'Arc of Dreams' - Atlas Obscura

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'Arc of Dreams'

This soaring sculpture and Sioux Falls landmark represents the leap of faith taken to make one's dreams come true. 


What does it mean to follow your dreams? A dream can motivate you, but it is inherently incomplete. To fully realize your dreams, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. And if that leap is taken over the Big Sioux River, chances are you’re in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and you have just visited Arc of Dreams, the giant stainless steel sculpture that has quickly become a city landmark.

Public art lines the streets of Sioux Falls, ranging from majestic Michelangelo replicas to temporary seasonal works. The latter are usually the result of the efforts of SculptureWalk Sioux Falls, the world’s largest exhibitor of public art. Each year, more than 50 sculptures can be found lining Phillips Avenue and throughout downtown.

As SculptureWalk entered its second decade of existence, it was looking for a signature capstone that could encapsulate all that public sculpture has meant to Sioux Falls. To do so, they commissioned Dale Claude Lamphere, South Dakota’s artist laureate, to create their first permanent work.

Lamphere is known for his work throughout South Dakota and beyond, and is perhaps best known for the monumental roadside statue Dignity of Earth and Sky. When building in Sioux Falls, he was inspired by the idea of the path that dreams take to become reality.

The resulting sculpture, Arc of Dreams, is nearly 300 feet long and 70 feet high, spanning the length of the Big Sioux River. It consists of two large helix-shaped steel structures, each designed to resemble a blade of grass in the wind. At the top of the incomplete arc, the two points nearly touch. This small gap is meant to represent the final leap of faith that a person must take in order to make their dream come true.

Arc of Dreams was completed and opened to the public in July 2019. Each night, the arc is lit to acknowledge holidays, local events, or corporate or personal donations. At the opening, Lamphere said about the sculpture, “My hope is that this sculpture will honor the dreamers here tonight and inspire others to face the challenge and trust in the promise of their own dreams.”

Know Before You Go

Arc of Dreams is free to view and open to the public. Please do not climb on the sculpture, nor attempt to leap between the two structures as a test of your faith in dreams.

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