Rapid City’s wide-open ‘Art Alley’ to be replicated in Old Town restaurant

       When Sharon Smith went to Rapid City, South Dakota, in September, she was looking for ways to help out the impoverished Pine Ridge Indian Reservation nearby. A portion of “Art Alley” in Rapid City, S.D., is shown in this photo taken by My Daughter’s Deli owner Sharon Smith last 
September. Fascinated by its diversity and talent, she is seeking to replicate it inside her restaurant.
Courtesy of Sharon Smith
       She still is. The owner of My Daughter's Deli, 2514 W. Colorado Ave., just never guessed the form it would take.
       Smith plans to introduce people to her discovery - Rapid City's “art alley” - by redecorating her restaurant with about 60 photographs to mirror the effect of walking between walls of eclectic images reflecting art and poetry by various anonymous individuals. Continuing to Jan. 3, the show will open with a reception Friday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m., in which the restaurant's tables will be removed “so people can get a small grasp of what the alley was like,” Smith said.
       There is no charge, but a donation of $5 is requested and some of the photos are for sale. A portion of the proceeds will go to One Nation Walking Together, which regularly collects and delivers supplies to Pine Ridge.
       During her September visit, Smith chanced upon Art Alley, which is located in the downtown area of Rapid City. “I walked by it maybe five times before I went down it,” she said. Upon closer inspection, she decided she'd never seen anything like it. Because the walls keep changing, with artists coming in at night (sometimes even painting over other people's works), “you could go there 15 times and see something new every time.”
       The alley was unadvertised, and nobody Smith talked to knew who the artists were. But the many styles seen in her photos indicate that a score or more people must be involved.
       She hopes the show will raise money for Pine Ridge. But she also was inspired to display the photos simply for art's sake. “I just thought other people needed to see them,” she said.

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