By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

Last year at this time, most of us were grappling with a holiday season spent in varying degrees of isolation, making connections that mostly involved zoom sessions, virtual concerts and family gatherings around multiple computer screens. We made the best of things, looking forward to a time when we could gather together again in person to celebrate music, drama, color and holiday traditions. 

This year, while we’re not completely out of the woods and a few precautions are still being observed, audiences are gathering to watch Scrooge transform once more, hear exciting new riffs on familiar seasonal songs and check out the work of craftspeople and artists in every discipline. We’re fueling the artistic economy again and coming together to share our cultural connections—and it feels great to be part of that energy and exhilaration.

It may be important to remember the limitations of last year and reflect on just how much better we are today, together. As a performing musician myself, I can tell you there’s no substitute for the feedback of a live audience. The faces of people sharing any of the many holiday arts events this year tell the story—this is how the arts move us and why these creative experiences are so vital to everyone.

Nothing brings us together—and makes us feel good about our shared participation—like attending a performance, enjoying new visual art or making music ourselves. There’s a reason caroling groups come together every year—we’re warmed by the fellowship, the music and the traditions that bind us. When you add the many creative gifts we share—homemade and handmade, reflecting the work of our local artists—you can literally see the threads that weave us together and make us better.

A year apart can really illustrate the power of community as we enjoy all the sights, sounds and sensations that define this season—and make us look forward even more to arts experiences in the year ahead.

To connect to live arts across our state, check out the calendar pages at Arts South Dakota by visiting