Last week, Vermillion artist Klaire Lockheart was named Miss Art World South Dakota, a title bestowed upon her by the original Miss Art World, Los Angeles artist Katherine Cooksey. Lockheart was named Miss Art World South Dakota during a closed ceremony (due to COVID 19) at the University of South Dakota on March 10.

I was honored to receive this tile on the campus where I earned my MFA in painting, said Lockheart. I am elated to represent our state. Women are vastly under-represented in the art world, which is why I strive to create impactful artwork and share it publicly.

As an artist, Lockheart is known for creating representational oil on canvas portraits that address gender identity and feminism while incorporating her sense of humor. She also explores gender issues in her fiber art. Her latest works on currently on display at the Washington Pavilion in the show 75% Packard, 25% Lockheart. Her art can also be viewed online at: www.klairelockheart.com.

Lockheart rose to the attention of the original Miss Art World, LA performance artist Katherine Cooksey, in recent years and was selected by her to receive this honor.

Katherine is known for her innovative performance art in the Los Angeles area, and I am honored to be included from so far away in Vermillion, said Lockheart. I was a guest on the Miss Art World Podcast last autumn, and we discussed collaborating so I could become Miss Art World South Dakota to bring her message of empowering women in the arts to the Midwest.

Lockheart hopes her new title will help shed light on female and South Dakota artists.

I am certainly looking forward to making appearances as Miss Art World South Dakota! said Lockheart. This last year, all my art events were virtual, but I cant wait for when I can attend in-person receptions and art events. In addition to promoting my own artwork, I especially want to publicly support the other hard-working artists from South Dakota.

Female artists are under-represented in the art world, said Lockheart.

In Europe and the United States, women were traditionally banned from formally studying art, and it was very rare for women to be permitted to become artists until the 20th century, she said. Women artists still face obstacles today, and so it is important that they receive recognition and representation. Art institutions should represent the communities they serve, and this is why I am dedicated to uplifting women artists.

A 2018 joint study by Art Net and the organization In Other Words found that only 11% of acquisitions by prominent American museums are artwork made by women. A 2019 study led by Chad Topaz of Williams College found that only 12.5% of artists featured in major museums are women.

At the ceremony where the Miss Art World South Dakota title was bestowed upon her, Lockheart attempted to shed light on the plight of women by creating a special dress to wear for the event.

For the coronation, I created a gown with gold fabric I printed by hand, Lockheart said. To make the original printed pattern, I made props and costumes for plastic dinosaur toys so they appear to fulfill the traditional roles of artists and models. The wearable art features a raptor photographer and a spinosaurus painter. After photographing the scenes, I used the silkscreen process to transfer my design to the fabric.

Lockheart sometimes uses dinosaurs in her artwork as an analogy for the perseverance of women because she said, Women have been fighting for equal rights since the dawn of time.

The dress Lockheart created for the coronation will be on display at the Washington Pavilion in April for the Arts Night 2021: Catalyst auction exhibition.

To learn more about the Miss Art World project, visit missartworld.com.

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