Oklahoma State University immediately recognized the potential when Martha Reed offered her alma mater a unique opportunity to establish a multi-disciplinary creative arts center in the area of Taos, N.M., a locale which has a legendary artistic heritage. Today, the Doel Reed Center for the Arts stands as a testament to her vision and generosity.
Martha's father, Doel, helped establish OSU's Department of Art and directed it until his 1959 retirement to the family property just outside Talpa, N.M. The art community recognizes him as the master of the aquatint, and many of the world's most prestigious museums still feature his aquatints, oil paintings, and drawings. He brought unprecedented acclaim to OSU, which has ensured his contributions will always be appropriately acknowledged by establishing this living laboratory on the property, which Martha donated before her December 2010 passing.
This gift entailed much more than 1.5 acres of land featuring spectacular views in all directions as it lines the scenic High Road southwest of Taos. It also included three historic structures – Doel and Jane Reed's adobe home built in the first half of the 19th century, Martha's adobe home built in the 1930s, and Doel's personal studio that maintains its historic appearance and inventory. Together, they make up a project that will forever change the lives of current and future artists, art historians, playwrights, poets, composers, architects, landscape architects, anthropologists, bioscientists, historians, and others learning in a truly inspiring atmosphere.
The Doel Reed Center extends OSU's reach into another state by offering programs characterized by synergistic, multidisciplinary approaches to teaching, research, and outreach focusing on the Southwest. OSU students and life-long learners explore diverse topics in this art mecca. Dr. Edward Walkiewicz, director of the Center, compares the experience to studying abroad because of how profoundly it has already impacted almost 100 OSU students by immersing them in such a unique culture and geographic area. It also creates a partnership with the Taos community, fostering collaboration that will meet the educational needs of both OSU and the region while stimulating the local economy.
The Doel Reed Center for the Arts not only benefits the OSU family and northern New Mexico. It also attracts visiting artists and scholars to produce original works, teach seminars, and collaborate with creative minds of any age or academic discipline. By establishing and growing the Center, OSU exhibits its commitment to fulfilling its land-grant mission through community partnership, developing innovative educational opportunities available to all, and significantly advancing the arts and humanities.