1948 - 2004
Dan Kiacz (1948-2004) was a distinguished faculty member of the University of Oklahoma School of Art for over 31 years. He inspired and instructed many, many students during that time. Through his teaching and creative work, Dan had a tremendous impact on the School of Art, the University of Oklahoma, the State of Oklahoma and the nation.
Considered one of the country’s most outstanding printmakers and artists in an academic environment, Kiacz held a BFA and MFA from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and had exhibited his work throughout the U.S., Europe and Mexico. Among his special projects were three murals in Carnegie Hall and Old Science Hall on the University of Oklahoma’s Parrington Oval. Professor Kiacz, who came to the University of Oklahoma in 1973, won almost all of the University’s teaching awards, including the Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching, the OU Student Association’s Outstanding Faculty Award for the College of Fine Arts, and the Irene and Julian J. Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts Award.
Kiacz was the printmaking advisor for the Oklahoma Arts Institute in both the high school and summer programs and the Adult Fall Institutes for many years. For two years, he was a principal site coordinator for SummerWind, a highly successful celebration of the arts begun in Norman, Oklahoma in 1992 and sponsored by the University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts.
The recipient of numerous juried awards, purchase awards, and commissions, Kiacz’s playful prints of folk tales from the Mexican/Hispanic American Southwest often involved animals or re-tell multicultural myths. In his Artist’s Statement, he explained:
“My images come from my home, the Southwest. They are a combination of the work seen through the eyes of a child and the harmony we seek throughout our lives. Through the use of color and texture, humor and seriousness, I seek to convey the sense of harmony, joy and wonderment that is lost in most of us between childhood and becoming an adult. Yet we seek these “child’s eyes” for all our lives-to be whole again, to deal with the moment, to find joy in all.”
Following Kiacz’s death in April 2004 at the age of 56, the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents dedicated the lobby of the School of Art in his memory. The art school is currently raising money to establish an endowed memorial fund in Kiacz’s honor.