Alumna Lois I. Davis (class of 1947) passed away peacefully in San Antonio, Texas on April 19, 2021. She was born in La Porte, Indiana, in 1924. She was married for 58 years to her late husband, fellow artist Harry A. Davis. After graduating from La Porte High School, Lois received a scholarship to study at the John Herron Art Institute, where she studied for five years. She met Harry there in 1947, when she was a student and he was a teacher (although not hers). They married on December 20, 1947, after a three-month artistic study in Mexico made possible by receipt of the Millikan Award, and had two children, Joanna Ingrid Davis Marks, born April 25, 1949, and Mark Frederick Davis, born February 16, 1959.
Lois and Harry first lived in Brownsburg, where she taught grade school, before the couple later settled in Broad Ripple, where they shared a home and lived for the next 40 years. Her studio was located on the second floor of their residence. Lois's pleasant and easygoing personality was reflected in her artwork, which was impressionistic in style and focused on conveying moods. For more than 30 years, she taught painting at the Indianapolis Art Center, where her classes were so popular that students sometimes had to draw a winning number from a hat to attend. She garnered quite a fan club.
She painted things that were important to her socially. As a result, she became well known for her studies of people, and her artwork addressed issues such as women's rights, loss of privacy in the computer age, and the indignities of war. While Lois worked in oil, acrylic, ink, and mixed media, she was best known for her watercolors. She is said to have painted at least three days a week and spent the rest of her time doing clerical work for Harry.
Lois and Harry were both invited to participate in Purdue University's Old Masters Program. They attended art discussions, visited dormitories, and answered students' questions while there. Lois found this to be especially beneficial to her own artwork because it appeared that her work appealed to a younger crowd. As a result, she wanted to use that experience to learn what young people thought about art.
Many of her exhibitions were collaborative efforts with her husband. The Lafayette Art Center, the Hoosier Salon, On View Downtown Gallery, 16th and Meridian Gallery, the Lyman and Snodgrass Gallery, Indianapolis Museum of Art Alliance Shop, "Facts and Fictions" at Domont Studio Gallery, and oil paintings for the 42nd annual show of Indiana art at the Herron Museum were among the exhibitions.
Lois was a member of the Indianapolis Artists Club, of which she and Harry had both served as past presidents. She was also involved with the Portfolio Club, where she served as President from 1982 to 1983. She was a long-time member of the Indiana University Alumni Association and served on the Herron School of Art and Design Alumni Board for several years, serving as Secretary and Historian.
Lois received the Maynard K. Hine Medal from IUPUI in 1976, the Spirit of Philanthropy Award from IUPUI in 1989, Indianapolis Art Center Teacher of the Year in 1987, and the Hoosier Salon citation for exhibitor for 30 years in 2004.
Lois will be remembered for her artistic impact, gentle soul, and sincere desire to assist others in achieving their creative goals. To make a memorial gift in Lois's honor, please click here or send a check payable to Herron/IUF to the IU Foundation, P.O. Box 6460, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206.