VERMILLION, S.D. -- In 1977, John A. Day, former chairperson of the Department of Art and former dean of the College of Fine Arts at The University of South Dakota, established University Art Galleries to serve artists and audiences in South Dakota and the region. Now, the Main Gallery in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts will bear his name.
James W. Abbott, president of The University of South Dakota, announced the University's intention to honor Day at USD's 80th summer commencement ceremony on July 30. Day, who delivered the keynote address during summer commencement at the DakotaDome, has served The U in several capacities for more than three decades. A plaque will hang outside the wall of John A. Day Gallery recognizing the dean emeritus for his years of dedication to art and academics at USD.
"John's reputation as a sculptor expands beyond that of an artist," stated Abbott. "He has shaped the lives of generations of students as a teacher; created everlasting bonds in the community as a director; and left an indelible mark on the USD campus."
Day, previous director of the University Art Galleries as well as curator of the University's distinguished Oscar Howe Collection, joined USD's faculty in 1976 as chair of the Department of Art. In addition to serving as dean of the College of Fine Arts from 1980 until 2004, he was also USD Vice President for Academic Affairs during the 1984-85 academic year. His expertise on the life and art of renowned Native American artist Oscar Howe was instrumental in establishing the Oscar Howe Archives and Oscar Howe Memorial Association at USD. Day has lectured and written on Howe for more than 30 years as well as organized several Howe exhibits. A recipient of the South Dakota Governor’s Award for Outstanding Support for the Arts by an Individual, Day holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of Notre Dame. In 2003, he received the Western American Award from the Center for Western Studies at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.
As director of the University Art Galleries since its beginning in 1977, Day oversaw more than 50 major exhibitions, including several nationally touring exhibits, as well as more than 735 on campus contemporary and historical exhibits featuring works by international, national, regional and local artists. University Art Galleries at The U is responsible for the operation of the John A. Day Gallery (formerly the Main Gallery), Gallery 110, the Oscar Howe Art gallery, several on campus satellite exhibition spaces, the University Permanent Collection, the Campus Beautification Project, and touring exhibition programs. A photograph of Day is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/John_Day.jpg.
Eddie Welch, currently director of University Art Galleries, said that Day will be honored by the College of the Fine Arts at a reception during the Alumni Exhibition in the John A. Day Gallery on Friday, Oct. 9.
"John has been a tireless advocate for the arts in South Dakota for more than three decades," said Welch. "This is a tremendous honor for John, which will forever connect his legacy to the University of South Dakota."
For more about University Art Galleries, visit www.usd.edu/cfa/Art/UniversityGalleries/tableofcontents.cfm on the Web or please contact Welch at (605) 677-3177 or e-mail Eddie.Welch@usd.edu.