“Ask me a question and I’ll tell you a story. And the answer is in the story somewhere.” This was the teaching philosophy of Marty Avrett, arts educator and highly accomplished painter of Native American (Coushatta/Cherokee/Choctaw) descent who grew up in Irving, Texas. Living in close proximity to Dallas allowed Avrett the opportunity to occasionally visit the art museum there where his love for the arts began. After graduating from Irving High School in 1960, he headed to California where he would receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1966 and his Master of Fine Arts in 1968 from the San Francisco Art Institute. Avrett received full scholarships while attending the Arts Institute and studied under internationally respected artist Richard Diebenkorn. Shortly after receiving his MFA Avrett accepted a position to teach painting and drawing at Oklahoma State University in 1969 where he was encouraged to cultivate his artistic career. He didn’t set out to be an educator when he began his studies, however, he credits his time spent at OSU to his fulfilling and successful career as an educator and painter.
From 1973-1974, he served as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Lancaster in England and would later return in 1978 to paint for another four months. From 1987-1988, he would again spend time abroad to work on his art in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuanto, Mexico. Avrett has exhibited his works nationally and internationally in countries such as England, Germany, Switzerland, and Mexico. His work is in museum collections in the U.S. and England as well as numerous private collections. Avrett retired from Oklahoma State University but stayed in Stillwater where he maintains his painting studio. From a very young age, he recalls never being told he couldn’t do something, offering him many opportunities throughout his life to explore everything from tools and techniques to the woods and mountains where he hikes and fly fishes today.