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David Dahlquist

David Dahlquist is a nationally-recognized public artist and teacher. His commissions for private, public, and institutional clients range from tilework and sculpture to major architectural installations. Since 1988, he has completed more than 50 large-scale public commissions across the country. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Art with honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York. In 1983 he became the Artist-in-Residence at the Des Moines Art Center. David also served as an Assistant Professor in the Art and Design Department at ISU from 1987 to 1993. In 1994, David established Dahlquist Clayworks, Inc., which became a part of RDG Planning & Design in 2004, of which he is now a Partner. He leads RDG Dahlquist Art Studio, a comprehensive design and fabrication studio with a staff of eight professional artists. David also works collaboratively with many different artists and has been a consultant on numerous multidisciplinary design teams. His contributions have influenced the site selection, planning, programming, and content of many projects. These projects are fabricated by RDG Dahlquist Art Studio and an extensive network of other skilled subcontractors. David and the RDG Dahlquist Art Studio have completed several new installations for the Art-in-Transit program of the Iowa Department of Transportation and are currently working on two new rest areas for the Missouri Department of Transportation, integrating site-specific history and context-sensitive design within the new facilities. David is a storyteller whose work is about creating meaningful experiences for the public. Dahlquist’s work depends upon many different elements, “orchestrated” in a way that the public is welcomed into and moved by the experience. Recently, David received the 2009 University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus. It recognizes an exemplary record of professional leadership and a career of extraordinary accomplishment. This award equally recognized David for his career-long support of developing artists, university and community initiatives, and art education.

Mediums: No specialty noted.

Contact Information

Dahlquist Art Studio 316 SW 5th Street Des Moines, IA 50309 Tel 515.284.1675 Fax 515.246.0459

For more information, visit the artist's website at

Art Pieces

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Tree of Life , 2007

by David Dahlquist


Mediums: Metal, LED Lights, Paint

Location: Downtown; Southeast corner of 24th and L

Owner: City of Omaha

Additional Information: With respect to the Tree and the meaning or symbolism to the medallions, in brief, there are seven images that repeat at different sizes. The images represent themes which are cross-cultural and shared in the design motifs found in artwork and architecture of the four ethnicities (Czech, Polish, Croation, and Mexican) historically associated with South Omaha.

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