South Dakota Hall of Fame recognition includes the Elevator Mural and Building Forever Families

Friday, April 05, 2019

excellenceNote: Event took place earliar this week.

The South Dakota Hall of Fame Acts of Excellence Celebration & Recognition will be held on the Northern State University Campus at Isaac Lincoln Gallery, Lincoln Hall, 1200 S. Jay St. in Aberdeen.

The celebration will take place on Wednesday, April 3 from 4 - 5:30 p.m. (program will begin at 5:10 p.m.).

  • The Acts of Excellence include:
  • Building Forever Families Adoption Services
  • Cardboard Confessionals
  • Faulkton Elevator Mural
  • Germans from Russia Cultural Center
  • Granary Rural Cultural Center
  • Leola K-12 Arts Outreach Program
  • Purina Mills Christmas Tree
  • Tolstoy Wind Chiller 5K

Every day, South Dakotans do extraordinary things. The Acts of Excellence program recognizes the individuals and organizations who are building a culture of excellence in South Dakota, one act at a time. Founded in 1974 and named by the SD Legislature as the “Official State Hall of Fame,” the South Dakota Hall of Fame Champions a Culture of Excellence in South Dakota by honoring the impact of individual excellence, one act at time; and inspiring others to strive for excellence; all while striving to improve the quality of our lives in South Dakota.

Act of Excellence
Submitted by Mr. Terry Woster,
Building Forever Families
Offers Personalized Adoptions

A child of adoption, who with her husband, adopted three children of her own, started a business to provide personalized adoption service to other families seeking children. Barb Pearson-Cramer of Faulkton started her own adoption agency in the community in 2006. She founded Building Forever Families in Faulkton in 2015. The agency is licensed to handle adoptions in South Dakota and North Dakota. Barb and her husband, Trevor, had discussed adoption before they married. When they struggled to have children, they adopted two daughters. Then they found out she was pregnant.

At the same time, the mother of one of their adopted daughters became pregnant again. They adopted that child, to keep the siblings together.

“We just couldn’t say no,’’ Barb stated. Building Forever Families has two main programs. One places infants in adoptive homes as soon as they leave the hospital.

The other, called the Waiting Children Program, involves coordinating with agencies across the country to place children who have been put up for adoption involuntarily, for example, if a state terminates parental rights. Those children typically are ages seven to 18. The organization’s website says, “The wellbeing of those we serve is the most important aspect of our services…our goal is to develop a partnership with you and advocate for you with the parties involved in your adoption process.’’ For more information go to:

In rural South Dakota, soaring grain elevators are some of the most recognizable structures on the landscape. The community of Faulkton invited an Australian artist to use a local grain elevator as a giant canvas to showcase artwork that will be visible for miles around. Guido van Helten, who has created public works of art throughout the world, worked in Faulkton during the summer of 2018 to create the artwork. His goal was to “portray the essence of the town through a photorealistic, larger-than-life mural,’’ according to an article on the FaulktonArea Economic Development Corporation’s website. A Faulkton resident, David Hedt, is a native of Australia who was instrumental in bringing van Helten to the community. The artist created a mural on a farm silo in Brim, a small Australian town near where Hedt grew up. “Anyone who has ever seen his artwork in real life knows that it is outstanding,’’ Hedt said. “He’s unbelievably talented. We’re very lucky he came here.’’ The artist used a grain elevator on the east edge of Faulkton as his canvas.

Community leaders hope the finished product will draw visitors to the area to view the unique piece of art. Hedt says van Helten doesn’t want his elevator art to become commonplace, so it’s unlikely there will be another of his works in South Dakota. Van Helten visited the area in 2017, spending several weeks exploring the community, interviewing residents and taking photographs to prepare for his project.

One town official says “the sky is the limit for the tourism boost’’ the massive mural could provide. It’s an example of a small community thinking big and encouraging the arts, and it’s quite an Act of Excellence. More information can be found at:

Article and images courtesy of the The Faulk County Record.

Category: Arts and Culture