Our decision to withdraw from the Art Market this year was a hard one and the group discussions left us frustrated. We have a group of people here at SGU who have been working on the Market for years. We talked about a number of issues around the Art Market and Sinte Gleska University with both the small group and with the administration.
One concern with the way the Market has evolved is the lack of participation of SGU students and in many ways the Rosebud community. Very few community members are able to afford to come to Sioux Falls for the event. We also have seen a decreasing role for SGU students in the Market. What was reported through the group meetings was the reticence to have students at the Market as their presence would skew sales to students and away from the artists. We also discussed the cost of the show. Last year the Market generated $ 25,000.00 in income and an additional $ 5,000.00 grant from the South Dakota Humanities. The final cost for the Market was $ 80,000.00. This left Sinte Gleska paying $ 50,000 out of our General Fund for the Market.
The SGU General Fund is built from an appropriation for the Tribally Controlled College Act. These funds are designated to support students through activities that range from Faculty salaries, teaching supplies, transportation, and a number of other activities. The University has, in the past, used a significant amount of money to support the Market as well as other activities through these funds that have not been directly connected to our students. Two weeks ago, we received notification from the BIE that we were receiving a $ 300,000 cut in our dollars for this upcoming year. We are expecting further cuts in the next three weeks due to the Federal Budget cuts most recently in the news. In our deliberations, we asked the Development Office how many people donated to SGU from the Art Market activity and were told that there was no impact on our fundraising and that the Market which began as a broader community project is now an SGU event. That said, because there is a need to support the Arts, we are needing to re-think how we do so and build broader community support.
In March we met to discuss the Market and one of the things we decided was to see how many artists were going to sign up for the event. We set a deadline in early June and waited a few weeks after to see how many artists had signed up. It turned out that we had a total of fourteen. This was not near our goal of thirty or more artists.
Our discussion right now is about how we can move the market forward into the future. The funding structure needs to be addressed and I am hoping to have our Art Institute embrace the Market. We have a grant for on-reservation tourism incubation and hope to get those folks working with the Art Institute to develop a Market type activity here in either Mission or Rosebud. Given State politics, it is important for us to create a collaboration with a community that will embrace the Market. This collaboration will take time to build. We have received five letters of concern and intend to bring those people into a larger group to explore how we can support artists with greater student involvement
Thank you for your concern.
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