Newswise — “The first time I was actually on the stage, I fell in love with it.”

Tatiana Chance ’23 is pursuing a major in secondary English education and a minor in theatre at Augustana University. The New York native hopes to one day teach others the art she loves.

Now Chance has that chance — to spread her love of theatre to the city of Sioux Falls through the City’s 2020 Arts Task Force.

“I really like Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls has given me a lot and it has changed a lot of who I am as a person and I want to give back to the community,” said Chance.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken announced the creation of the task force in late January. The group was formed to make a recommendation to the city on how it can improve efficiency with the current programs and organizations it supports, as well as how the city can best support the growth of arts and culture in Sioux Falls.

The group’s facilitator, Janet Brown, is largely known to the Augustana community as the former chair of its performing and visual arts department. But the South Dakota native has an extensive background as an artist across the country and is known for being an arts advocate, philanthropist, lobbyist, educator and public administrator.

Brown said, “We’re (the city is) spending all this money on arts activities because we believe them to be good for the city and they’ve proven to be good for the city, but we don’t really have any accountability within city government in terms of making those recommendations and researching them and having some kind of understanding about what all that means in the long term.”

Brown said the creation of the arts task force is really about how Sioux Falls deals with the arts on a community level, not just with one or two organizations directly — it’s about the residents of Sioux Falls and the visitors who come here.

“We were very intentional in that we wanted it (the arts task force) to be a diverse group of citizens, diverse in every way — age, gender, race, background and their involvement in the arts,” said Brown.

Chance was one of 12 members asked to be on the task force and represents an important voice in the city as the only student and youngest member.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction, being able to see what other people think instead of just one or two people deciding. It’s going to be very helpful having this team where everyone can have a say in what’s going on," Chance said.

For the 19-year-old, the opportunity provides a platform to advocate for what she and the younger population needs to want to stay in Sioux Falls, to lay down roots in the city after high school or college.

“I’m a very artsy person. I love that way of expressing myself,” said Chance. “One of the big struggles I had about staying in Sioux Falls is that there aren’t any theatre opportunities, really past 18. All of it is youth theatre, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to bring that to their attention.”

These types of challenges are what Brown also hopes to address — creating an environment where artists can live and thrive.

The group will have two meetings in February and March. The task force is expected to give their final recommendation to the city in May.