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Press Release
Join us for a public exhibit and reception of “Ongoing Up-ending,” created by Leekyung Kang, 2021 SURF artist in residence


LEAD, SD— In the spring of 2021, Leekyung Kang, a celebrated mixed media artist, began her residency at Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) by touring the facility and speaking with scientists about their research. The culmination of her residency is “Ongoing Up-ending,” a collection inspired by the world-leading science taking place nearly a mile underground at SURF. 

“The SURF Artist-in-Residence Program gives artists in any field a unique opportunity to explore SURF’s rich history, fascinating infrastructure and world-class science,” said Gina Gibson, coordinator of the SURF Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program. “We encourage the public to attend this exhibit and see the artwork inspired by SURF.”

Join us for a reception with the artist on Sunday, Oct. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. MDT at the Lead Deadwood Arts Center (LDAC) at 309 W Main Street in Lead, South Dakota. This free event is cohosted by the LDAC and SURF; light refreshments will be served. Masks are required for this event. The exhibit will be on display from Oct. 17 through Dec. 1. 

Working primarily with painting, printmaking and sculpture, Kang’s work has been exhibited in South Korea; Doha, Qatar; and cities throughout the United States. She has participated in several residencies internationally, including the Fountainhead fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and the Vermont Studio Center. 

Kang’s artistic practice is inextricably tied to the landscapes around her, landscapes she often describes as stratified with physical, invented and imagined layers. Her portfolio explores spaces including the metropolis of Seoul, South Korea, and the evolving architecture of Providence, Rhode Island. Often, she uses Google Earth and GPS programs to help her visualize and imagine inaccessible spaces.

"With this exhibition, I attempt to upend the multiple worlds we live in, in order to question: where to enter and exit? I want to tackle the complexity of the world by using digital and real-time experience," Kang said. "Through my art practice, I want to capture the perpetual transformation of the space that we are living in by straddling the boundaries between figuration and abstraction." 

“When an artist is influenced by place, like Professor Kang is, the work becomes the direct result of the artist’s experience in that place. And there aren’t many places as unique as SURF,” Gibson said.  

Created in 2019, the SURF AiR program invites artists to create work inspired by SURF, America’s underground science laboratory. The SURF AiR program is a partnership between SURF and Black Hills State University. 

SURF is operated by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) with funding from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Our mission is to advance world class science and inspire learning across generations. Visit SURF at

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Constance Walter
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