By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

Every South Dakota community is unique, with a fascinating combination of people and talent—and that is the recipe for a successful local arts council. An arts council in your town can spark entertainment, arts opportunities and community spirit, just as local groups have done in 37 South Dakota communities.

Recently I visited one of our state’s newest groups, the Grand River Arts Council, based in Lemmon. With its location in the northwest corner of our state near the North Dakota border, Lemmon seized the opportunity to be the center point of a two-state collection of artists and arts advocates with a regional arts council. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of the people I met in Lemmon. 

Across the state in Sisseton, one of the state’s oldest local arts councils keeps creating new and compelling activities to draw the community together. For the recent 1st Ever Pop-Up Art Exhibition, the Sisseton Arts Council partnered with the South Dakota Arts Council and Arts Midwest to display the work of 40 local artists during an evening of food, fun and networking. 

In another example of fresh ideas, the Campbell County Arts Council is working with regional students to create a “Selfie Wall” display this summer. A competition for images rewarded students for their contributions and several communities really got into the spirit of the event.

The best thing about local arts councils is the way people leap into action with new concepts, hands-on participation and a genuine excitement about bringing creative activities to life in each community. From our larger cities to the countywide groups linking small towns, arts councils are driving forces enriching life across South Dakota.

If your community doesn’t have a local arts council, let us put you in touch with folks who can tell you how easy it is to start. If you do have an arts council, get involved—you’ll love what it does for you and your community!

Please visit to learn more about South Dakota’s community arts councils.