Simplified: It took 10 months, an abandoned request for proposals and a chance meeting at a downtown restaurant, but the city is now moving forward on a mural to adorn the side of the undeveloped 10th Street parking ramp.

Why it matters

  • The parking ramp itself has its own complicated history (find more on that here), but talk of making "lemonade" out of lemons – as Mayor Paul TenHaken put it in a press conference Wednesday – by adding a mural started back in October of last year.
  • It was around that time when the city initially put out a request for mural proposals via the Sioux Falls Arts Council. By February, the city reversed course, saying a "shared vision for one artwork could not be reached," per Sioux Falls Live.
  • But when local artist Walter Portz ran into city Finance Director Shawn Pritchett at a downtown restaurant a few weeks ago, conversations about a mural restarted. On Wednesday, the city announced plans for what is believed to be the largest mural in the state at 14,000 square feet.
"I don't think anybody can look at this piece and say, 'That's controversial,'" TenHaken said of the design during Wednesday's announcement.

Tell me more about the mural

The mural will feature bright colors – primarily blue and orange – and also highlight some familiar sights around Sioux Falls, including the cathedral and the Old Courthouse Museum clocktower.

Portz said he expects it'll take three to four weeks to complete, and he's expecting to use between 75 and 90 gallons of paint.

  • He also estimates the mural's lifetime could be up to 10 years given the type of paint he's using and its typical lifespan.

How long will it be displayed?

That depends entirely on when the city sells the property, which went up for sale at the start of the year.

  • The city won't say how many developers – if any – have expressed interest in the property, and TenHaken said it'll happen "when the market is ready."
"I fully expect before this (mural) fades ... we will have a development on this property," TenHaken said.

What happens next?

The city will prime the entire southern wall of the parking ramp with a grey paint, and then Portz will get to work.

The mural is expected to be completed "before the snow flies," TenHaken said.