Cecil Lee Honored for Art Gallery

Cecil Lee Honored for Art Gallery

He spent 29 years in the classroom at the University of Oklahoma and 18 years so far at the University of Science and Arts. He is regarded by many to be Oklahoma's foremost art historian. And he is responsible for the opening and success of the Art Gallery at USAO.  Artist Cecil Lee was honored Oct. 10 for his "vision for an art gallery that would serve both the university and the larger community of Chickasha and Grady County."

USAO President John Feaver unveiled an 18-by-24-inch bronze portrait plaque which will hang permanently in the entrance of the USAO Art Gallery during the opening reception of the Seven State Biennial Art Exhibition – a biennial art competition drawing artists from seven states – created by Lee.

Feaver spoke of Lee's contribution to teaching in USAO's interdisciplinary studies program, his work in the formation of the art gallery and his creation of the Seven State Biennial.

Lee directs the USAO Art Gallery and is a regents professor of art at USAO. He was named a professor emeritus of art at OU after retiring from the college in 1988. Lee joined the USAO faculty in 1991.

Lee helped design the Art Gallery -- which opened in June 1997. The gallery was remodeled from office space and offers 300 "running feet" of wall space. The area was originally built as an art gallery, but was used for offices instead. Lee's vision of the gallery was that is would play a significant role in training art students in various aspects of art management, especially in creating, hanging, labeling and publicizing events.

Lee was born in Ohio. He received degrees from Ohio State University and the University of California, Berkeley. He started his teaching career in 1959 as an instructor in art at OU.

While at OU, Lee expanded the art history offerings from eight courses in 1959 to 20 courses in 1965. He introduced the bachelor of fine arts degree in art and expanded the slide collection to a reasonable size to cover the expanded course offering. In 1967, he developed the bachelor's in art (art history) and master's in art programs at OU.

He received the Governor's Award in 1962 for founding a program for expanding the knowledge and understanding of art history in the state. With the cooperation and support of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, slides were circulated to public and private schools in the state. A teaching guide, student guide and statewide activities were developed to encourage the study of art history.

While serving as the director of the OU School of Art in 1966, Lee taught a liberal arts study course for the U.S. Air Force in Germany. While on sabbatical, he studied existential aesthetic and art theory in Basil. He also received the Governor's Award for his contributions in the arts in 1966.

Lee has developed interactive television courses, a television series for public television, and produced public lectures at USAO that were broadcast on cable television.

He has served as the general editor and fine arts editor of Crosstimbers -- USAO's multicultural, interdisciplinary journal. He is a regular contributor to the magazine. His article Remember This is available in the current edition.

In 1991, Lee directed a special OU seminar at Oxford Rewley on the Rise of the Augustans -- team teaching with Oxford scholars. He has participated in more than 60 interdisciplinary seminars and courses during his career.

His work is in the archives of the Australian National Gallery, Canbera; Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Print Department of the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; New York Public Library; the libraries at the University of California and Santa Barbara, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Yale University.

Lee's photographs are currently on display in The Garden of Art through Nov. 29 at the Performing Arts Studio. The studio is located at 200 South Jones Avenue in Norman. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

Founder of the USAO Art Gallery Cecil Lee, right, was honored Oct. 10 for his work developing the unique facility at USAO. Lee was honored with a bronze portrait plaque that will hang permanently in the entrance of the USAO Art Gallery. Lee spent 29 years in the classroom at the University of Oklahoma and 18 years so far at USAO. He is regarded by many to be Oklahoma's foremost art historian.

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