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The heavy snowfall on Oct. 4, 2013 was both a blessing and a curse to sculptor Masayuki Nagase, who is working on a public art project at Main Street Square. His work area, shown here, was for a time engulfed in snow drifts.

Sculptor Masayuki Nagase has worked in snow before, but he's never worked in so much at one time like he did after the Oct. 4, 2013 blizzard.

On the Monday after the snowstorm, Nagase started shoveling snow away from the Wind and Water sculptor project he's working on at Main Street Square.

He had to finish up the work he had started that summer — before winter really set in. 

"I needed to work on this part, so I would shovel it out, work, and move on to the next area," Nagase said. 

But while most found the snow to be a burden, Nagase saw at it as symbolic to the work he was doing in carving out the heritage and history of the Black Hills. 

"I could see the beautiful form of the snow; it was just like a sculpture," Nagase said. "It was kind of inspirational." 

Nagase said he knew well in advance that the snow was coming, but he didn't think it would have such drastic results. When it started blowing snow the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, he said he realized he was mistaken in overlooking the weather. 

"I hadn't seen snow in October in town," said Nagase, who's been working on the project since 2013. "I've realized that you just never know here." 

Nagase is back for his second summer in Rapid City, working hard to finish up this year's work sometime in mid-October. While he did bring back warmer clothing from his home in California, he's hoping there won't be a repeat of last year. But he's learned his lesson — that mother nature always always keeps us on our toes in South Dakota and we have to be ready for it. 

— Staff writer Jackson Bolstad

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