We had a chilly summer programming kick-off last week with our Kids Art Fest and Summer Concert Series. Although it was a bit brisk, the rain stayed at bay and folks came to the park dressed for the weather. We had a lot of happy kids at the park making art projects. The look of pure joy of a child creating art and the surprise on their faces when they create something beautiful is … well, beautiful. Thank you to all the sponsoring organizations who created worthwhile projects and thank you to the families who joined us once again this year at Kids Art Fest. Be sure to join us each Tuesday evening in the park for free concerts on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m.

• The exhibit currently on display at G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery is titled “In Plain Sight: Images from Across the Prairie” by painter Tom Roper. Tom was born in the south, but due to his father’s occupation with the government, he spent his formative years in small towns along the Missouri River, including Yankton from 1956 to 1963. His professional background is as a technical illustrator, first with Boeing, then with the Corps of Engineers, and later as an art director and designer.

“As a painter, I fight the tendency to ‘need’ order, and the challenge is to “follow the image” leading to a broader interpretation of the individual image,” he said.

You can view this exhibit through July 9 at G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery. The gallery is open Monday-Friday 1-5 p.m. and Saturday 1-3 p.m. There will be a special reception honoring the artist on Friday, June 7, from 5-7 p.m. All exhibits are free and open to the public.

• Have you noticed artwork in the Meridian District? That is due to a committee called the Meridian District Art Project (MDAP). A few years ago, Dakota Resources was in Yankton to have conversations with the community about our vision of the downtown area. Out of those conversations, came the MDAP committee made up of a variety of individuals from around the community with a passion for art, including me! The committee is sponsoring a 5K Color Run on June 15 to raise money to continue to create a vibrant, art-filled Meridian District. Interested runners can register at mdartprojectcolorrun5k.splashthat.com. There is even a color run for your kiddos! If running isn’t your thing, but throwing color on runners is, contact me to volunteer by emailing info@yanktonareaarts.org or call 665-9754.

• Arts South Dakota will be hosting an Arts Happy Hour at the Copper Room in Yankton on Tuesday, June 18, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. It will be an opportunity for Yankton to share what is happening in the community and to provide a space for artists, arts groups, and arts supporters to come together. Grab your friends and join us before heading to the park for the Yankton Area Summer Band concert at 8 p.m.!

• One of our most popular classes is “The Glass Class” taught by Loretta Meyer-Furrey. Loretta will be returning to Yankton to guide students in painting their own wine glass on Thursday, June 20, from 6-8 p.m. Cost of the class is $35 and includes all materials and supplies, including a wine glass to paint. YAA will also provide wine and snacks during the event. No experience necessary, so gather your friends and sign up today at YanktonAreaArts.org/event. Space is limited and Patrons of YAA will receive 10% off!

• YAA would like to invite photographers of all ages to participate in the annual photography competition known as the Mighty Mo Photo Show. The exhibit is designed to complement Yankton’s annual Riverboat Days celebration and to encourage and recognize the talents of area photographers. Combining photography, instant access to the Missouri River and the popularity of Riverboat Days makes this annual event one of our most popularly participated and anticipated exhibits. The exhibit is open to photographers of all experience and age levels. This year’s theme is The Five Elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, Fire. Photographers may choose one or all elements when composing their photos. Photos will be accepted July 1-5 (the gallery will not be open July 4). More information can be found on our website, YanktonAreaArts.org.

• Tickets are now on sale for the 5th Meridian en Blanc fundraiser! After a year off, we are excited to be back on the Meridian Bridge for a night celebrating art and raising funds for our new Make Art Happen Initiative.

Youth involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking and verbal skills. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence and teamwork.

Through our work with local arts educators, we know one factor keeping students from participating and excelling in the arts is lack of financial resources. Kids who can’t afford quality band instruments quickly lose interest when their instruments don’t work properly, kids interested in digital arts like graphic design need access to online learning and equipment like drawing tablets and software, the costs of music camps are over $400 per student. The needs for fostering excellence in the arts are endless; therefore, we are going to help the youth of the community Make Art Happen!

Meridian en Blanc guests will be able to count on great food provided by Counterfeit Catering, excellent music by the Jim McKinney Quintet, and exquisite artwork being created on the bridge.

Meridian en Blanc will be held on Saturday, July 20. Tickets are $50 and available for purchase (by cash or check) at G.A.R. Hall during regular office hours, Monday-Friday 1-5 p.m. For more information, please contact Yankton Area Arts at 665-9754 or email info@yanktonareaarts.org.

June is an exciting month for the arts! The South Dakota Shakespeare Festival is taking place in Vermillion June 6-9. This year the players will present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Prentis Park. Additionally, there are activities and workshops planned the entire weekend for kids and families. Be sure to check their website, sdshakespearefestival.org for times and locations of all the fun!

Friday, July 5, YAA will host Sue Hill at GAR Hall to give a demonstration on Paint Pouring from 5-7 p.m. All are welcome to join! You can find more information on arts happenings on the YAA Arts Calendar at YanktonAreaArts.org.

Be sure to follow YAA on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for all the latest area arts happenings!


Yankton Area Arts is a non-profit arts organization located at 508 Douglas Avenue in Yankton. The G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery is open to the public free of charge. The gallery is open Monday-Friday 1-5 p.m. and Saturday 1-3 p.m. For more information, call the YAA office at (605) 665-9754 or email info@yanktonareaarts.org.

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