The Art of Giving

Posted on June 26, 2023

What makes a house into a home?

For many, artwork is essential. It can be anything from a child’s drawing on the fridge to an original painting. What’s important is that it’s personally meaningful.

As CHS and Koch Hazard Architects planned the new Children’s Home Shelter for Family Safety, we worked to make it feel to guests like a home, rather than an institution. And the extraordinary donation of art from fine art nature photographer Paul Schiller, and his wife and business partner, Koni, helped us succeed more than we dreamed possible.

The Schillers became involved after touring the previous Children’s Inn facility on Western Avenue, where they saw a young woman in distress arrive at the shelter. They were moved to donate photographs for the new facility. The Schillers could have given a few photos—but instead they donated 32 pieces of art plus framing ($70,000 total). Many are colorful macro shots of the natural world, while others feature panoramic views of iconic South Dakota landmarks.

Koni Schiller, who is a retired cardiac nurse, understands the power of art to change lives. “It gives them a pathway to escape the pain and find some happiness,” she says.

“When people are going through a traumatic part of their lives, if they can find something to grab hold of that’s positive, it allows them to picture a better life,” adds Paul.

The Schillers’ gift helped inspire other artists to contribute and other donors to fund more artwork. The results shine on nearly every wall within the 48,000-square-foot facility, infusing rooms and hallways with beauty, warmth and wonder.

“It’s an art gallery,” says Koni. “It literally is a story to be told, giving people pride in where they’re at right now. And it just adds to their healing process.”

“It’s one of the finer art collections in Sioux Falls, and for all the right reasons. And that’s what I feel very good about,” says Paul.

“The thing that is unique in our philanthropy is that we can give art. Not everybody can do that. Instead of writing a check, we say, ‘We’d like to provide a program of art for your facility.’ That does a couple of things. One, it provides the art that they may not have been able to have. And it then provides a special place for the healing process. That’s

thrilling for us, that we’re able to do that.”

Works by these artists hang on the walls of Children’s Home Shelter for Family Safety (formerly Children’s Inn)

  • Sheila Agee
  • Jon Crane
  • Danielle Clouse Gast
  • Mary Groth
  • Brad Kringen
  • Nancyjane Huehl
  • Lee Leuning
  • Eyob Mergia
  • Paul Schiller
  • Sherry Treeby
  • Jennifer White