Detail of multi-colored textile

Ruth Davis Design Gallery

Upcoming Exhibitions

Politics at Home: Textiles as American History

quilt on a black background sewn in red, white, and blue fabric with a backwards U.S. flag at the center.Opening in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery, Fall Semester 2021
Featuring work from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection ranging from the 18th through the 21st centuries, this exhibition includes a range of domestic textiles that demonstrate how public discourses of American politics have always had a meaningful presence within the home. Through production, consumption, and conscious display of textiles, including quilts, pillowcases, furnishing fabric samples, handkerchiefs, and ornaments, objects in the home signal political beliefs and ideals. Join us in exploring participation and representation in American politics in the home through textiles.

NOTE: The gallery is currently closed due to COVID-19 recommendations.

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.