NORMAN — The late artist O. Gail Poole was a Renaissance man whose interests extended beyond the canvas. Poole, 77, died on April 13 in his Norman home.
Now his daughter, Nicole Poole, wants to extend her father’s legacy even further.
In conjunction with the Norman Arts Council she has created the Poole Memorial Travel Fund. Norman Arts Council executive director Erinn Gavaghan said the fund will help promising young artists seek inspiration on the road without going broke.
“He dedicated his life to making art,” Gavaghan said. “That takes courage.”
“Dad was so passionate about travel. It feeds your brain, and the larger your world gets, the larger your scope becomes,” Poole said.
Poole started the fund with $500 and donations started trickling in as family, friends and admirers gathered at the MAINSITE Art Gallery downtown to celebrate the prolific work of the longtime Norman resident. The celebration was fittingly titled “As yet untamed.”
“I didn’t grow up with a traditional role model. Dad didn’t go to an office every morning. He went to a coffee group and then he’d come home and draw or paint or tend to his ill-fated gourd garden, cuss at the dogs, deal with politics, catch up with friends, paint some more, fiddle with his gadgets and then draw until he went to sleep,” Poole said. “I just thought all dads were like that.”
Born into the art world, she spent part of her childhood frequenting her father’s art shows to sleep behind the easels and eavesdrop on critics and admirers.
“I would pretend I wasn’t related to him and listen to people’s comments on the paintings and I would snicker to myself because they were just all wrong; people ascribing meaning to something that was just a lark,” Poole said.