About Brookings Summer Arts Festival

Beautiful Pioneer Park in Brookings, South Dakota is home to South Dakota’s premier juried art festival. Over 200 artists from across the nation, representing 15 disciplines of art, grace Pioneer Park with original skilled and handcrafted works of art. Thirty eight gourmet and ethnic food booths satisfy every appetite. The Edibles and Naturals area, formerly Regional Products, has 28 artisans who produce gourmet packaged cottage foods and natural skin products. Historic and antique booths celebrate South Dakota’s heritage. A lively children’s area in the center of the park provides fun, educational activities. In addition to the great works of art, the festival has become known for the entertainers performing on the park's historic band shell and on side stages throughout the park.


Our History

The Brookings Summer Arts Festival is a testimony to what a good idea and a lot of hard work can do. Each and every year a group of local volunteers plan an arts festival that surpasses the year before. Festival patrons are treated to a show that brings a wide assortment of art, food and entertainment to Pioneer Park.

The stage was set in 1972 when a small group of people gathered over a cup of coffee and planned an all-city event. Events took place all over town and kicked off July 15, 1972 with a parade and opening ceremony. Fifteen craft and art booths were at Pioneer Park, while rock, antique, and coin shows were held elsewhere.  Bus tours went to the Brookings County Historical Museum in Volga. A 4-H horse show, a grouping of band concerts and evening dances were also enjoyed by those who attended the first Brookings Summer Arts Festival.

Nearly four decades later, the Festival now transforms Pioneer Park into an outdoor art gallery that showcases the wares of the best regional artists and skilled craftsmen. Although we have continued to grow and evolve since our beginnings, the committee still meets over cups of coffee to plan the annual festival and prove what a little hard work from a few dedicated volunteers can achieve.


The BSAF Awards Committee selects three artists annually to honor. Two receive an Award of Excellence and one the Media Award. At the start of each year’s festival, the committee gathers together to canvas the festival vendors to select these recipients.

The Awards Committee bestows two Award of Excellence ribbons to two artisans who show outstanding skill in his or her chosen media. These awards are based on overall quality of the artist’s work, and not on a particular piece. Criteria to judge work is based on originality, craftsmanship and skillful use of materials. The winners must create all of their work.

The third award and ribbon is the Media Award. The Awards Committee chooses one piece of work from an artist the group feels best represents the spirit of the festival. The committee searches for a piece that is an original or “one-of-a-kind”.

The selected artist will be asked for permission to use the artwork to create the next year’s BSAF logo. The Awards, Publicity, and Tee Shirt Committees create a flat art logo to be used on promotional materials such as tee-shirts, flags and banners. The artwork will also be on posters, programs, and newspaper and TV advertising distributed in a four state area.


2017 Award Winners

Paul Larson
Media Award Winner

Growing up on a farm in western ND in the 70’s, I had lots of opportunities to explore junk yards, machine shops and barns. That’s what influences the “stuff” that I make today. The various findings always has a way of reminding me of family. The possibilities of junk are endless and each hoarded piece waits to find out where it will end up.

Russ Duerksen
Award of Excellence

Growing up in small towns and working on my grandparents’ farm in South Dakota brought me close to nature. As a young boy I would draw the wildlife that I saw not knowing then that this obsession would become a lifelong ambition. I’m proud of my accomplishments, which has led me to my lifelong dream of being a full time wildlife artist.

Martin Hallock
Award of Excellence

Being brought up along the west bank of the Missouri, near the mouth of the Bad River, I was raised in a culture centered around the outdoors and its wildlife. My pursuit of life as a wildlife sculpture artist began in 2015 after receiving enthusiastic praise and encouragement by friends. My innovated style has led to sculptures that reflect a unique beauty and undeniable originality.



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