Nesbitt legacy celebrated in gallery opening
Rechristened to honor a prominent Oklahoma family whose generous donations form the spine of its permanent collection, the Nesbitt Gallery is celebrating the change with an inaugural reception at the University of Science and Arts.
After 15 years in operation, the art gallery is scheduled to open under its new name at 7:30 p.m. on May 4. The gallery is located on the first floor of Davis Hall.
The event is free and open to the public.
“With their vision, Charles and Margôt Nesbitt made an indelible impression on the USAO story,” said USAO President John Feaver. “For this facility to bear their name is only appropriate.”
The reception will feature an exhibition of the most remarkable pieces in the permanent Nesbitt Collection that the family donated to the gallery.
Pieces in the collection include limited edition, original prints by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and James Whistler among others.
The Nesbitt Collection also includes a number of important historical photographs. Will Soule’s famous prints of captured American Indian chiefs imprisoned at Fort Sill will be exhibited along with rare photographs of the Oklahoma Land Run and the construction of Oklahoma City’s downtown infrastructure.
The Nesbitts also donated a number of rare and valuable prints by German printmaker Albrecht Dürer that date back to the 1500s.
The Charles and Margôt Nesbitt family has been a long-time supporter of the gallery that was opened in 1997.
Charles Nesbitt was an Oklahoma lawyer and politician who served as Oklahoma’s attorney general, corporation commissioner and energy secretary in his career as a public servant. He died in 2007.
Margôt Nesbitt, who is scheduled to attend the reception, served for many years as Reverend Canon for St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City before her retirement.
Several improvements have been made to the existing gallery to reflect the name change. The entrance, or façade, of the gallery has been improved, now reflecting a sleeker, more modern feel.
New signage, including banners hung on USAO’s oval drive, indicate the gallery’s new identity. A bronze plaque commemorating the Nesbitt legacy and contribution is scheduled to be unveiled at the reception.
Layne Thrift, director of the gallery, has seen the impact of the Nesbitt collection grow over time.
“The generosity of the Nesbitt gift has been instrumental in forming the spine of USAO’s permanent collection,” Thrift said.
“Now that we’ve added to that collection through purchases of our own and other generous donations, this dedication of the Nesbitt Gallery signals a turning point in the our mission from exclusively serving the campus and community to serving a wider audience that will include other universities, especially our sister schools in the COPLAC organization, in the form of a touring exhibition.”
COPLAC is the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, whose members include 25 top public colleges in North America.
More information about the Nesbitt Gallery reception can be obtained by calling 405-574-1374.