President Gestring Adds to the President’s Gallery from Stilwell Exhibit
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President Gestring Adds to the President’s Gallery from Stilwell Exhibit

Each year, the President of the University of South Dakota buys an art piece from the Stilwell gallery to display in the President’s Gallery outside the president’s office in Slagle Hall. This year, President Sheila Gestring chose “Between Sienna” by Jordyn Johnson.

“You know how art is such an individual thing, it just really spoke to me, the details and I thought it was very beautifully done,” Gestring said. “It just struck me, when I saw that one, I knew that was the one I wanted to choose for the gallery.”

Johnson is a freshman majoring in painting at USD.

“The painting is of Zoë Kravitz, and she has a show on Hulu, it’s called ‘High Fidelity.’ There’s so much love in it. So much music and everything. And it’s such a great show.” Johnson said. “High Fidelity” is one of her favorite shows.

“I chose the name ‘Between Sienna’ because to get the shade of her. I had to mix the main color sienna, or burnt sienna, and it’s just adding various shades of green or blue or red or yellow to get the between,” Johnson said.

President Gesting said she had a hard time deciding on only one piece from the Stilwell Art Exhibit for the President’s Gallery.

“There is such incredible work being displayed,” Gestring said.

Gestring said that one detail of the Johnson’s painting that caught her eye was the freckles.

“As a child, people would comment on my freckles so maybe in some deep way that appealed to me,” Gestring said.

The eyes of the painting was another detail Gestring mentioned.

“It almost looked like the painting was looking through you,” Gestring said.

“Having the president purchase my piece and being here gives me that sense of my art being here forever,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans on continuing to submit pieces to the shows.

“It just makes me feel like I can go somewhere, and this happening just gives me a little push,” Johnson said.

Johnson said this is the first piece she has sold.

“I like to think that art sort of represents a piece of hope, some inspiration and power to impact change. I think that’s sort of how the university inspires, and I hope as the leader of that organization I can reflect that in the greater community,” Gestring said.

The President’s Gallery and the Stilwell Art Exhibit are open to the public. The Stilwell Exhibit is open Monday thru Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The President’s Gallery contains art from USD’s previous presidents as well, Gestring has contributed three pieces to the collection. “Lost at Sea” by David Barnum in 2019, “Social Suicide” by Jonathan Purdy in 2020, and “Between Sienna”.