By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

Look around your community and chances are you’ll discover the arts everywhere this season. Maybe there’s a play at the school, or a choral concert celebrating the holidays. You may find an arts and crafts fair that is an annual tradition or perhaps your community has a South Dakota Arts Council-sponsored artist in the schools, bringing a new and exciting perspective to your students.

Although there may be different people working to make each event or program possible, they are all partners in making their community better through the arts. In fact, we’re all partners. Anyone, anywhere in South Dakota, who buys a ticket to a holiday show, compliments a child on a school art project, sings in a choir, has an original work of art framed for an office, or just tells a neighbor about an upcoming arts event is a partner in advancing the arts in South Dakota. And that’s a partnership to be proud of, because the arts do so much for our state.

1.  Children learn better. Arts education programs in our schools help students acquire knowledge in a variety of effective ways, using the arts to teach other core curricula subjects.

2.  Arts performances bring people to town. Whether it’s an annual festival or a holiday musical, people turn out to see and hear arts activities—and those people spend money while they are in town.

3.  Community pride is boosted. Thriving towns have a wealth of arts activities. Communities that sponsor the arts have something to be proud of—and something to grow each year.

4.  Economic development is served. The arts are the essence of “shopping locally.” Investing in the arts is an investment in your town. A strong creative community attracts and retains business development and the workforce to run those businesses. When we support the arts, we support a stronger economic base for the whole state.

You can be a partner—a vital partner—in building better communities. This is a good time of year to think about how you support the arts in your town. Let’s strengthen our partnership for an even better year in 2019!

For more about the arts in South Dakota, visit and don’t forget to check out the calendar of arts events near you!