YC memorializes beloved art faculty member with Verde campus gallery renaming

The woman universally described by her former students and colleagues as a fiercely dedicated champion of Yavapai College art programs is being honored posthumously with the renaming of the YC Verde Art Gallery in her honor.

The Patty McMullen-Mikles Gallery of Yavapai College naming ceremony, celebrating the life and legacy of the successful artist and beloved former YC art professor who died in 2015, is happening at the YC Verde Valley Campus art gallery at 5 p.m. Sept. 30. The ceremony coincides with the opening reception for an exhibition titled “Don Reitz Follow Your Bliss.” The exhibition showcases the art and life of Reitz, a renowned ceramic artist and longtime Verde Valley resident who, before his death in 2014, gifted the college a mural that now decorates the east wall of the Southwest Wine Center.

McMullen-Mikles’ family, friends and former YC colleagues are cheering the fact that she is being memorialized with her name gracing the Verde campus gallery that she founded and directed early in her 20-year tenure with the YC Art Department.

“She is severely missed and well-deserving of this memorial renaming of the Verde campus art gallery,” said YC Professor Dr. Barb Waak. Although a talented artist whose paintings, drawings and fiber art pieces were represented by galleries throughout the Southwest, Waak said teaching was McMullen-Mikles’ “true gift. She could take students who were daunted at the prospect of putting pencil, charcoal, or brush to paper and coax the very best work out of them,” Waak said.

YC Professor Dr. Amy Stein said she is grateful the gallery renaming is happening after a concerted campaign by YC faculty members past and present. Stein called McMullen-Mikles a “generous teacher” who was passionate about art and education. “And her greatest gift to all of us the last year of her life was she taught us all how to leave this landscape with grace, beauty and dignity.”

McMullen-Mikles  taught drawing, two-dimensional design, oil, acrylic and watercolor painting, among many other credit and community education classes for YC. She is credited with developing YC’s Associate degree program in fine arts and was a talented vocalist who did some touring in Europe, the United States and Canada early in her career.

The  Patty McMullen-Mikles Gallery naming ceremony and the opening reception for the Ron Reitz exhibition are free and all are welcome. Learn more about the combined events at www.yc.edu/artgallery.

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