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Painting Walls, Changing Lives

There is a place in Rapid City that visitors are always surprised by and share the most on Instagram; that place is Art Alley in Downtown Rapid City. Art Alley has always been one of my favorite hidden gems in Rapid City. It is one of the hubs that artists come to share their talents for all to see, in a space that encourages creativity and artistic expression.

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Art Alley received its biggest makeover yet during the first ever RedCan Graffiti Jam. This event was something that truly encompassed what it means to #DoBigThings in Rapid City as it worked to blend the Lakota and Graffiti cultures and impact the communities and youth involved. I was absolutely blown away as I watched graffiti artists from across the United States take over Art Alley and inspire youth to use art as a form of positive self-expression and storytelling. In addition to the talented graffiti artists, there was also the opportunity to witness the beautiful tradition of a Lakota Hoop dancer, sharing the story of the butterfly through her rhythmic moves.

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The RedCan Graffiti Jam went beyond the art being created (although that was enough inspiration by itself!); the goal was to reach young artists and teach them about the graffiti culture and provide them a place to express themselves. Art Alley was the final day of the weekend-long event that began on the Cheyenne River Reservation. Tyler “Siamese” Read is a local artist whose work often graces the walls of Art Alley and played a significant role in helping to coordinate the event. Speaking with Read, he highlighted the fact that RedCan “created a deep and meaningful cultural pipeline directly between our brothers and sisters on the Cheyenne River Reservation and our community.”

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There is no denying that this event had a significant impact on all those involved, but the unique wonder of Art Alley is not simply a one-time-event thing. No matter when you visit, take some time to grab your camera, go for a walk and get ready to be impressed. On any given day you may even be able to catch an artist in action or for those more adventurous, you could grab a can and leave your own mark on the walls. Paint is not my best friend, so I simply admire the art with my four-legged best friend, Taz.

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I know I refer to Art Alley as a hidden gem, but I promise it’s simple to find! If you park your car at Main Street Square and cross Main Street on 6th Street you will find it in the Alley between Main and St. Joseph Streets. The bright, vibrant colors make it hard to miss! Take a moment to walk through Art Alley on your next visit to Rapid City and check out all the other big things happening with the Rapid City arts scene. We love seeing and hearing about your experiences, so tag #VisitRapidCity whenever you share on social media!

Meet the Author

Shiloh Francis

With coffee in one hand, a camera in the other and her four-legged sidekick, Taz by her side, Shiloh loves getting out and exploring Rapid City. Her favorite things about Rapid City include the great dining scene, coffee shops and ease of access to the hiking trails within the city and the Black Hills.

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Shiloh Francis
Guest Blogger

With coffee in one hand, a camera in the other and her four-legged sidekick, Taz by her side, Shiloh loves getting out and exploring Rapid City. Her favorite things about Rapid City include the great dining scene, coffee shops and ease of access to the hiking trails within the city and the Black Hills.

Shiloh is a transplant to Rapid City, having fallen in love with the area during family vacations and deciding to make it her permanent vacation after graduating from college. Traveling and discovering new places has always been a passion for Shiloh, but she loves the site of coming home to Rapid City each time the plane lands at the end of one of her adventures. Despite now being considered a local, she doesn’t let that stop her from taking time to play “tourist” in her own backyard. Shiloh is your go-to source for pup-spiration (all things pet-friendly), the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee or great bite to eat, and helping you find those hidden gems on your next vacation.

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