NORMAN, OKLA. (March 6, 2012) – “Decorative Arts and the American West,” the seventh biennial symposium of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma, will take place on Friday, April 20, in the Mary Eddy and Fred Jones Auditorium of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., in the OU Arts District.

Beginning at 9 a.m., this daylong event is free and open to the public, with a nominal charge for an optional luncheon.  Noted scholars, museum curators and art historians will discuss such diverse topics as ranch-style furniture, regionally inspired pottery and silver-mounted saddles.  The symposium will precede the art exhibit opening, Oklahoma Clay: Frankoma Pottery, which will be held from 7 to 9 that evening.

Symposium speakers include:

• Anita J. Ellis, deputy director for curatorial affairs at the Cincinnati Art Museum, who will discuss “Rookwood Pottery and the American Indian”;

• James H. Nottage, vice president, chief curatorial officer and Gund Curator of Western Art, History and Culture at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, who will speak on “The Fine and Decorative Arts of Edward H. Bohlin”;

• Eugene W. “Wally” Reber, former associate director of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyo., and an artist and furniture maker, who will discuss “Seeking Western Style”;

• Cheryl Robertson, independent scholar and museum professional from Cambridge, Mass., who will discuss “The Art and Craft of Native American Imagery in American Architecture and Decorative Arts, 1893-1923.”

A luncheon will be offered between sessions for registered participants.  Cost is $20 per person or $10 per registered student participant.  Vegetarian and vegan options may be ordered in advance.  Seating is limited, and reservations may be made with the Russell Center at (405) 325-5939. 

Founded in 1998, the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West is the first such university-based program in the nation. The center, as an integral part of the OU School of Art and Art History and the OU Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, is dedicated to the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge in the field of American art history as it relates to the western United States. Through its resource holdings, national symposia, lecture series, course offerings and outreach programs, the Russell Center actively engages students and the public in developing a better understanding of, and appreciation for, 19th- and 20th-century Euro-American and Native American artistic traditions.  Special focus is given to the art of Charles M. Russell and his contemporaries. 

For more information on the Russell Center, visit For accommodations on the basis of disability at the symposium, call (405) 325-5939.  

CONTACT: Sharon Burchett
(405) 325-5939