An Artist's Mission To Restore A SF Monument
by Laura Monteverdi, Reporter
February 16, 2013 6:25 PM
If you live in Sioux Falls, chances are you've driven by the large battleship on West 12th Street.
From far away it looks pretty spectacular, but if you take a closer look, you'll see it needs a little T-L-C.
That's where Robert Ruf comes in.
Ruf is a well-known artist and philanthropist in the Sioux Falls community and was one of 26 artists featured in the 33rd Annual Artists of the Plains Art Show on Saturday.
“I don’t like to mix my art with money, but I do like help charities. So when I do a show, 99 percent of the time it's to raise money for a specific charity,” said Ruf.
Now the Navy Veteran's passion for helping the community has him raising money to repaint the treasured U.S.S. South Dakota Battleship Memorial.
“I stopped by to take a look at it and noticed the paint was just coming off in sheets so I called the board of directors and told them I would like to do it and at my own expense,” said Ruf.
Ruf started the restoration project back in August, but had to stop in December because he ran out of funds. He said he’s determined to raise enough money to get the job done.
“Most of the fellas that served on that ship are in their late 80's and early 90's and there's only a handful of them left. They're planning to have a reunion in July so I'm trying to get it completely re-done, prepped and painted before they arrive,” said Ruf.
Ruf said the project will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 and will be a lot of hard work, but he said it will be well worth it.
“I would just hate to see the crew members show up to what could possibly be their last visit to it and have it not looking in tip top shape,” explained Ruf.
Throughout his career, Ruf has raised nearly $150,000 for various charities in the Sioux Falls area.