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New center features Oldfield, western heritage
The Fred Oldfield Western Heritage Center devoted to the preservation of the art and culture of the west, particularly as depicted by the Federal Way artist whose name it bears is receiving strong community support despite being just one week old.
In advance of the centers opening June 22 at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup, a steady stream of people brought items for the museum section. Some of the contributors arrived after 10 p.m. with old kitchen cupboards and washboards to be used in displays.
Also contributed were arrowheads and beaded Indian moccasins, framed beaded purses, a large collection of cowboy boots and a replica chuckwagon.
Oldfields fans loaned more than 75 of the western artists early paintings for the opening of the center. The pieces from private collections include his his first small oil, done with house paints, that still has a tiny nail hole in the top where the artist tacked it to the wall. Also included is his first palette knife painting of an old tree and mountain that he painted as an experiment (he sold it for $5) and the first water colors he painted in art school more than 50 years ago.
The center is a non-profit organization. Information about memberships is available at (253) 752-9708.
Oldfield grew up on the Toppenish Indian Reservation. He worked as a cowhand and is known for his colorful stories of life on the range, in addition to his art.
He started selling paintings in 1941, later attended art school in Seattle and is now best-known for his western paintings.