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By Rosemary McCoy
A new mural on a downtown building is giving life to a tired corner.
Artist Shaine Schroeder painted “Confetti” on the north side of Common Sense at 12th Street and Second Avenue, across the street from the post office. It’s a woman’s face with confetti and other vibrant shapes for hair.
It was “kind of a one-off project” for Downtown Sioux Falls Inc., but its leader would be happy to see it spark more murals downtown.
Joe Batcheller, president of DTSF, came up with the idea about a year ago to have the organization act as a facilitator in bringing together an artist and a business and to provide seed money for the work.
“My experience in other cities led me to believe that murals in downtown would lead to make it a destination, to infuse downtown with a greater sense of discovery,” Batcheller said.
Common Sense’s building caught his eye. “It’s in a really prominent location, and they had a big blank wall. I thought, let’s make that a beauty and a destination.”
Monty Hagedorn, who owns the smoking materials store and the building that houses it, also saw the wall as a blank canvas that needed something. He was worried about a mural, though, because he knew that other businesses had run afoul of the city.
When Batcheller called and said he’d “make it happen,” Hagedorn was thrilled.
Schroeder came prepared. “Anytime a project pops up, my mind is going a million miles a minute.”
The artist said he showed Hagedorn “a snippet of the style of artists I admire. And he said, ‘I’ve seen your work and I trust your judgment, so just go to town.”
The actual painting took 10 days. While Schroeder was working, Sam Norberg of nearby Norberg Paints offered to help with supplies, so the store will provide an anti-graffiti sealant to protect the work.
Schroeder makes a living as an artist. “Ninety percent of what I do is on canvas with acrylics, very bright, vivid stuff in a pop art, surrealist style,” he said. “But this mural thing is picking up.”
He did murals on the back patios for M.B. Haskett and Bros Brasserie Americano, and an interior one sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon at Tommy Jacks Pub.
Batcheller’s hope that the mural would help make downtown a destination is happening already. High school students are having their senior photos taken in front of it. Sanaa Abourezk of Sanaa’s 8th Street Gourmet posted a photo on Instagram of her at the site showing the resemblance – Schroeder said he didn’t use her as a model but found the likeness uncanny.
The Downtown Sioux Falls Inc. leader hopes to see more projects from Schroeder and other artists downtown.
“There are lots of buildings with big walls that would be great for murals,” Batcheller said.
Hagedorn, who calls the mural a gift and a landmark already, knows that the community appreciates seeing beautification efforts downtown.
“People are reaching out to thank me for doing this.”
Downtown Sioux Falls Inc. leader Joe Batcheller, Common Sense owner Monty Hagedorn and artist Shaine Schroeder came together to brighten a downtown area.