City kills plans for mural on downtown Sioux Falls parking ramp citing inability to find consensus on pick

The East 10th Street ramp has been a center of controversy.

Ramp mural 1.jpg
The East 10th Stree parking ramp in downtown Sioux Falls on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023.
Patrick Lalley / Sioux Falls Live

SIOUX FALLS — City officials have decided not to have a local artist paint a mural on the East 10th Street parking ramp.

Jeff Eckhoff, director of planning and development, issued a statement Friday, Feb. 17, saying the city has reversed a plan to commission the painting.

“We thank the artists for the time and effort they put into their submissions to be part of this project for the 10th Street parking ramp. Art is subjective, and at this point in the process, a shared vision for one artwork could not be reached, so it’s been determined not to pursue a mural,” Eckhoff said in the statement.

Jeff Eckhoff, director of planning and development services for the City of Sioux Falls.

The decision comes after a months-long process to secure private funding, vet proposals, a juried selection process and selection of an artist by the city’s Visual Arts Commission.

On Jan. 17, the commission learned that Mayor Paul Tenhaken had overruled their unanimous pick in choosing the artist.


The ramp has been a constant source of controversy since plans to build a hotel and retail space around it fell apart in 2019. City officials say they are talking with private developers about reimagining what could be built around the ramp, which the city built for about $20 million.

In the meantime, there’s a large cement wall in the heart of downtown.

The idea was to commission a mural to visually improve the area until a long-term development plan comes together.

The city asked the Sioux Falls Arts Council, a nonprofit agency that supports artists, to put together a plan to create and fund the mural. The council found a private sponsor in MarketBeat, a local company that provides individual investors with data and stock research tools. The budget for the project was $28,500 with a deadline of June 30.

The Arts Council also solicited artists and set up a system to solicit and rank the proposals.

The final recommendation, however, was left to the city’s Visual Arts Commission.

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On Dec. 20, the commissioners narrowed that to two works: One by Amber Hansen, Reyna Hernandez and Darcy Millette; and another by Eric Vozzola, according to the minutes of the meeting.

The first vote was 4 to 2 in favor of Hansen, Hernandez and Millette.


The commission then voted a second time, unanimously endorsing the selection.

However, at the next meeting on Jan. 17, Eckoff told the commission that the mayor chose the Vozzola proposal.

The minutes of the meeting were released Thursday, Feb. 16.

Vozzola's work is titled “The Dance of Creativity.” The inspiration is traditional hoop dancing of the Lakota and other Sioux tribal cultures and history of the landscape around Sioux Falls, according to the Jan. 17 minutes.

“Through the use of vibrant colors and thoughtful abstraction, the artwork brings movement and an energy that will hopefully inspire and brighten the surrounding area for the life of the mural,” the minutes noted.

There was no description of the work of Hansen, Hernandez and Millette.

Eckhoff’s statement on Friday came in response to a inquiry from Sioux Falls Live.

Patrick Lalley is the engagement editor and reporter for Sioux Falls Live. Reach him at
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