UW-Parkside Emeritus Professor David Holmes was an award-winning faculty member for more than 30 years. His work has been shown nationally; although, most alumni and community members would recognize him for his pieces that are on public display around campus and our community in southeast Wisconsin. Of course, he was more than a talented and prolific visual artist. According to his wife, Cathleen Holmes, "He was an encouraging teacher and he really loved the act of sharing what he'd learned with others. He was a facilitator of creativity for other people." This beautiful statement gracefully sums up the repeating theme of the art exhibit currently on display in the Mathis Gallery, "A Professor's Legacy: Students of David V. Holmes."
Fifteen UW-Parkside alumni share Professor Holmes' legacy through an example of visual art and the stories told. Each piece is very different and a bit of a surprise. It is obvious Professor Holmes' did not push his colorful and layered aesthetic on his students. Although, a theme that is repeated throughout each piece was his ability to classically teach art, and encourage individual, creative expression.
Walking through the show and reading the artists' statements is where you find more common threads, such as shared memories of time spent at the UW-System's Pigeon Lake Field Station in northern Wisconsin. Or stories of changing majors, career directions and other paradigm shifts that were nurtured and inspired by Professor Holmes' teaching or simply by how he lived his life. Linda Wawiorka shares in her statement, "My most favorite quote of his is, "Don't be a color coward!" and I still say it to myself quite regularly. He had this uncanny way of questioning what I was doing, or why I was doing something a certain way, that in turn, gave me the ability to reach inside and ask myself the very same questions on my own. I went from asking why, to saying, why not? I think the gift that he gave to me was artistic freedom."
Door of the Toad, 2017
by Lisa Dukowitz
Through more than 30 years as an art professor at UW-Parkside, David V. Holmes left a creative legacy on campus and in the lives of former students, colleagues, and fellow artists. UW-Parkside invites you to remember David with a gift to the David V. Holmes Endowed Art Scholarship. Your gift will continue David's legacy as an art educator by providing vital support to UW-Parkside art students.
Parkside's Past and Fun Editor