ATHENS, Ohio (March 28, 2005) -- Arlene "Phoebe" Beasley, a world-renowned artist and a 1965 graduate of Ohio University, will deliver the university's undergraduate commencement address on Saturday, June 11, at the 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ceremonies.
Specializing in oils-on-canvas as well as prints and collage, Beasley's works are featured in the homes of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby and Maya Angelou. She is the only artist to twice receive the Presidential Seal on her artworks. Her commissions include the official artist of the 2000 National Democratic Convention, the 1987 and 2000 Los Angeles Marathons, and the 100 Black Men National Convention in Detroit in 1999.
"Phoebe Beasley is truly a remarkable talent in the art world. An exemplary artist by day and always a wonderful humanitarian, she is already one of our successful graduates," Ohio University President Roderick McDavis said. "We are honored to have her share her experiences and insights on life with our Class of 2005."
Her success in the art world led to her appointment as the first African-American woman to become president of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, where she served for 10 years prior to her appointment.
Beasley was named Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles Sentinel and received the Black Women of Achievement Award from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Her work has been part of a museum group show mounted by the Smithsonian Institute honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She also collaborated with Maya Angelou on a book about Langston Hughes, for which she created several serigraphs based on his poems.
Before becoming a successful artist, Beasley worked for 29 years in merchandise design at KFI-AM radio. While working full-time in sales, she painted at home on the weekends and studied in the evenings at the Art Center College of Design and later at the Otis Art Institute. In addition to her bachelor of fine arts degree in art education from Ohio University, she earned a master's degree from Kent State University.
Daniel Modaff, associate professor in the School of Communication Studies of the College of Communication and the 2004 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member, will address the graduate commencement ceremony 10 a.m. Friday, June 10, at the Convocation Center. The College of Osteopathic Medicine will present Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees 10 a.m. Saturday, June 4, at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.
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