Two New Murals Revealed

Two New Murals Revealed

Friday, January 10, 2020

In November of 2019 LUX Center for the Arts hosted a Springboard for the Arts ‘Artists Working in Communities’ intensive workshop for 16 artists from across the region. One of those workshop participants was Derek “Focus” Smith, a Lakota artist from Rapid City, South Dakota. Focus reached out to the coordinators of the Springboard workshop and LUX staff to see if there was interest in doing a mural on a wall at the LUX – there definitely was!


Two new murals came from the three-day workshop; StarQuilt and The Womxn of The Stars. Focus Smith explains:


“The StarQuilt was a group effort, a culmination & reflection activity of the Springboard for The Arts Community Development Workshop intensive. The underpainting for the mural was created by each person attending writing their interpretation of the overall feeling of the experience. With this done, all their words painted together built a solid foundation for the rest of the mural to grow on. Given the Star Quilt isn't singularly identified to one region or people, I will relay its significance in the Lakota Culture and what it was used for in this mural. The Star Quilt is a symbol of community. The center of the design represents the individual and their parents, siblings, etc. then each diamond going outwards represents their experiences, their peers, etc. The whole image then encapsulates the idea of community and each diamond a different person there-in. Dually the stars are a feminine symbol in the Lakota Culture. Women are revered in the Lakota Culture through a matriarchal society.”

Jess Gorman, another artist from the Springboard for the Arts workshop, added the pomegranate shape in the bottom left corner as a nod to the community of Armenian refugees that have settled in Lincoln. Katie Larabee, who also attended the workshop, added the image of space along the right side and the quote on the bottom right.

“The next mural is a depiction of a womxn creating through drawing. Given that womxn are the only ones who were given the gift to navigate the gates of life, this is where I personally feel the act of creating is inherently acknowledging the feminine side of all individuals. Calling forth life from the depths of inspiration to bring to life creation. So I’ve referred to the mural as "The Womxn of The Stars/ StarWomxn". In the mural she is depicted a native/indigenous womxn. As it’s my attempts to reestablish the presence of native/indigenous in the world at large, showcasing an image of a beaded earring that was actually a handcrafted image of my friends works here in South Dakota. I believe art inspires art and love to intertwine how these influence each other. Now the whole mural is painted to look as if she is drawing upwards. Just a take on perspective and trying something new instead of just painting her like she was drawing down on a table. A take that the skies the limit, to draw up. as creation always feels like it seems to rise, build, and grow. The Womxn of the Stars - is surrounded by hollow star quilt designs as an homage to the stars my personal inspiration of creation stories, astrology. The colors are to give way to personal interpretation. Colors are energy and I played around with what felt right and where”


Derek “Focus” Smith is a longstanding graffiti artist beginning at the age of 14 in Salt Lake City. With murals in South Dakota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Massachusetts, and in Taize, France. Smith teaches graffiti classes, is Rapid City’s – Art Alleys curator, accomplished muralist with recent works in Rapid City at Woyantan Lutheran Church, Rapid Skillz, I.AM.Legacy in the Rushmore Mall, Projects working with the Journey Learning Museum, and most recently taught a mural class working with groups of boys at The Club for Boys and is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Rapid City Arts Council at The Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, South Dakota. Examples of Smith work can be found on Instagram – Focicurrent, & Facebook.


Both new murals can be found at LUX Center for the Arts on the West side of the main building, facing the parking lot.


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