You know that sparkle in someone’s eye that makes you want to be more alive? That was always my experience talking to Gwen Suthers. I’ll never forget her zest for life and relentless support for creativity in northwest Oklahoma. She seemed fearles-- inviting everyone from Louise Nevelson to the Governor to her community.
A long time Arnett resident, Suthers championed the Little Red School House, also known as the Western Art Center, where artists in Ellis County gather regularly for demonstrations, art classes and an annual festival. A painter, sculptor, pianist, unofficial teacher, and arts advocate, Suthers encouraged novice and veteran artists, brought internationally known artists to the area, and inspired others through her artwork.
Suthers was honored with a Community Service Award at the 2001 Governor’s Arts Awards. The Oklahoma Arts Council hosted an exhibition of the work at the Capitol in 2004. Also, Suthers served on the Board of Directors for the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum in Woodward, the Amarillo Arts Foundation, and the Area Arts Foundation. While helping found and serving on the board of the Area Arts Foundation, Suthers and the group amassed an outstanding collection of works by nationally known artists.
In her significant contributions over the multiple decades to the community through her artwork, teaching, and advocacy, Suthers epitomizes the profile of a dedicated arts leader and volunteer. Thank you Gwen.