South Dakota’s women artists recognized in Congress

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South Dakota’s women artists recognized in Congress Empty South Dakota’s women artists recognized in Congress

Post  Ten ten on 2/9/2009, 1:18 pm

Press release by Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, (D-SD)

I am proud to be an original cosponsor of a resolution demonstrating the commitment of the House of Representatives to promoting National Women’s History Month, which this year celebrated female artists and their contribution of originality, beauty, and imagination to the world of art. South Dakota has a strong tradition of women in the arts and I would like to thank South Dakotans for the Arts for its work promoting the arts and supporting women artists in my home state. Women in South Dakota have done the work of art throughout our history, beginning with our First Peoples and continuing today. Native American women practice traditional art forms passed from generation to generation, adapting changes in materials and technique to add beauty and new texture to the traditional art. Their work includes the quillwork and quilts of Alice New Holy Blue Legs and Nellie Star Boy Menard, as well as the contemporary silver of Linda Szabo and paintings of Joanne Bird.

Some of South Dakota’s pioneer women artists arrived in the Dakota Territory after studying at major schools of art in New York, Boston, Chicago and Paris. They helped to bring the artistic disciplines of the East and Europe to the Northern Plains. As new colleges and universities were opened in what is present-day South Dakota, women helped to found departments of art and joined the teaching faculty. Grace French, born in 1858, arrived in Rapid City, Dakota Territory in 1885. She painted the remarkably beautiful landscapes of the area with color and subtlety, adding poetry and beauty to the popular imagination of the Plains and the West. Ada Bertha Caldwell was born in 1869 and graduated from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. She accepted a position at Springfield College at Yankton, South Dakota. In 1900, she founded the Department of Art at what is now South Dakota State University, and was a teacher and major influence for Harvey Dunn, a noted illustrator and painter of pioneer life on the South Dakota prairie. South Dakotans also celebrate the many talented women in literature who have enriched our lives and deepened our understanding of a sense of place and history with their stories. American favorites from South Dakota include Laura Ingalls Wilder, Linda Hasselstrom, Kathleen Norris and Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve. For these few examples and numerous others, I am pleased to join with my colleagues to honor women artists and authors. May their contributions continue to provide joy, education, and inspiration to future generations on the Northern Plains and throughout our Nation.
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