The University Libraries houses an eclectic assortment of artistic works on all three floors of the I. D. Weeks building. Under the central stairwell in the Academic Commons, the University Libraries and the University Art Galleries are pleased to feature exhibits of art by students as well as work of the larger public in the University Libraries Gallery.
In 1999, the University of South Dakota (USD) and University Art Galleries established the Northern Plains Contemporary Indian Art Collection. As with other University Art Galleries subcollections, this component is viewed as a study collection engaging the university community, and especially students, in a unique aesthetic and cultural perspective.
The University's Northern Plains Contemporary Indian Art Collection is funded upon the legacy of Oscar Howe, the internationally celebrated Yankonai Dakota artist who taught art here for twenty-five years. This exhibition is dedicated to Robert Penn, a 1972 graduate and Oscar Howe protégé. Penn, who died February 7, 1999, was widely recognized as the leading painter of his generation among Northern Plains Indian artists.
The USD Northern Plains Contemporary Indian Art Collection emphasizes Northern Plains contemporary paintings between the 1930s and the present and attempts to contextualize American Indian art in terms of its relationship to contemporary movements. Other portions of the collection are exhibited across campus.