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Bill Goldston shows President Burns Hargis and First Cowgirl Ann Hargis a work from the OSU Museum of Art’s permanent collection, Untitled (Secondaries with Primaries), by Jasper Johns.

Hargises’ arts legacy comes full circle with Doel Reed exhibition

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Media Contact: Kristen Duncan | OSU Museum of Art | 405-744-2783 | kristen.duncan@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis and First Cowgirl Ann Hargis have had a major impact on the arts during their tenure,  breathing new life into fine arts and creating momentum for a thriving arts community.

The upcoming Doel Reed exhibition at the OSU Museum of Art is celebrating that impact and offering the arts world’s deepest gratitude for their strong support.  

Sun Patterns, Dark Canyon: The Paintings and Aquatints of Doel Reed (1894-1985), opens July 6. American printmaker and painter Doel Reed graced 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 the campus gifted to OSU in 2010 following the death of Reed’s daughter, Martha Reed. 

President Hargis was instrumental in securing this gift and has helped bring Reed’s work home in a full-circle moment for OSU’s art community. 

Malinda Berry Fischer, a longtime Stillwater resident and Museum Advisory Board member, believes the Hargises’ impact will cultivate opportunities for OSU students and the community for years to come. 

“Stillwater didn’t have a museum dedicated to fine art when Burns arrived on campus,” Malinda Berry Fischer said. “Burns and Ann immediately went to work to create a home for OSU’s collection and a place where our students, our OSU family and our community could learn and engage with art.”

In 2010, the university purchased the museum building, which was once home to Stillwater’s Postal Plaza, and repurposed it as Stillwater’s fine arts hub.

The museum now stands as a testament to the power of the Hargises’ vision and support. When the museum opened in 2014, it was able to immediately welcome high-profile shows.  

“I am proud of the impact the museum has made in such a short period of time,” Ann Hargis said. “It is exciting to know how bright the future will be, with the transformational opportunities in all forms of art for generations to come.”

Victoria Berry, OSU Museum of Art director and chief curator, said the couple’s vision was instrumental, but their involvement in many high-profile exhibitions and initiatives helped make that vision a reality. Just as Doel Reed made a lasting impression at OSU, Berry said the Hargis years have made a similar mark. 

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without Burns and Ann Hargis,” Berry said. “Their passion for the arts isn’t abstract. You can see it all over this campus and this community, from the OSU Museum of Art to the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts and the proliferation of public art across campus.”

“The OSU Museum of Art has enriched our lives and been a wonderful addition not only to OSU, but also to the community,” Ann Hargis said. “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.”

The Doel Reed exhibition has been organized by the museum and guest curator Professor Rebecca P. Brienen.

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