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Synopsis: The Residency for Recovery Program sponsored by the South Dakota Arts Council helped fund Artist’s salaries to create public art for their communities. The Black Hills Film Festival was awarded the grant for a project it conceived to create a free standing 6 ft. tall stained glass piece symbolizing the history and essence of the community of Hill City. The entire process was filmed and the documentary LITTLE TINY PIECES was created by Randal Iverson of Rapid City with music by Ben Lemay. The name comes from the 334 little pieces of glass that were cut to make the work.

Artist Mackenzie Swanson, a long-time resident of Hill City, SD and a graduate from Chadron State College with honors and a BA in Studio Art was selected to create the work. The stained glass project started in September 2020 and was completed in July of 2021. In addition to the art, two stained glass workshops were offered in November 2020. The first was for elementary aged students. They made faux stained glass sun catchers using wax paper and markers. The second was for adult community members who made small glass sun catchers using the copper foil method and also learned about the traditional leaded method as well.

The Completed Project
True North became the title of the finished piece which reflects Hill City’s past and future. It took 10 months to complete and was first installed for public display at the Hill City Visitor’s Center the middle of June 2021. The 6 ft. tall stained glass panel was created at Warrior’s Work Gallery (Randy Berger, owner) in their front window on Main Street so that the community and our visitors could watch the process and interact with the artist as she worked on the piece. The frame and base for the art piece was created by local welder and artist, Ron Diekman of Creative Metal Imagery. “True North” has been donated to the City of Hill City as public art and was moved to its home at City Hall in September of 2021.

The compass – where we’ve been and where we’re going as a community
The medicine wheel – for our Native American history
The water, forests and gold nuggets – for our mining history
The pasque flower – state flower
The pheasant feather- state bird



Run Time

23 minutes

Director's Bio

Owner, Iverson Productions, Cinematographer and photographer
Randal is a freelance cinematographer and photographer working through his company Iverson Productions. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications (Photography) from Black Hills State University and years of experience with commercial production in both still and motion. He is used to wearing many different hats, producing, directing, operating, lighting, sound, editing and stills. Some of the companies he has worked for include Lawrence and Schiller, National Geographic Television, PBS News Hour and Crow Ridge Productions. Randal does commercials for Black Hills Film Festival and helps with the technical aspects of the Festival.

Production Year


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