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In February 2017, the University of Central Oklahoma received a generous donation of 20 pieces of art from Edmond residents Bob and Kathy Thomas. As the gift happened to coincide with the completion of Old North's renovations, the artwork was mounted and included as part of the building's re-opening celebration. Honored to be a part of such a momentous occasion on the UCO campus, the Thomas's said, "When we heard that Old North was ready to reopen and they planned galleries in various parts of this historic structure, we decided that was the perfect place to house some of our pieces especially works by Oklahoma artists or with an Oklahoma connection. The Thomas family is proud to be a part of the Broncho family. Over forty family members have graduated or attended this place of higher education starting with the Normal School, Central State, C.S.U. and The University of Central Oklahoma. It is this family's honor to be a part of the revitalization of Old North."
When asked about when they started collecting art, the Thomas's answer is always, "We never did START collecting, rather we just discovered one day we had a collection. In 1978, we visited Ruidoso, New Mexico and immediately fell in love with the town, the mountains and THE ART!" While Bob tends to prefer landscapes, Kathy likes artwork with figures and faces. Most of the collection's works are produced by Oklahoma artists with themes focused on the Contemporary Southwest, Native American, and American West genres. The Bob & Kathy Thomas Collection's strong regional focus is especially important for the study of art in Oklahoma and the South, Midwest, and Southwest. The varied collection enriches the UCO's academic curriculum by providing valuable resources for research and art exhibition.
Cindy McBride, Fancy Dancer
She holds a B.A. and Masters of Education degree. After she came back from missionary work in Africa, she diligently worked as a studio artist. McBride has given numerous lectures to art organizations in both California and Oklahoma.
Cindy McBride, Vision
Frances Bryan, Rodkey Mill & RR
Bryan is an award winning watercolorist who has lived in Edmond since 1961. She has documented historical changes in Edmond from 1966 to 2014 and has donated over 500 photographs to the UCO Archives & Special Collection.
Joan Matzdorf, American Indian Collection
She is an artist and fashion illustrator who studied at Tulsa University, Albright Art Institute in New York, and Philbrook Museum of Art. She has exhibited her works in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Georgia.
Kenny McKenna, San Francisco de Asis
A painter of western genre, McKenna owns J. B. Beadles Fine Art Gallery in Guthrie, OK. He took up serious paining after 20 years as a rhythm and blues musician. His artworks have been represented and sold by numerous galleries, as well as being featured in several magazines.
Kenny McKenna, Three Blue Heron
Kenny McKenna, Isis Temple
Mike Larsen, Baby Girl
Larson, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, is an award winning artist. He has exhibited his works nationwide, has won numerous awards, and is well published. He was selected to create a postage stamp to commemorate Oklahoma’s centennial celebration. In 2006 he was named Oklahoman of the Year for his soulful portraits and inspiring landscapes.
Mike Larsen, The Story Teller
Mike Larsen, Indian Portrait
Nancy Efron, Southwest Beauty
An award winning artist, Effron teaches classes at the Edmond Fine Arts Institute which she helped found.
Robert Red Bird, Meditation
A self-taught Kiowa artist, his work can be viewed in many public collections including the Smithsonian Institution, and the Philbrook Museum of Art.
Beverly Fagan Gilbertson, Indian Women
She is a Stillwater native who studied at Oklahoma State University, currently residing in Indiana.
Robin Thompson, Cafe
She is co-president of Beverly Robin for Self-Expression, who studied at University of Oklahoma. She mainly works with oil and watercolor and has exhibited in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Robin Thompson, Papoose
Woody Big Bow, Buffalo in Snow
A member of the Kiowa Tribe, as a teenager Big Bow received personal guidance and painting instructions from Oscar Jacobson. His art is held by several major museums including the Smithsonian, the Gilcrease and the Philbrook. His work has been exhibited internationally.
The University of Central Oklahoma recognizes the university's main campus is located on the traditional lands of the Caddo and Wichita people. Visit the UCO Land Acknowledgement website to learn more.