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Browsing Foward

PRESERVING AN ARTIST’S LEGACY

Rebecca Quinn Teresi

An image from the exhibit is captioned: "At my studio in Grand Prairie, Texas (ca. 1945) by Simmons, Jay." Central University Libraries/SMU

Sam Ratcliffe, head of the Jerry Bywaters Special Collections at Hamon Arts Library, discussed the “Legacy of Octavio: His Life and Work” at City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District on October 9 during the finale of the 50th anniversary celebration of Dallas’ Creative Arts Center (CAC).

In 1966 renowned artist and educator Octavio Medellin opened his namesake school of sculpture, which eventually became the CAC. Last year more than 1,800 students took more than 500 CAC visual arts classes and workshops.

An extensive trove of the prolific artist’s work, photographs and documents are part of the Bywaters Special Collections. The Medellin collection was established in 1989 and continued to grow with additional gifts from family and friends through 2015.

Drawing from those materials, curator Ellen Buie Niewyk and archivist Emily Grubbs created Central University Libraries’ first Google Cultural Institute digital exhibition. Octavio Medellin: Maya-Toltec Temples and Carvings, 1938 provides visual and narrative context for Medellin’s famous hummingbird color block print and other works inspired by his six-month study of the ruins at Chichén Itzá in Mexico. The exhibition includes audio excerpts from an oral history recorded by Medellin in 1998, a year before his death in 1999 at age 91.

Visit the online exhibition and view selections from the CUL digital collection, Octavio Medellin Art Work and Papers.