Detail of multi-colored textile

Ruth Davis Design Gallery

The Ruth Davis Design Gallery is an exhibition space focused on the processes and results of design. Exhibitions include national, international makers, and design students at UW–Madison. Visiting the gallery is free and open to the public.

History of the Design Gallery

Ruth Davis in 1967

During her 32-year career in the School, Ruth Danielson Davis (BS ’31, MS ’40, MFA ’76) developed the artistic talents of thousands of students and exhibited her artwork across the world. Appointed to the Related Art Department (now Design Studies) in 1943, Davis taught “Fundamentals of Design,” and authored a textbook to accompany it. Her advanced elective courses included “3-D Design,” “History of American Interiors,” and the and the laboratory portion of Helen Allen’s course on decorative textiles.

Davis was futuristic, as well as grounded, in viewing the natural environment as the source for sound design thinking. She was concerned with green and sustainable design 50 years before they became known as environmental design concepts.

Ruth Davis’ transformational estate gift to the School of Human Ecology in 2012 underscores her commitment to the faculty and students.

She is also honored on the 100 Women Wall of Honor, permanent art installation at the School of Human Ecology.