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Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute

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Collection Summary

Title Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute
Span Dates 1991-2010
Bulk Dates
Quantity 13 boxes, 6 linear ft.
Printed Material
Location     Archives and Special Collections, University Libraries, University of South Dakota.

For approximately ten years beginning in the early 1960’s, Oscar Howe offered an annual summer art program for Native Americans through the University of South Dakota.  Howe’s primary purpose in establishing this program was to provide high quality education for talented Indian artists who aspired to a professional career in art.  His summer art program specifically promoted the integration of traditional tribal culture with contemporary mainstream art.  While Howe’s summer classes were small (around ten), a  number of Institute alumni have gone on to successful careers in art, including Arthur Amiotte, Don Montileaux, Colleen Cutschall, Herman Red Elk, and Robert Penn.  For health reasons, Howe ceased offering his summer art program in 1972.

The University has long recognized the need to continue Howe’s effort to educate promising Native American artists.  Therefore, in the summer of 1991, the College of Fine Arts joined with the Institute of American Indian Studies, USD’s Upward Bound Program, and the Oscar Howe Art Center in Mitchell, South Dakota to re-establish the Oscar Howe Native American Summer Art Institute. 

The Institute’s curriculum emphasizes art fundamentals including drawing, design, and art history.  It also provides supervised studios in the areas of painting, sculpture, and printmaking.  Evening and weekend activities include art films, field trips, visiting artist presentations, and selected events coordinated with other campus groups.  The Institute concludes with an art exhibition in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

The staff for the Institute includes recognized Native American instructors assisted by USD faculty and students.

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