South Dakota Art Museum full of surprises

Tiffany Haynes

Tiffany Haynes

Lynn Verschoor, the director of the South Dakota Art Museum, took time out of her very busy schedule to talk about the South Dakota Art Museum, her role at the museum and the exhibits that will take place.

Verschoor started at the museum in 1999 as the director. When she started, the museum had been closed for one year for restorations. The museum opened again in 2000, after a $1.8 million expansion. The expansion included the gift store, another exhibit room and storage for the museum’s 6,500 collection pieces.

The museum is affiliated with SDSU, but does not receive funding from them. The $1.8 million for the expansion was donated from private investors with the exception of a few small grants. This money covered the actual building, but not any of the furniture or the moveable walls. The money for the furniture and moveable walls had to be donated, as well.

One of Verschoor’s main jobs is to write grants in order to be able to purchase things for the museum. Recently, she wrote and received money from a grant enabling the museum to purchase specially-made cabinets for their collections. Through grant money, the museum has also been able to purchase picture hangers.

Harvey Dunn was a student at SDSU in 1901, when the college was known as the South Dakota Agriculture College. He studied drawing and met Professor Ada B. Caldwell, who encouraged him to enroll at the Chicago Art Institute.

In 1950, Harvey Dunn donated 42 original paintings to SDSU. Women from the group General Federation of Women’s Clubs sold Dunn reproductions for over 15 years to raise a small amount of money to get the museum on people’s minds. Finally, the South Dakota Art Museum opened in 1970, to house the Dunn collection. To date, the museum has 107 original works by Dunn. Dunn’s paintings show women as strong, hard-working individuals. He has a great knack for making his paintings jump off the canvas and affect the on-looker.

The museum rotates exhibits and typically gets 12 to 17 new exhibits every year. Currently, the museum is showing: “The American Flag in Native American Art”

At the end of the nineteenth century, Native Americans from many different tribes used flag imagery as a design element in their art, clothing, and crafts. While some of these objects were produced for sale or exchange with European Americans, there is compelling evidence that many of these artifacts were used, worn, and treasured by Native Americans themselves. This exhibit explores different types of American flag imagery used in Native American art. This collection will be on display until Aug. 6, 2006.

“The Marghab Collection”

An amazing array of the legacy of the Marghab Linen collection will be displayed in this extraordinary exhibit. On view are different styles of Marghab’s embroidery patterns. This compilation of linens is a broad example of what the South Dakota Art Museum’s permanent collection has to offer.

“William Thielen: One Step Closer”

William Thielen feels his work is about looking for emotional truth in a post-modern world. He says that when creating pictorial or sculptural objects, it is risky to trust the intuitive nature of emotions and the intellectual information that came from observation. To overcome this risk, he works in the language of abstraction. Thielen creates tension through his works by thrusting opposites together. Viewers must work through metaphorical language to find the truth in the works in order to resolve this tension.

“South Dakota Art Museum Collection”

The South Dakota Art Museum has over 6,000 works in its permanent collection. Visitors will have a chance to take a look inside that collection with this exhibit that will showcase works selected by the Museum’s staff.

“South Dakota Artist Series”

Marian Henjum-Watercolors: Marian Henjum views her artistic abilities as a gift. She says she is an artist because her body and soul want and need to portray what she sees and share with others. Henjum works mainly in watercolor and reveals that she is inspired by her surroundings and uses the elements of design, line, shape, color, texture and form to create semi-abstract interpretations of what she sees.

Jerry Hauck-Wood Creations:

Jerry Hauck primarily works with wood as his medium of choice. He designs and assembles one-of-a-kind organic, freeform furniture and sculptures. The pieces he creates are sculptural, retain the nature of the wood, and are effective as furniture.

The South Dakota Artist Series enables viewers to see and purchase art. This is a good way for artists to show the work and to make a little money at the same time. Marian Henjum and Jerry Hauck will be at the artists’ reception on April 28 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. with a chance to meet the artists at 5:30 p.m.

Lynn Verschoor does a program called “Growth Thru Art,” which is a six-week program for developmentally disabled adults. She has been doing this program for six years and says “it’s just so much fun.” She works closely with Advance.

“Disabilities dissolve away and what’s left is really enthusiastic artists?it’s magic,” said Verschoor.

“We try to highlight regional artists,” said Verschoor. The art museum’s gift shop is littered with great gifts created by artists from the state of South Dakota. There are amazing finds and everything is fairly affordable on a college budget.

The museum also has international merchandise for sale. Zeno Wicks, a plant science professor, will often buy things on his international travels and then donate them to the museum. The museum then sells the merchandise in the international section of the gift shop. The gift shop, managed by Pam Adler, has seen sales increase by 111 percent.

The museum has an excellent group of volunteers, who enable the museum to accomplish many things.

The Bamboo Orchestra will give a public performance on Friday, March 31, at 8 p.m. Makoto Yabuki founded the Bamboo Orchestra in 1994, they are based out of Japan and France. The ensemble participated in the 1998 Fifth World Bamboo Conference in Costa Rica. The Bamboo Orchestra plays a unique palette of more than twenty bamboo intruments of Japan and Asia. As described by the group, bamboo music transcends all ethnic identities, personalities, and multitudes of music knowledge and genres when listeners face the bamboo and its resonating sound. The Bamboo Orchestra’s performance will be at the Performing Arts Center, admission is free for SDSU students.

Information from the South Dakota Art Museum Newsletter was used in this article.

#1.884578:1786569456.jpg:artmuseum01_th.jpg:The South Dakota Art museum is located at Medary Ave. at Harvey Dunn St.: