By Allie Raine, OSU Student and Museum Associate
In 2010, the building that was once home to Stillwater’s Postal Plaza was purchased by the university and repurposed to become the art connection that the community unknowingly craved. Being a humble space, the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art had the opportunity to dream big as the Hargises strived to create an art renaissance here at Oklahoma State University. Their tenure at OSU has proven to be quite successful as the arts continue to flourish on campus.
The museum stands as an example of what passion and support can do for making goals a reality. In 2014, the museum was able to put on high-profile shows that would have been considered difficult to accomplish for a brand new facility. This type of growth was made possible with the influence and support of President Hargis. His vision combined with the help of generous OSU Museum of Art Founding Patrons and Charter Members, set up the museum for future success.
Victoria Berry, Director and Chief Curator at the OSU Museum of Art, expresses that the Hargises legacy is the direct result of having a vision and being able to harness the passion of donors who can help make a difference. “The support is absolutely astonishing,” she adds.
It was especially important to the Hargises to offer this unique experience to the students at OSU. First Cowgirl Ann Hargis reflects on the museum:
“I have always believed art is an important aspect of wellness. The OSU Museum of Art has enriched our lives and been a wonderful addition not only to OSU, but also to the community. The museum invites all to enter and experience a variety of exhibits, events, and hands on activities for children of all ages. The simple idea of people congregating to discuss and appreciate the talents of others expands our world view and allows us to see through the eyes of others. I am proud of the impact the museum has made in such a short period of time. It is exciting to know how bright the future will be, with the transformational opportunities in all forms of art for generations to come.”
Starting July 6th, 2021, the Museum is honored to display Sun Patterns, Dark Canyon: The Paintings and Aquatints of Doel Reed (1894-1985). American printmaker and painter Doel Reed graced OSU’s (then Oklahoma A&M’s) campus as an educator and essentially founded the university’s art department. The OSU Doel Reed Center in Taos, New Mexico is an educational branch of campus. President Hargis has helped bring Reed’s work home to an art museum that was nonexistent prior to 2010. The upcoming Doel Reed exhibition is a powerful, full-circle moment for OSU’s art community and for President Hargis. Just as Doel Reed made a lasting impression at Oklahoma State University, the Hargis’ years of dedication to the OSU Museum of Art will leave a lasting legacy of art education that will benefit our community for years to come.
Thank you, President Hargis and First Cowgirl Ann Hargis, for making art accessible to the Stillwater community and having the passion to follow through with a dream.