wa sa wak pa’la


The University of South Dakota is nationally accredited and the only College of Fine Arts in the state offering master’s degrees with full accreditation through NASAD, NASM and NAST. For more than 125 years, the USD College of Fine Arts has encouraged students to pursue their chosen professional fields in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. The College of Fine Arts produces over 100 events every year, and as a result, there is a vibrant atmosphere of creativity and a drive for artistic excellence.

The binding element of the works in this exhibition relate directly to the relationship between the geography of the city of Vermillion and the campus and art department of the University of South Dakota. The complex medium and design of the work are a demonstration of human diversity in visual communication and a reflection of the influence of land, time and place.

Art and human geography have long been intertwined. As early as 14,000 years ago, people scratched marks into rocks that appear to be at once art and cartography. When landscape painting emerged in Flanders and Northern Italy during the Renaissance, they did so hand in hand with advances in architecture, map-making, navigation and forms of land ownership that marked both European imperialism and mercantile capitalism. Both landscape paintings and maps were hung on the walls of the new capitalist classes to signal knowledge, power and the literal ownership of land.

Art and geography have, in other words, together been implicated in transformations in the ways we represent and conceptualize our world. Art is part of the practice of dwelling in and on the earth. How, then, do artists today engage with the 21st century geography of a world in motion, one in which national borders are (arguably) becoming less important? How, in other words, do artists respond to a world in which the links between groups of people and places are less clearly defined and bounded?