The Ellen Noel Art Museum opened in 1985. At that time I was not living in Odessa but I was with in a hours drive of the museum. That opportunity passed me by as my life was in over drive.
About a couple of decades later I read an article about Tom Lea's painting "Stampeded" had been sent to an art restorer in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a much needed restoration. It had been hanging in the Odessa main post office since the 1930's. First it hung in the that 1930's vintage post office building and later across Texas Avenue to a "new" post office building. built in the late 1960's.
The painting was hanging in a very public and basically unguarded place for years. Between the age, the elements and the occasional, intentional vandalism. The painting really needed extensive renovation.
That painting has fascinated me since I was about four years old. My mother would have business at the post office and she learned that if she stood me in front of that painting I would stand there until she was finished. The falling cowboy, the lighting, the red eyes of the longhorn steer, all captured my attention.
In the early 1990's, when started TexasBob.com, one of my first Texas Bob Travels pages was about the "Stampede" painting. Since October of 2015 Tom Lea's "Stampede" is hanging in the Ellen Noel Museum of Art and in September 2017 I went to see it again. It looks great and brilliance only my five year old brain had seen.
The rest of the museum is great. They have a permanent collection and traveling exhibits. When we visited the travailing exhibit was all about September 11th 2001. It was very moving.
The museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate so they will always have quality exhibits. Be sure go to there website. (link below) There you can find out what is being exhibited and what other events are happing at the museum.