Woolaroc Museum getting updated lighting system
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
6/20/12 at 4:03 AM
The "Old Indian" has a new home.
Lori Roll was used to seeing the painting by Nicolai Fechin upstairs at Woolaroc Museum. Now, it has been moved downstairs with other Fechin pieces, she said.
"While I loved the museum as it was, I think it's great that certain pieces and scenes are being organized in such a way that they make sense as a whole scene or genre," said Roll, who is a Bartlesville resident and volunteer at Woolaroc.
"I love the way the paintings go up those high ceilings, so that I see new paintings and pieces each time I go," she said.
The shuffle of beloved pieces at the museum outside of Bartlesville are the result of a major lighting project, explained Woolaroc CEO Bob Fraser. Old ceilings have been removed, new ceilings are being installed, and state-of-the-art track lighting will be put in place.
That meant clearing out art from rooms being worked on, after which museum staff found themselves staring at blank walls for the first time in 30 years.
"Now, it's like a kid in the candy store," Fraser said. Faced with bare walls, he and his staff are taking the opportunity not only to repaint them but display some of the art work differently.
Hefferan Lighting Design in Colorado prepared a master plan design for the lighting. Quenroe Associates in Boulder, Colo., provided expertise in the restaging of the art, having worked at the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Amon Carter Museum, Charles Russell Museum and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Exciting as it is, Fraser said, they are having to "walk a tightrope" concerning museum fans. Whether they come multiple times a year or once a decade, people expect the museum to look a certain way each time.Yet fans like Roll - whose overall favorite Woolaroc painting, "The Lookout" by William R. Lee, was still in place in the second gallery last time she visited - are happy with the changes.
"I think the new lighting will help illuminate the art," she said, adding that it will also be nice to "freshen up the place" with new paint.
During the improvements, some rooms of the museum will not be accessible. While one room is worked on, visitors will be rerouted through the museum, Fraser said.
"We're doing everything we possibly can to make sure you can see that piece of art," Fraser said of those who come for a specific painting. "It's just hanging some different place."
Upon completion, which Fraser hopes will be by year's end, the project will cost about $750,000, of which half has been paid by the Frank Phillips Foundation. The museum has raised the balance.
"It's quite a showplace for Oklahoma," Fraser said, "and it's going to get even better."
For more, including information on donating to Woolaroc, visit tulsaworld.com/woolaroc
Original Print Headline: Woolaroc getting updated look
Jason Ashley Wright 918-581-8483
Brody Winkler and his fourth-grade teacher, Tammy Kelly, view the painting "Pocahontas" by William R. Leigh at Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve last year. Some paintings at the museum are being moved to different areas because of a major lighting upgrade. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World file