The artistic tradition of Geatches Studio will be celebrated at the Depot Gallery, 200 S. Jones, Norman, with an exhibit featuring eighteen Geatches artists, both current and past. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 pm on May 10 in conjunction with 2nd Friday Circuit of Art. The exhibit remains through June 28. Music for the opening reception will be provided by Dennis Borycki. Light refreshments will be served.
Converted more than 50 years ago from a 1920s grocery store on Hudson near NW 25 in Oklahoma City, an average of 100 accomplished artists draw and paint at the Geatches studio every month. Those showing in this exhibit include: Ladd Adams; Veida Blick; John Brandenburg; Jim Cobb; Kathryn Dean; Tom Delheimer; Janie Deupree; Sam Echols; Kay Graff; Brenda Hollis; Bill Hood; Larry Layton; Ted Majka; Sherrie McGraw; Bhupinder Obhrai; Dennis Parker; O. Gail Poole; and Gary Yazzie.
The old, vacant grocery store building that is now Geatches Studio, was rented by Dick and Edith Goetz in 1954 for an art teaching studio. They ran the studio and taught there until 1978 when they moved to New York so Dick could teach at the Art Students League. Student Mary Geatches purchased the studio equipment and continued operation until 1985 when she and her husband were tragically killed in a traffic accident. The students banded together, formed a board, and purchased the equipment from the Geatches daughter. Mike Larsen began teaching in 1986 and Ted Majka began open studios in 1987. In 1990 Larsen turned over teaching to O. Gail Poole, followed by Ted Majka in 1991.
“The most remarkable part of the Geatches story is what the five board members did to keep the studio tradition going after Mary’s death,” says Sharon McAllister. “With their determination and commitment, the studio has evolved into an active retreat for artists today. Their passion was art, providing a common place to work from life and enjoying an artistic camaraderie. Presently two teaching classes are held weekly and two open studio sessions are available for artists to paint or draw.”
“In the past twenty-seven years, I have seen first-hand the Goetz influence enrich and change lives. Now people who never knew the Goetz's are being touched in the same way because of these people who have chosen to keep the studio alive.” says Dennis Parker. Geatches Art Studio is an active place where the classic tradition of working from life is practiced.
Kathryn Dean, found Geatches Studio after she retired in 1995 and has been painting ever since. “I love all the people that paint there. ”Dean says. “We have fun. Saturdays we do our own thing -- there is freedom to experiment.” Tom Delheimer agrees. “The people are wonderful. We can paint every week and we paint from life.”
Depot Gallery hours are 8 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Friday and 10 to noon on Saturday. For further information, phone 405-307-9320. Gallery exhibitions are made possible in part by a grant to the Performing Arts Studio from the Oklahoma Arts Council.