Artist Brings Washington Pavilion Staircase to Life

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The Washington Pavilion is known for its lively shows, movies and exhibits.

Now it’s added the talents of a man who is bringing more life to the Pavilion through his art work.

“I’ve always drawn. I’ve just never stopped,” says Chuck Bennis of Brookings.

Bennis can now add this mural to his resume. It depicts space, Falls Park and South Dakota while wrapping around a stairwell at the Washington Pavilion.

“What I wanted to do with this space is to make an ordinary stairwell, and make it something special,” says Bennis.

Bennis free handed the entire piece with markers. He’ll be satisfied if he can inspire just one person to start drawing.

“I hope my style connects with this space too. It’s something bold something fun,” says Bennis.

Those with the Pavilion knew the stairs were the right place to bring this masterpiece.

“Everybody is just kind of walking up and going up and down them. It was one of those great locations where we thought we could really utilize this,” says Washington Pavilion Director Jason Folkerts.

“I worked here during the night, and it was a fairly lonely existence. It was myself and Stan the Dinosaur,” says Bennis.

The man behind the mural uses bold designs to catch the eye.

“The joy he captures with his cartoon, unique, playful style. There are images that seem to just come off the wall,” says Folkerts.

After 7 weeks of painting the mural is finished and the artist feels a closer connection with the Pavilion.

“My father went to high school here, and as I was painting I imagined my dad also walking down this same stairway,” says Bennis.

This three part mural is known as “Looking Down at Earth” and “Spirit of South Dakota.”

“We’re able to combine both the science and arts through a mural like this. We hope to do many more. This is just the beginning. I’m hoping that this will reach out to other artists in the community,” says Folkerts.

Bringing much more life to the Pavilion.

Bennis is also working on a mural at Dakota State University plus an outdoor piece on Estelline’s Main Street.

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