Artists reconnect with their alma mater at USD

Artists reconnect with their alma mater at USD The University of South Dakota Art Galleries proudly announces the opening of the first major Art Department Alumni Show since 1999.

Titled "Reconnecting: A USD Art Alumni Exhibition," the show presents work by over 100 artists who attended the university over the past 35 years.�The show is open Nov. 1-21 in the Main Gallery of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts free of charge to the public weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends.

According to Cory Knedler, chair of the USD art department, exhibits like this are an important way to keep in contact. Knedler, who holds a master of fine arts degree from USD, indicates the show represents a new era for the department.

"I understand the importance of a connection with your alma mater. Alumni are always curious about what is going on back on campus because they invested so much time and energy and continue to carry the title of the institution on their resumes long after leaving the campus, not to mention that some of the first memories as young adults, on their own for the first time in their lives, were made right here."� As the new department chair, Knedler sees many positive changes on the horizon including improvements in the facilities, curricular innovations, and new faculty.

Over 300 USD art alumni were contacted about the exhibition, and many of the 100-plus who will participate offered reminiscences about their time at the university.

Dennis Kuronen, director of graphic design communications, digital design and the master's program in digital design at Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, PA, said, "Having graduated in 1969, I am one of the old-timers, I am sure, but it is interesting to see that a couple of the faculty I know are still here, Lloyd and Martin. I didn't study with either of them but met them later. I was of the generation that saw the transition from Oscar Howe and Wilber Stilwell to the brief experiment with unstructured studios in 1967-68 and then the arrival of Bob Aldern and the others in 1969. Great people, all of them."

"Reconnecting" contains a wide variety of art styles and techniques reflecting the various avenues taken by alumni since leaving USD. In some cases, artists have adopted new media or explored time-tested materials; as a result, the exhibit ranges from computer art to stone carving.

According to Knedler, it is encouraging to see such broad diversity in form and content since it confirms that students leave USD prepared to adapt to new experiences and continue to grow as artists.

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