Sturgis Area Arts Council

In the mid-1970s, an organization named "Why Not Sturgis?" was formed to promote the presentation of and participation in the arts in the Sturgis, South Dakota community.

As an evolution of that group, in 1979, the Sturgis Area Arts Council was founded and officially recognized by local government.

The mission of the Sturgis Area Arts Council is "to initiate, sponsor, and conduct public programs to further the development and awareness of and interest in the arts". To achieve this goal, we work closely with all facets of our community. We rely greatly upon donations and sponsorships from local individuals and businesses.

We encourage local participation by presenting programs using local artists.

Sturgis, South Dakota

Located at the eastern edge of the Black Hills, Sturgis, South Dakota is internationally famous for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Every August, this event draws several hundred-thousand attendees from all over the globe. The history and importance of Sturgis, however, pre-date the Rally by many decades.

In 1878, the U.S. Cavalry established a post in South Dakota named Fort Meade. Adjacent to that post, a small community of vendors set up near the fort. This community existed for the purpose of relieving the soldiers of some, or all, of their military pay by any means possible. This practice was termed "scooping" money from the troops and the settlement was called Scooptown.

Because of its geographical position and importance as a trading center, Scooptown became a community worthy of establishment as a town. Col. Samuel D. Sturgis, commander of the post at Fort Meade named Sturgis...not after himself but in honor of his son, Lt. James G. Sturgis, who had been killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. Since its inception, Sturgis has continued to flourish as a center of commerce and remains a vital Black Hills community.