ENID, Okla. — Enid artist Margaret Moss has been selected to have her work exhibited in an upcoming art show in Kansas.

Moss, a former university art professor and longtime artist, will have two pieces included in the Ninnescah Art Exhibit at Vernon Filley Art Museum, in Pratt, Kan., which opens on Jan. 30.

The exhibit will be a return home, of sorts, for Moss, who was raised outside Pratt, Kan., in the small town of Coats.

Moss’ grandfather was one of the first three people to settle in Coats, in the 1880s. She was raised in a farm house, built in Coats in 1913, and her brother, Ed Moss, still farms in the area.

As a young child, Moss said she was always drawn to art, and to experimenting with different forms of art. Her mother excluded her from art instruction in school — to protect, rather than stifle, her creativity.

“My mother forbade me to take art in school,” Moss said with a laugh, “because the art teacher thought deer standing by a stream in the mountains was all art could be.”

Her first formal art instruction came while studying as an undergraduate student at Tulsa University.

Moss first visited Enid in the early 1960s, moving here to be with her husband, Daniel Hilligoss, who was then a student at Phillips University. She completed her undergraduate degree at Phillips, then moved on to graduate school at Wichita State University and later received a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Arkansas.

She later moved to Tahlequah, where she taught art at Northeastern State University and raised her family.

After her children were grown, Moss moved from Tahlequah back to Kansas, where she found time and leisure to pursue her own art — including the two pieces soon to be exhibited at Vernon Filley.

“I had no TV — just a radio — and in the evening, I would get in the car and go for a ride with my sketch pad,” Moss said.

One of those evening excursions yielded “Sunset in the Pasture,” an acrylic on canvas scene painted in 1991. Moss describes it as modern art, and a study in the “harmony and contrast of colors.”

In addition to “Sunset in the Pasture,” Moss is sending to Vernon Filley a paper and ink piece titled “Rancher’s Cafe,” which is a rendition of cattle brands on display at the Rancher’s Cafe in Sawyer, Kan.

Moss moved back to Enid in 2000 to be near family, and has dedicated her time here to volunteering with Enid Symphony Orchestra, Park Avenue Thrift and at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, and for 11 years she directed the students’ art gallery at Park Avenue.

Her work will be on public display Jan. 30 to April 10, at the Vernon Filley Art Museum, 421 S. Jackson St. in Pratt, Kan.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
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