|Address:||101 E 1st Street, Edmond, OK||County||Oklahoma|
City Council Chambers building painting
A mural painted in 1939 by IIa Turner McAfee which hung in the lobby of the Edmond Post Office for decades. Title “Pre-Settlement Days” it shows the open prairie before it was opened for settlement with buffalo and antelope grazing and roaming on the plains. When the post office was closed and the building was remodeled to house the Edmond Municpal Courts, the new lobby did not have a location suitable to hang the mural it was therefore moved to the City Council Chambers building. The artist was born in 1897 in Colorado, she and her artist husband lived for over sixty years in the art community of Taos, New Mexico.
Ila Mae McAfee (Turner) was born 1897 in the small ranching community of Sargents in southwestern Colorado near Gunnison. She died in 1995 in Pueblo, Colorado, where she moved after leaving her adobe home in Taos, New Mexico in late summer 1993.
She was raised on her family’s ranch south of Gunnison, and attended Logan County School, riding ten miles each way to school. In 1916, she graduated from Gunnison High School and then spent time in Los Angeles at the West Lake School before enrolling in Western State College (then a 2-year school) in 1917. After graduating in 1919, she went to Chicago and studied painting with the noted muralist James E. McBurney until 1924. Training at the Taft Studio with other art students, she obtained a substantial knowledge of sculpture and by assisting them when their work included animals.
During 1925 and 1926 she continued her studies in New York at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design. In 1926 she married Elmer Page Turner, a fellow artist whom she had met at McBurney’s studio. The couple honeymooned in Taos and moved there permanently in 1928. They built the White Horse Studio on Armory Place, two blocks from the Plaza, and settled in for a lifetime of painting (with occasional forays into the decorative arts).
In addition to over a thousand easel paintings, which are represented in numerous public and private collections, Ila’s murals were placed in the post offices of Clifton, TX, Cordell and Edmond, OK and Gunnison, CO, as well as in the public library of Greeley, CO. She was a particular friend of the noted Western art collector, Lutcher Stark and painted fifteen portraits of Lutcher’s longhorns at ‘Shangri-La.’ She also received every award that could be won at the New Mexico State Fair professional juried show.
McAfee Turner’s paintings are featured in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Gilcrease Museum, the Museum of New Mexico and other art galleries across the southwest.