By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

A visual art exhibition on display now in the State Capitol in Pierre might be one of the most important art shows you can see this year—and is a powerful statement about the future of the arts in South Dakota.

It’s the latest Governor’s Student Art Competition Exhibition, currently displayed in the South Dakota Capitol building. The variety, the quality and the vision of the work produced by these young artists—the competition is open to students K-12—is impressive. The subject matter that captured the imaginations of the winners in this year’s competition is widely diverse, and every image is personal and uniquely South Dakotan.

The winning art, selected from a statewide outpouring of great student work, was chosen by ten highly respected professional South Dakota artists representing a panoply of cultural backgrounds and creative media. The judges are people who make a living in South Dakota through creative enterprise—an important reminder to all students that there is a bright future for artists in our state.

The location of this exhibit is almost as important as the art itself. South Dakota not only encourages students to share their art, we proudly display that art in the State Capitol during the busiest season of state government. Our legislators will experience the student works daily as they consider this year’s legislative agenda. It’s a bold reminder to them—and to all of us—of the creativity of the next generation and the importance of maintaining strong arts education programs in schools across the state.

During my visits to Pierre during this year’s legislative session, I have been impressed by the student art and encouraged by the prominence our state has given these works. I urge you to check them out for yourself—Arts Advocacy Day at the Legislature is February 9! To learn more about the events of Arts Advocacy Day, visit

If you can’t make it to Pierre, you can see the winning submissions on the South Dakota Arts Council website at: 

It’s your chance to get a glimpse of South Dakota’s creative future.