Oklahoma's Indigenous Muralists during the New Deal Era
Following the Great Depression, President Roosevelt enacted the New Deal, a series of economic relief programs. One program, the Federal Art Project, sponsored by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), employed artists to create murals for federal and other public buildings. This exhibit showcases Oklahoma artists commissioned to paint murals for the WPA Federal Art Project. All are Native American except Oscar Brousse Jacobson who championed Indigenous artists promoting the Kiowa Six, two of which are represented here, Stephen Mopope and Monroe TsaToke.
Murrah Federal Building Artwork
Nineteen artworks that survived the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building are exhibited on 1st floor. The library website also has an online exhibit that includes video commentary about many of the pieces.
Rubye McCann Exhibit
Rubye McCann (1908-2005) taught in the Oklahoma City Public Schools for 27 years before retiring to focus on photographing and painting Oklahoma history. As a published photographer and an accomplished artist, her work was exhibited around the state and in the State Capitol numerous times. She was also a founding member of the OKC Watercolor Society.
Pre-1940s Taos Artist Colony
Taos was New Mexico's premier art colony and the first significant art colony in the American West. Founders were Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips who were on a painting expedition together when their carriage broke down in the vicinity of Taos in 1898. Several artists included in Melton Legacy Collection are currently on display.
Native American Art in the UCO Collections
The Archives & Special Collections of the University of Central Oklahoma holds artwork by some of the finest and most influential Native American artists of the twentieth century. Many of the artists on display, including Woody Crumbo (Pottawatomi), David Williams (Apache-Kiowa), and Joyce Lee Doc Tate Nevaquayah (Comanche), helped shape the Native American Art Movement and inspired contemporary artists. The current exhibit offers a varied representation of Native American artwork from the Melton Art Reference Library Collection, the Bob & Kathy Thomas Collection, and the UCO Native American Collection.