The Chimes Tower on the campus of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College will ring 103 times at noon on August 6, 2021, in celebration and memory of artist and former faculty, Charles Banks Wilson, who was born on that day in 1918.
Wilson began teaching night classes at NEO in 1943, and later became Chair of the Art Department, which he established in 1946 and continued to oversee for sixteen years.
After Wilson passed away in 2013, NEO formally dedicated the Charles Banks Wilson Art and Cultural Education Center in Kah-Ne Hall to showcase the artist’s legacy for future generations.
The 15,000-square-foot building includes classrooms, art studio, computer lab, the American Indian Center for Excellence (AICE), and a gallery featuring Wilson’s paintings and drawings. The gallery is open during normal business hours and is free to the public.
Wilson’s life-size portraits of Will Rogers, Sequoyah, Jim Thorpe, and Robert Kerr hang in the Oklahoma State Capitol, and his murals depicting Oklahoma history encircle 110 feet of the capitol dome.
When Wilson was fifteen years old, he sketched Will Rogers backstage after a performance in Miami, Oklahoma, and later used those reference drawings to paint his famous Will Rogers portrait housed in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.
In 2017, the Charles Banks Wilson estate gifted $1.1 million to NEO to support artists and art education. It is the largest individual gift in the college’s history. His generosity continues to benefit art students through scholarships and the purchase of equipment.
For more information contact:
NEO Theatre Experience Artistic Director
& Fine Arts Marketing Coordinator