STURGIS — Visitors to Sturgis Main Street will have some new artwork to study after four sculptures were placed at various locations in the downtown area Thursday.

About 50 people were on hand for the unveiling and artists’ reception Thursday.

Beka Zerbst, president of the Sturgis City Council, served as guide on the Art Walk. She said the Art Walk program is important because it enriches the community.

“It shows that art has a place in our town,” she said.

Marlene Kotab, a retired music teacher from Sturgis, agreed.

“We have so much tourism. This shows that Sturgis isn’t just totally motorcycles. We are people who love art, music, and culture. That’s key to have those things in your community,” she said.

She hopes people will take time to study the new artwork.

“I loved them all,” Kotab said. “I wished there would have been another 100 people on hand Thursday for the unveiling.”

The artists talked about what it meant to have their work on display in Sturgis.

Dale Lewis, of Hastings, Minn., is the artist behind the sculpture “Bicycle Trees,” which was placed near Wells Fargo Bank in downtown Sturgis.

Lewis said he had offered the selection committee a motorcycle-themed sculpture and didn’t quite understand why they opted for the bicycle tree instead.

But after arriving in Sturgis a day early for the sculpture unveiling, Lewis figured out why they chose the bicycle tree.

“We should have had it in place last night for the bike race,” Lewis said of the Music on Main bike race held Wednesday nights throughout the summer.

Lewis said he was “scrounging” bikes for a while in his art career and received many from a friend who was cleaning out a barn.

“I made a couple bicycle trees, so all of a sudden, I needed a lot of bikes. But that’s just one of the things I do,” he said.

The body of the bikes make up the branches of the tree with the bicycle chains serving as texture on the trunk of the tree.

“It gives it a ‘barky’ look,” Lewis said.

Lewis hopes people find his artwork interesting.

“I want them to get sucked in and look at it for a little while,” he said.

Travis Sorenson, who had lived at Belle Fourche, but now lives in Sturgis, said it is nice to have a piece of his artwork in the town where he lives.

Currently, other sculptures of Sorenson’s are located in Sioux Falls and Mason City, Iowa.  Sorenson’s “Horse” was placed near The Hotel Sturgis at Harley-Davidson Way and Main Street.

He said horses have always been part of the culture and helped build America.

“They still continue to help us today,” he said.

The intricate design took Sorenson about 800 hours to complete. It’s made of stainless steel which Sorenson recycled from an old pull-down security gate used by a business at a mall.

“You tear it apart and all the rods are leftover,” he said.

The horse’s cheekbones are recycled from one of the benches at the former McDonald’s in Spearfish, Sorenson said.

“Outer Limits,” by Tim James and Aiden Demarais, of Mankato, Minn., was placed near Black Hills Rally & Gold at First and Main streets Thursday afternoon.

“I like where it is. The sun hits it perfect,” James said.

Both James and Demarais said they were surprised that their sculpture was chosen to be placed in Sturgis.

“Outer Limits,” evolved as it was being created, James said.

“I would come up with a concept and just sketch it out. Then we both, as we are going, decide where it would take us,” he said.

The sculpture is made of steel and weighs about 300 pounds.

The intricate textures along the sides of the sculpture were practice welds by Demarais’ welding students at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton High School in Janesville, Minn.

“He gives them a piece of metal and they practice welding. We liked the texture of those, so we incorporated them into the sculpture,” said James, an art teacher.

James and Demarais ponder what visitors and rallygoers may think of the artwork.

“People often ask, ‘What is it?’ My response is, ‘What do you want it to be?’” James said.

The art is part of the rotating Sturgis Art Walk which is hoped to bring more people to the downtown area, said Mark Bruch, President of the Downtown Sturgis Foundation.

In addition to the Downtown Sturgis Foundation, the Greater Sturgis Area Foundation, the Sturgis Arts Council, and the city of Sturgis also helped make the Sturgis Art Walk a reality.

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