The Notable Tulsans Series, on display in the Whiteside Portrait Gallery at the Tulsa Historical Society Museum, is an ongoing exhibit featuring a collection of portraits of notable Tulsans. The series offers museum visitors a greater knowledge and appreciation for Tulsa’s history and the people that have helped make Tulsa what it is today, says Maggie Brown, exhibits and education manager at Tulsa Historical Society.
“Each exhibit tells a different Tulsa story,” shares Brown.
Inspired by similar portrait projects across the country, the Notable Tulsans Series is a partnership between the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum and the Whiteside Portrait Painters, an informal collection of artists. The artists hope the series helps preserve the history of Tulsa by highlighting the impact of influential members of the community, explains Patricia Vestal, a Whiteside portrait painter.
“We embarked on painting portraits that would serve as a social commentary on our city,” says Vestal. “We hoped to portray people in all walks of life and occupations who have given the city its unique spirit.”
The Whiteside Portrait Gallery features a new collection every two months. The unique style of each artist combined with the diverse background of the models adds to the impact of the exhibit, comments Brown.
“Each series of paintings is interesting, historically, for the subject; and artistically, for the variety of styles and mediums used,” explains Brown. “The grouped portraits allow visitors to see a dozen or more views of the same individual as well as biographical information.”
The Notable Tulsans Series has featured 20 influential Tulsans, beginning with novelist and educator Billie Letts. The latest collection features Rabbi Charles Sherman, a 2005 Tulsa Hall of Fame honoree.
The Notable Tulsan Series portraits are on display at the Tulsa Historical Society Museum Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.