We didn’t always have a spiffy Museum of Art down there by the Civic Center. The original Oklahoma Art League, founded in 1910, had no permanent location at all; it took the Depression (and the WPA) to find a home for the League’s collection. The Oklahoma Art Center was finally incorporated in 1945, and in 1958 moved to what is now State Fair Park.
Then: the schism. In 1968, the OAC bought a substantial collection of the dreaded modern art, prompting several members to set up shop elsewhere as the Museum of Conservative Art. The C-word was eventually dropped, and the two groups were eventually reunited in 1989.
In 1994, Carolyn Hill (no relation) took over as director of the renamed Oklahoma City Art Museum. The museum’s finances, hitherto parlous, were eased into the black, and the search for a new location began. Ground was broken in 2000 on the new Oklahoma City Museum of Art, on the site of the old Centre Theater. Contrary to popular mythology, this was not a MAPS project: all the funding ($40 million or so) was private, and Mrs Hill was instrumental in getting it lined up.
After fourteen years at the helm, Carolyn Hill retired; she died yesterday, aged seventy-two. The groundwork she laid will outlast the next half a dozen directors combined, I suspect.