The momentum that Aberdeen downtown has right now is ready for things like this, more art, more culture, more music. Demand is high for buildings downtown, and so, we want to make sure that we are matching that with the beautification and caretaking of downtown,” said Sheldon.

Sheldon said the ADA hopes to have an unveiling event for the first sculpture to be put in downtown Aberdeen this summer.