Over the next four days, we will be providing detailed information about how the Art Alley permit system works, and why it came to be.
Part 2. How It Came To Be.
Let’s review how we arrived at this point in time.
Art Alley begins in 2004 as an organic, creative space. During this time Art Alley has a smaller community involved in it. Many of the artists know each other, and many of them have relationships with the building and business owners as well. As downtown grows, so do the people using Art Alley. A good thing, but with growth, new challenges occur.
By early 2013, Art Alley is ailing, and several building and business owners request the City to start a task force to address vandalism, property right, etc., but the City Council doesn’t want to get involved, and would prefer to shut the space down. The RCAC rallies public support for Art Alley through a social media campaign and a public forum. As a result, we discover there is widespread community support for Art Alley. The RCAC creates the Art Alley Guild, whose main purpose is: 1. build bridges between artists and Owners to resolve frustration; 2. develop programming to educate the public on the proper, safe and respectful use of Art Alley; 3. promote Art Alley as a creative community asset.
Fast forward to 2016. Over the past three years, there have been great successes and major setbacks. Ultimately, Art Alley has seen an exponential increase in use by the public (artists and non-artists), and the negative has began to tip the scales against the positive. We are in the same position we were in three years ago, with one major difference - some Owners are beginning to pull out. Last year, artwork was removed from two buildings with signs that read, “Not part of Art Alley. No painting without permission. Thank you.” Shortly after, another building roped off its parking area with similar signage.
In fall 2015, the RCAC held a meeting with Owners to listen to their concerns. The issues ranged from littering and non-art related loitering (transient), to violence and vandalism, costing some Owners thousands of dollars in damages. Both the Owners and the Rapid City Police Department (RCPD) agreed that without dramatic changes, Art Alley would cease to exist by the end of 2016. In an effort to keep Art Alley alive, the Owners proposed the Art Alley Permit System. The RCPD agreed that this would help alleviate many of the problems facing Art Alley, but that there had to be uniformity throughout the permitting system for it to work. The RCAC offered to facilitate the permit system on behalf of the Owners AT NO COST TO ARTISTS. The Permit System is free of charge. The RCAC stepped up to facilitate this because we believe that Art Alley is important to our community’s creativity, and offers accessibility to the arts.
Check back tomorrow for the next piece in our four part series about the permit system, and please join us for a public reception with artists, business and building owners for the permit system on Tuesday, April 12th from 5:30-7pm at The Dahl Arts Center.