in Bloomington, Indiana in the early 70’s,
Deanna Ooley spent her early years in a small Indiana coal mining
and farming town. This small community’s taste ran toward
basketball along with mining. This influenced her art toward pragmatism
and simplicity. Her artistic tendencies surfaced at a young age.
Memories of her mother bribing her with drawing paper and other materials in order to motivate room cleaning are favorites.Ooley’s parents were highly supportive, buying numerous supplies and encouraging her to experiment with different media. Her father, Jim, was a welder and power plant supervisor and her mother, Lynne, a bank employee. Both areas of finance and metal skills would reveal themselves in Ooley’s later work.
She finished high school with honors and earned a full scholarship to the Art Institute of Dallas. Though the program was not a good fit , Ooley completed the Fashion Marketing program. While in attendance she became an intern for the prestigious Kim Dawson Modeling Agency.
In 1998, Ooley began studies at the University of North Texas (UNT) working under metal sculptor, Richard Davis, with help from bronze expert David Iles. Richard continued to be her mentor until graduation. Ooley earned two degrees from the University of North Texas- a BFA in Sculpture and a BBA in Marketing, graduating cum laude.
She spent years with the Dallas Museum of Art in positions that ranged from volunteer to Membership Assistant. In 2003, she was hired by the Nasher Sculpture Center to serve as Membership Manager for this internationally known start-up. But working for a start-up organization in a public facing position, while valuable experience, was not a terminal career position or path for her. Therefore after two years, she took a position as a Database Administrator for ACNielsen (ne: Nielsen) working in consumer research and data management. This transition from non-profit to the corporate sector also influenced her thought and style of work.
During the years from the early 90’s into the 2000s, Ooley was successfully exhibiting in local galleries and museums as well as successfully completing commissions for local and national patrons. Some of the spaces she exhibited in include the 1308 Experimental Art Space, the 500x Gallery, the Dallas Museum of Art (2001 & 2003), the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, and the Bath House, Quirk Gallery in Richmond, and Appalachian Center for Craft in TN.
In recent years, working for an international organization like Nielsen has had a profound influence on Ooley’s work. Although the years at Nielsen were productive, she left in order to further her art education- graduating with an MFA in Jewelry and Art Metals. She currently teaches design and metals classes for the University of North Texas.
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