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Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO), the Miami Arts and Humanities Council, and the Ottawa County Historical Society celebrated the life and art of Charles Banks Wilson on August 6, 2018, which would have been his 100th birthday. At the event, Ann Neal of the Oklahoma Arts Council presented a proclamation from the Governor stating that August 6, 2018 was to be known as Charles Banks Wilson Centennial Day in the State of Oklahoma. Along with the proclamation and a special screening of “Charles Banks Wilson: Portrait of an American Artist,” by Larry Foley, Jennifer Walker, executive director of the NEO Development Foundation, unveiled “White Hats,” the most recent Wilson painting to be added to the NEO collection. “My father would have been honored to see that he and his works are still so well remembered,” said Wilson’s daughter Carrie Wilson, during her remarks. “I’m very grateful to Ann and the Governor for recognizing his work this way.”

“I had the honor to meet Charles several times after coming to NEO,” said Dr. Jeff Hale, president of NEO. “He was always so gracious to welcome me into his home and reminisce about his years at NEO. Charles really founded our art department and you’d be hard pressed to find a more idyllic foundation story in the United States. We are tremendously honored that Charles remembered us in his estate, and through that generosity, $15,000 in student scholarships and over $20,000 in art education support has been disbursed already.” In 2017, the estate of Charles Banks Wilson presented a $1.1 million gift to NEO, the largest in college history, to support artists and art education of all kinds. Through this program, more than a dozen students have already received direct scholarships support. “The Charles Banks Wilson scholarship is a prestigious honor for talented and dedicated students majoring in visual and performing arts,” said Jennifer Walker. “For the recipients, the scholarship means more than just financial assistance. It represents one of the greatest artists of our time, so it is truly an honor for these students.” For more information on the Charles Banks Wilson Gallery, “White Hats,” or the Charles Banks Wilson Scholarship, contact Jennifer Walker at Jennifer.hessee@neo.edu. (Top Photo: Ann Neal and Dr. Jeff Hale present Carrie Wilson with the Governor’s proclamation. Bottom Photo: Development Foundation Board Chair Dave Thomas and Board Member Tommy Dodson unveil “White Hats,” the most recent addition to the NEO collection)

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