Section Title: Practicing Art in the Public Sphere

9:50: Scott Wallace & Lynn Verschoor, "Public Art, Private Funds"


Through discussion and projection of visual projectdocumentation, the presenters will share the process of a recent public art project completed for the Anderson Plaza outside the South Dakota Art Museum, on the campus of South Dakota State University. Accepting and applying private funding for a donor driven project in a public space can create challenges for both the administrator of the project and the project artist. Lynn Verschoor, project coordinator and Scott Wallace, project artist, will share the process from start to finish and discuss some of the challenges of using private funding for public art:

  • Is the public really determining the course of the artwork developed for a public space when a project is privately funded?
  • How can a public institution responsibly apply private funding for a public art project?
  • Can the donors who initiate funding for a public art project be considered “the public” when determining the course of the art making?
  • What roll does the artist play in balancing their responsibility to the public when developing a concept when the initial user group is solely a private donor?
  • Is it more acceptable to accept private funding when public art programs are in their infancy because there are benefits to the public?
  • Is it publically responsible to allow a private donor to influence the selection of the artist?

The presentation discussion will include how these questions were responsibly addressed and the project was successfully completed with benefits to the arts institution, the artist and the community. 


Lynn Verschoor is the director of the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings, South Dakota. She is also a practicing artist and chairs the Public Art Committee at South Dakota State University

Scott Wallace is a professor in the Studio Art Program in South Dakota State University’s School of Design. He is also a practicing artist and has produced thirteen large-scale sculptures that are permanently installed in seven states.