South Dakota Memorial Art Center

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Type of entity

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Authorized form of name

South Dakota Memorial Art Center

Parallel form(s) of name

  • South Dakota. Memorial Art Center
  • South Dakota. South Dakota Memorial Art Center
  • South Dakota State University. South Dakota Memorial Art Center

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Other form(s) of name

  • South Dakota Art Museum

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Description area

Dates of existence


The idea of an art center for South Dakota originated with the South Dakota Federation of Women’s Clubs when Mrs. Herbert Kenyon of Yankton was state president (1947-1949). At the state convention in 1950, a resolution was approved asking that a suitable building be erected, to be known as the South Dakota Federation of Women’s Clubs Memorial Art Center. / For fifty years the Federation had been influential in movements for the cultural development of this members and the state in which they live. The women had collected fine reproduction of painting, some originals, and art objects to be circulated and used for study by clubs. This collection was kept in Pierre in the home of Mrs. S.C. Polley, who, with several others, was active in developing the work. The Free Library Commission took over the storage when the collection became too large and had to be moved. As interest grew in these art treasures, the need for establishing a Memorial Art Center became apparent. / In December, 1948, the Pierre Women’s Club presented a resolution to the official board asking that the Federation sponsor the erection of a building, as “a memorial to the determined women who pioneered the women’s club movement in the state.” The resolution to establish such a memorial passed at the convention in Rapid City in October 1950, and a fund for the purpose was started. / To select a location, cities and institutions were asked to extend an invitation to the Federation. Five cities responded: Pierre, Huron, Spearfish, Vermillion, and Brookings. It was announced in April, 1955, that Brookings had been chosen as the site. The Regents of Education for South Dakota approved the placing of the Memorial Art Center on the State College campus on June 23, 1955. A fundraising campaign was launched and was successful in raising nearly $350,000. A federal grant of $166,666 was also obtained with the Federation contribution nearly $55,000. / Construction began in 1969 on the South Dakota State University campus and the building was dedicated in May 1970.


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  • Clipboard

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  • EAC

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