Fr. Don Doll, S.J. honored at the Dahl Fine Arts Center

posted on October 27, 2011

For the past 15 years Fr. Don Doll, S.J. has voluntarily traveled to Red Cloud Indian School to photograph K-12 students in their traditional regalia. He is well established as a professional photographer and his photographs create a yearly calendar distributed among Red Cloud Indian School and its community.

Since the end of August the Red Cloud Calendar Showcase has been on display at the Dahl Fine Arts Center. The exhibit consists of 15 of the best-selected images from the past 15 years, selected by Fr. Doll, as well as a panel composite of all 15-calendar covers. The calendar photo shoot is an event to encourage kids to be proud of their culture and it is an opportunity for the families to assist their children in getting ready for the shoot. Many of the students have taken part in the event their entire educational career at Red Cloud.

The Red Cloud calendar “serves as an educational tool about the Lakota culture,” says Tina Merdanian, institutional relations director. “There is always a story in there.”

An invitation only gathering was held to honor Fr. Doll on October 15, 2011. At the gathering Fr. Doll was wrapped in a star quilt by Hunter and Vonna Blacksmith, who both participated in many calendars. Marlon Kelly sang an acapella honoring song. Todd Janis gave a speech to express the student perspective on the impact of the calendar. Janis, a 2009 Red Cloud graduate, has participated in the calendar shoot since he was in third grade.

Other people in attendance included Dave Rooks, who wrote a beautiful introduction for the event, and Anne Berendes, who designed the calendar.

“I was very impressed by the support of our community. It was great to see so many people in attendance,” explained Merdanian.

The honoring concluded with a traditional hand shaking.

The exhibit began in August, and due to popularity was extended by one week. It closed on October 24, 2011.