Sculptor to Start Main Street Square Project in July

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June 21, 2013 6:00 am  •  John Lee McLaughlin Journal staff

California artist Masayuki Nagase is expected to arrive today in Rapid City and begin work in early July on a $2-million sculpture project at Main Street Square.

The exact date that Nagase will start his public sculpting project has not been set as he continues to work on designs that are based on the natural and cultural history of the Black Hills and the Badlands, Destination Rapid City Community Arts Coordinator Anna Huntington said.

"We're super excited," Huntington said Thursday. "I just can't wait to see this project unfold. I can't wait to see the people respond to this work and the artist."

Huntington said Nagase will start on the Badlands series of sculptures along Main Street. The theme of that series is wind while the Black Hills set of sculptures, which will line Sixth Street, will have a water theme.

"The thrust of the design is the passage of wind and water," Huntington said. "He's really committed to community involvement in the project."

Nagase will be working through September with an assistant. He plans to work every weekday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., except Thursdays when he'll be in his Dahl Arts Center studio fine-tuning designs. Nagase will also offer "artist talks" at the square on Friday afternoons.

He will continue work over the next three to five years during the summer months, Huntington said.

Nagase beat out 87 other applicants for the project that is privately financed by Destination Rapid City and the John T. Vucurevich Foundation. Nagase will work mostly with a hammer and chisel, a method the committee selecting the artist preferred rather than high-tech machinery.

"That was really appealing, the fact that he's using hand tools, and also that he's involving community input into the project and the feeling of Main Street Square," Huntington said.

Nagase isn't expected to start setting up until the week of July 8 on the first five stones of the project, according to Destination Rapid City.

The $2 million project entails 21 granite sculptures overall.


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