By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

The Smithsonian Institution has hosted seven Innoskate festivals, high-powered mashups of music, art and skateboarding, the latest of which was in England. This year the cultural combination comes to South Dakota, kicking off July 5 at Toby Eagle Bull Skatepark in Pine Ridge and moving to the Levitt amphitheater in Sioux Falls July 7-9 for a panoply of artistic activities. 

I’ll be sitting in on part of the fun, as the Smithsonian’s Jazz Masterworks Orchestra performs at the Levitt with the help of local jazz musicians. Professional skaters, Olympic athletes and local skateboard aficionados will be on hand for demonstrations, panel discussions, skating clinics and a variety of arts activities to fire the imaginations of young people and entertain audiences in Pine Ridge and Sioux Falls. The downtown Sioux Falls aspect of Innoskate includes a skateboard art show at Rehfeld’s Gallery and a vendor skater village. 

Innoskate was created by the Smithsonian to explore skate culture’s creative spirit and involve skateboarders in arts events worldwide. The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for Invention and Innovation is partnering with a host of South Dakota art and education organizations for the Pine Ridge and Sioux Falls events, including Arts South Dakota. The principal South Dakota sponsor is the Wokini Initiative of South Dakota State University, a project that supports Native American youth who seek to succeed through higher education.

It’s truly something different, and something South Dakota can be proud of. Bringing together so many people, places and programs around the culture of skateboarding gives us a chance to celebrate how completely the arts touch us all. You can be a part of the fun, whether in Pine Ridge July 5 or during the many events and activities in Sioux Falls July 7-9. The Smithsonian knows how to put on a show, so bring the family! For more information, check out or the program of events at