VERMILLION, S.D. -- Oscar Howe, a nationally-renowned artist and former professor of art at The University of South Dakota, was honored recently with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Allan Houser Legacy Award.
Howe’s daughter, Inge Dawn Maresh Howe, accepted the award on June 4 at the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts' (SWAIA) reception in New Mexico. Others present for the prestigious award ceremony included Jim Maresh, husband of Inge Dawn Maresh Howe, and their children Kim, Jeff and Trent; John A. Day, retired dean of the College of Fine Arts at USD; and Edward Welch, director of the University Art Galleries at The U.
The award recognizes the contributions made by distinguished Native American artists to Native arts and Native culture. Howe received the award due to his flagship involvement in the modern Native American art movement in the 1960s and 1970s, and his pioneering creative innovation for Native American artists.
Bruce Bernstein, Executive Director of SWAIA, remarked during the presentation of the award, that Howe’s insistency on individual creative expression during this era paved the way for generations of Native Americans to create art with parameters and boundaries. He also noted that Howe challenged the traditional Indian painting style popularized by the Santa Fe Indian School decades earlier.
Howe, an internationally Yanktonais Sioux artist, joined the USD faculty in 1957. Soon after, the South Dakota State Legislature created the Institute of American Indian Studies at USD. Howe spent 23 years as a member of the faculty at USD retiring in 1980, three years before his death. In addition to the prestige he brought to The U, the institution also benefitted from his growing collection. In the 1960s, USD established the Oscar Howe Gallery to showcase the artist’s work with the general public. Located in Old Main on the USD campus, the Oscar Howe Gallery is open to the public six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 1 to 5 p.m. More information is available at www.usd.edu/cfa/Art/UniversityGalleries/oscarhowegallery.cfm.