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University Libraries

Setting the Tone

By Katy Kelly

What makes a home a home and a place feel like yours? In my opinion, it’s art. After all, the saying goes, “Earth without art is just ‘eh.’”

I have always been enamored of the art featured on almost every wall of Roesch Library. The Libraries have a long-standing program to collect and curate art for its spaces — a commitment very important to Dean Kathy Webb. 

The collection on display includes pieces of varied sizes and materials, reflecting our community; artworks are created primarily by University of Dayton students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends. Featured artists include Willis “Bing” Davis, Jean Koeller, Andy Snow, Suki Kwon, John Emery ’66, and Brother A. Joseph Barrish, S.M. ’50. The latest acquisitions were purchased with an anonymous gift to the Libraries art fund and come from the exhibit Black Life as Subject Matter II, curated by Davis. 

A recent installation on the second floor features large-format paintings by longtime Libraries staff member Jane Dunwoodie. As a student at the Dayton Art Institute in 1972, she first sketched her works onto raw canvas and then stained them with acrylics. During her tenure in the UD Libraries, Dunwoodie has stewarded the art collection to what it is today. She thoughtfully arranges each acquisition to showcase diverse subjects and fit the space’s mood.

When students, faculty, staff and community members come to the library, we want it to feel comfortable, welcoming and uniquely UD. A popular colloquial exclamation is, “If these walls could talk—” 

In the University Libraries, they do. Without words and gestures, art is able to channel the same sense of welcome, comfort and inclusion that our service-minded faculty and staff do.

Jane Dunwoodie will retire on March 1 after 24 years of service at the University of Dayton. Dunwoodie has made the library feel like home not only through artwork, but through her connections with colleagues, her passion for creativity and her giving spirit (she also always has chocolate). The featured image in this blog post is her painting "Untitled," 1973, acrylic stain on raw canvas, located in Concourse D on the second floor.

— Katy Kelly is an associate professor and the University Libraries’ coordinator of marketing and engagement. Her favorite piece of art in the library is located on the west wall of the fifth floor — Vanessa A. Sanchez’s "Distractions." You can view a portion of the art collection on eCommons

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