Alley Art Festival returns to downtown on September 24 | Local memories

ByJames I. Robertson

Sep 4, 2022


SIOUX CITY – 20 murals and counting.

That’s the number of oversized outdoor public art pieces Jessica Hammond has produced over the past four years.

“I actually did over 20 murals,” explained the Sioux City artist who paints under the name “Brutal Doodles.”

Hammond will add some additional public art to the fourth annual Alley Art Festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 24 in the alleys between Fourth and Fifth Streets at Nebraska and Pierce Streets.

Organized by Vangarde Arts, Downtown Partners as well as artists like Hammond, the Alley Art Festival was created to reimagine urban spaces with art as part of the ongoing effort to improve walking between Historic Fourth Street and the ‘Historic Pearl Street District.

“I know we’ve had strangers wandering our lanes after hearing about the murals,” Brent Stockton of Vangarde Art said at a news conference Thursday morning behind the Orpheum Theater. “I even know there have been Orpheum artists who have been impressed with the art.”

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For Hammond, the Alley Art Festival gives new artists the chance to test the waters with a highly visible form of street art.

“It’s not graffiti art by a long shot,” she said.

Plus, it brings more artists to Sioux City.

“This year, more than 50 artists will participate in Alley Art,” Stockton said. “34 of these artists are completely new to the festival.”

Indeed, the Alley Art Festival will be a full festival with an art exhibit, children’s tent, community wall, food trucks and beer garden.

Leading performers on stage will include musical groups Banana Cramps and Artificial Stars as well as nationally acclaimed blues rock guitarist Shannon Curfman.

Hammond is happy that artists are willing to volunteer their time and talents to create art that everyone can enjoy.

“Literally anyone can leave their mark at the Alley Art Festival,” she said.

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