College of Fine Arts and Design

UCO Art Students Create Mural At National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

May 16, 2011mural

University of Central Oklahoma art students got a chance to prepare for their future as artists while capturing the West's vivid history through a project by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum called "Create a Mural."

Under the direction of renowned muralist and Central Art Professor Bob Palmer, students worked on a western-themed mural in an open, common area that encouraged museum guests to watch the progress.

The "Create a Mural" initiative accompanied the opening of the exhibition "Allen's True West," a traveling exhibition organized by the Denver Art Museum focused on the life and work of Colorado artist, illustrator and muralist Allen Tupper True.

Central alumna Gretchen Jeane, director of education and special projects at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage museum, took one of Palmer's classes and contacted him with the "Create a Mural" project opportunity.

"The students began work on Jan. 17 and spent just over three months on it," said Palmer. "They were definitely a little nervous at first, but they rose to the challenge."

According to Central art student Ana Heaton of Mustang the biggest challenge was getting used to having an audience.

"At first, it was hard to switch from being an abstract painter in a personal, private studio to being a muralist in a large, public setting. Having 20 or 30 people watching you work can be a bit nerve wracking, but I got used to it. It was an amazing experience for me, and I am delighted that I was able to participate!"

Andrew Akufo, a Central senior art major from Del City, agreed with his classmate.

"My experience working on the mural was nothing short of phenomenal," he said. "I have never before, received so much recognition and appreciation for being able to paint.

I am much obliged to UCO, Palmer Studios, Inc., and the National Cowboy Museum for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of something so meaningful and ground-breaking for what will serve as my career in the future."

The Central student mural is currently available to view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in the lobby of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, located at 1700 NE 63rd Street in Oklahoma City.             

For more information on Central's Department of Art and programs, visit