Art Professor Emeritus David Holmes
Published: January 6, 2015
Unfortunately, we report the passing of Art Professor Emeritus David Holmes. David died Saturday, Dec. 27, he was 69 years old. David began his career at UW-Parkside in 1977. He served as chair of the Art Department throughout his career, most recently from 2002-2008.
In addition to his legacy as an art educator, the university is fortunate to have numerous examples of David’s work on display. Former dean of the College of Arts and Humanities Dean Yohnk commissioned David to create the “Theatrical Muse” near the entrance to the Black Box Theatre in the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities. David also painted the large mural at the top of the Student Center grand staircase in honor of the building’s expansion and renovation. His work can be found near the Chancellor’s Office elevator and at the entrance to the Archives and Area Research Center in Wyllie Hall. Earlier this year, David was honored with a Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award (link below).
A Journal Times story (link below) described his unique paintings and sculptures: His pieces – which range from a “mystical mechanical menagerie” of creatures to futuristic painted landscapes – are in collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum and Sheboygan’s Kohler Arts Center, as well as the Racine Art Museum, just to name a few.
From Associate Professor of Art and Department Chair Lisa Marie Barber:
David Holmes was a very special friend, colleague, and mentor to me and many. I credit so much of my happiness at Parkside with his belief in me as junior colleague and his continued support even after I received tenure and he retired. There have been several times – especially since I've been chair – that I've reached out for his advice, help, institutional history, you-name-it; his generous spirit was always there to provide balanced and gracious insight and encouragement. The loyalty I feel to the UW-Parkside Art Department has so much to do with him. He was its biggest fan, I think, and got us all believing and “fightin' for the cause” that is our department and mission…. More than that, I will miss having him at our nearly monthly TGIT get-togethers. I will miss his friendship, kind spirit, and great love of life.
From Art Professor Emeritus Alan Goldsmith:
It should be easy to write a line or two about David Holmes, but I’m afraid it isn’t. He is so much more than any of the insignificant words than I can add to a wonderful life and career. I knew David’s artwork long before I knew him. I saw and admired it in shows around the state – in particular at the Wustum Museum (now part of RAM). I often wondered about the person who made such marvelous art. On being hired as a member of the UW-Parkside Art Department in 1997, I was delighted to find that David and his art were one – equally funny, sophisticated (in the best way), and full of the human spirit that connects us all. David was not only a wonderful colleague but also a great friend. He invited me into his home on multiple occasions and welcomed me into his family. I know that his wife Cathy and their children Josh, Raena, and Fritz will always be part of my life. He is so missed.
The Professor David V. Holmes Art Scholarship Fund has been established through Educators Credit Union for those wishing to contribute to a memorial.
Journal Times stories:
David Holmes’ life
Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award