South Dakota Art Museum looks to new building in future

Rylin Yerdon, Reporter

South Dakota State University is in the early stages of planning to build a replacement facility for the over 50-year-old South Dakota Art Museum.

The university is still in the process of getting an architecture firm on board with the project and confirming a budget for the construction, Dennis Hedge, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said. 

“We evaluate a number of things,” Hedge said. “What all needs to be in the project and how that might look, and then we’ll go through with thinking about what would be the optimal site location and various things that would stem from that.”

Specific plans for a location for the new facility have not yet been set in stone, Hedge said, but details will likely be released once an architecture firm has been chosen.

Once the new museum is built, the building that now houses the museum will get a new assignment.

“If and when we get a new South Dakota Art Museum, the current museum will be used for academic spaces as well as creative space for students and faculty to invest themselves in creative activities,” Hedge said. He declined to say what academic departments will use the new facility.

The project would be paid for by fundraising and donors, Hedge said. While it seems like a challenging goal, Steve Erpenbach, president and CEO of the SDSU Foundation, is optimistic.

“There’s people who have really identified themselves with the current art museum, and it’s a really strong interest of theirs,” Erpenbach said. “It’s no different than someone investing in scholarships, athletics or academic programs.”

Not only are donors fond of the South Dakota Art Museum, but students are appreciative of it as well.

“Aside from going as a visitor, I have a class there every Tuesday and Thursday,” Brianna Noonkester, a junior English major, said. “I really enjoy looking at the art. I really think it speaks on the history of our great state and area.”

The South Dakota Art Museum, located at 1036 Medary Ave. on the west side of campus, was built in 1970, according to SDSU’s official website. It is home to several collections by artists with connections to SDSU or the state. Paintings by Ada Caldwell, Harvey Dunn, Oscar Howe and others are on display.

A $1.8 million expansion and renovation was finished in 2002. The project added 8,555 square feet of display space, better access and storage.