University of Oklahoma Museum Debuts Disney Cel Animation Exhibition

NORMAN — The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is “all ears” this spring as it premieres a new exhibition of Walt Disney animation cels, including Mickey Mouse and dozens of characters from classic Disney films. The art museum at the University of Oklahoma opens A Century of Magic: The Animation of the Walt Disney Studios, Animation Cels from the Collection of Janis Scaramucci and Domer “Jay” Scaramucci Saturday, March 3.

The animation of the Walt Disney Studios had a profound impact on the American imagination over the course of the 20th century. A Century of Magic surveys many of the major animated films, beginning with the first feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), and concluding with Fantasia/2000 (1999). This exhibition, from a private collection, includes more than 80 cels used in the original production of the animated films and offers visitors the opportunity to view
the artistry of the animators’ work.

“We are thrilled to invite the public to share this amazing collection of animation cels from Walt Disney’s classic films,” said Ghislain d’Humières, director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. “Children and adults alike will enjoy this look at Mr. Disney’s magical world of animation. As a matter of fact, we are using this  opportunity to lower the artwork a bit for our younger visitors.”

Additionally, a digital animation station for children will be available in the middle of the gallery using iPod Touch technology to create original drawings and animations. The exhibition opens with a free reception for children and families at 4 p.m. and includes a special live performance of selected songs from Disney films at 5 p.m. by students from the OU School of Musical Theatre, under the direction of professor Gwen Walker.

At 6 p.m., special guest Richard Benefield, founding executive director of The Walt Disney Family Museum, will discuss Walt Disney’s innovations in the art of
animation.

From 7 to 9 p.m., adults are invited to free reception that features a special dance choreographed to Hellfire from the Disney film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Under the direction of Walker and Derrick Minter, students from the OU School of Dance and the School of Musical Theatre will present the performance at 8
p.m. The performance is for mature audiences only.

“We would especially like to thank Janis Scaramucci for the opportunity to showcase her private collection of animation cels for our visitors this spring,” said d’Humières. “In addition to a wonderful exhibition, visitors are in for an exciting semester of interdisciplinary university collaborations exploring the Walt Disney Studios, including music, dance, drama, law, business and more.”

Prior to the public reception, paid Museum Association members with Metro Arts Circle benefits are invited to bring one guest to a sneak-peek gallery talk, reception and after party starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 2. Benefield will provide the informal gallery talk and will be available for questions. Following the event, MAC will hold an after party at 9 p.m. at Blackbird Gastropub on Campus Corner.

“This exhibition is accompanied by a beautiful catalogue compiled by Mark White, the Eugene B. Adkins Curator and chief curator at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art,” d’Humières said. “It will serve as both a guide through the exhibition and a great way for visitors to remember their experience at the museum.”

The catalogue is available for purchase in Muse, the museum store.

The exhibition features cels from Disney films including Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Lady and the Tramp and Pinocchio, as well as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy shorts.

Throughout the spring, the museum will host multiple free programs around the exhibition, including viewings of such films as The Lion King and Robin Hood, as
well as a multimedia concert, a symposium and more. Additional information and a full calendar of events are available on the museum’s website. The exhibition runs through Sept. 16.

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