College of Fine Arts and Design

Silver Screen Gallery Among New Art Collections On Display At UCO

Nov. 10, 2010betty davis

Two new art collections are on display at the University of Central Oklahoma's Mitchell Hall Theater, including the Silver Screen Gallery featuring photos and authenticated autographs of legendary screen actors and the Archive Gallery featuring photographs of early performances and speakers at the theater.

"Both collections offer snapshots of history-both personal and social," said Zina Gelona, Central's director of Galleries and Collections.

The Silver Screen Gallery is a collection of black and white, framed and matted photographs and authenticated autographs of classic stage and screen actors donated by Ed Nall who was a personal friend of Governor and former Central President George Nigh.

Nall's collection includes photos of Will Rogers, Buster Keaton, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Bob Hope and Clint Eastwood, among many others. All of the actor's autographs have certificates of authenticity. The collection has a value of about $50,000.

The Archive Gallery is a collection created from glass-plate negatives of speakers and past performances in Mitchell Hall from the early 20th century that were scanned and framed by Central Assistant Professor of Design Larry Hefner.

There are photographs of the Shakespeare Club that was started in 1901, the Blue Curtain Players, another theatrical group, and headshots of both W.C. Fields and Amelia Earhart.

"Earhart gave an inspirational appearance at Mitchell Hall in 1936, but no one took a picture of her because at that time she was just some woman pilot. We acquired a photo of her from the NYC archives, and Earhart is flying here again," said Gelona.

"I am very pleased with the addition of the two collections in Mitchell Hall," said Dr. John Clinton, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design.

"The Archive Collection is very special because it reminds us that Mitchell Hall has been a famous, classical theater for a very long time and it's important for our students and our community to know what kind of foundation lays beneath them."

The collections can be viewed for free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Fri, or prior to any regularly scheduled performance in Mitchell Hall.  

For more information about the new collections, contact Gelona at (405) 974-2432 or go to zgelona@uco.edu.