Why the Sanford Underground Research Facility commissions one artist every year

Sanford Underground Research Facility's Artist in Residence program encourages artist to visit and be inspired to create art.

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Sanford Underground Research Facility’s Artist in Residence, or SURF AIR, program invites artists to create work inspires by SURF’s unique science, location, and history.


The intent of SURF AIR is to commission artists to tour SURF and create art based on their unique experience. The hope is that the combination of art and science will provide a different perspective on SURF’s research.

“I look at the artwork as a timeline. So artists will come, different experiments are up and they will make work. That is in reaction to that time period.”, said Gina Gibson, the coordinator of the SURF AIR program.

The SURF AIR program offers artists a generous stipend to allow them the freedom to create art.

This year’s artist

This year, Gary Sczerbaniewicz was selected to participate in the program. Gary’s work focuses on architectural spaces that invoke a sense of psychological unease, what he calls “the architectural uncanny.”

Gary explains,”It’s deja vu. It’s the doppelganger. There are certain lighting conditions, certain spatial conditions. And these types of architectures that invite that sense of the uncanny, the a sense of the sense of familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time.”

Sczerbaniewicz created many different pieces from his residency. He even took molds of the walls underground.

Gary’s work will be displayed at the Ruddell Gallery at Black Hills State University until December 9th.

The future of SURF AIR

SURF plans to continue this program for a long time.

They are accepting applications for next years artist through their website.

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