The first Creative Arts Festival was held May 6, 7, and 8, 1960. Created by Dean of Fine Arts Warren M. (Doc) Lee, the festival included artists, composers, writers, and poets from the region and included art exhibitions, concerts, performances, readings and theatre productions. Dr. Lee’s motivation was to gather a community of creativity and to allow artists “to get better acquainted with one another and to see and hear what others are doing.”
In a letter penned by Oscar Howe to the Joslyn Art Museum director dated March 17, 1960, Howe comments, “eventually, I think we can bring about through the University a Creative Arts Colony in the Black Hills, as a place for creative workers of this region.” Unlike the Black Hills Playhouse, which had been operating for 14 years before Howe’s letter, the Creative Arts Colony did not come to be.
The Archives and Special Collections has records for the Creative Arts Festival through 1966.
– USD Photograph Collection, Series 10, Box 57, 6915.4
– Warren M. Lee Papers, Box 23 and 24, Richardson Collection