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Rapid City, South Dakota

Art Alley

Thanks to a loophole in the property ownership this alleyway has become a cacophonous street gallery. 

Strolling through downtown Rapid City, the second-largest city in South Dakota, the stray bit of graffiti here and there is not that shocking, but the vandalism-covered side street known as Art Alley is a surprising gallery of civil disobedience that is (mostly) beloved by the locals.

A brick-paved alley that runs from Sixth to Seventh Streets between Main and St. Joseph, Art Alley is covered with the works of street artists, from amateur to professional, on every surface. The walls, telephone pools, pipes, dumpsters, and anything else that happens to be a part of the urban landscape are subject to redecoration in the tight alleyway. With artists constantly adding to and covering up each other’s works, the alley remains a dynamic, ever-changing landscape with something different to see each time you go. Over the years it has also featured paintings on canvas, sculptures, and other art forms presented as though it was a true gallery space.

Operating since 2005 without any major law enforcement interference, Art Alley is unique in that the alley is city property but the walls which are covered with artwork are privately owned. There is no board or director in charge of Art Alley, but artist Todd Rigione acts as unofficial “curator.” Citizens remain divided as to whether it is art or an eyesore.

 

Know Before You Go

Runs from Sixth to Seventh streets between Main and St. Joseph.