World traveler, tastemaker, curator, patron of the arts; these are just few of the titles one could use to describe Phyllis Weston but even those fail to convey the magnitude of her influence. Weston’s significance in the Cincinnati arts scene is undeniable and her lasting impact on the Art Academy of Cincinnati — immeasurable. It’s this legacy for which she will be remembered. The East Walnut HIlls resident and well-known Cincinnati arts advocate died on Sunday. She was 94.
Weston will forever be treasured for her role in bringing cutting edge of art from around the world back to Cincinnati to share with city. Weston, founded the Closson’s Art Gallery in 1964 and opened the Phyllis Weston-Annie Bolling Gallery in 2006, which became the Phyllis Weston Gallery in 2010. Weston spent more than four decades, not only showing the works of international artists, but also passionately promoting the works of local artists, including AAC students, educators and alumni.
“Phyllis was such an advocate for the arts, especially a champion for new and undiscovered artists,” said Catherine Bradford, AAC board member. “She was especially fond of the Art Academy and their past and current artists.”
The works of AAC artists, John Ruthven, John Stobart, Jack Meanwell, Frank Duveneck, Elizabeth Nourse, Harry Shokler and John Henry Twachtman, were shown and bolstered on the walls of Weston’s galleries. In 2005, the AAC awarded Weston with an honorary doctorate, celebrating her prevailing influence in and dedication to advancing the arts of Cincinnati.
“Phyllis Weston was a true friend of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, always ready to give her time and resources for the benefit of the college,” said John M Sullivan, Art Academy President. “She cared very deeply for the students of the Art Academy and helped many of them launch their artistic practice. She will be dearly missed.”
Weston’s influence reached far beyond her galleries walls and the works shown there. Weston also helped found the Cincinnati Ballet and the organization that would become Enjoy the Arts, which offers discounted tickets to make the arts more accessible to young adults.
AAC Board Member, Catherine Bradford recently reminisced about visiting Weston in her East Walnut Hills home, touring her fabulous collection of art and listening to Weston’s stories about each piece.
“She was a beautiful person and will be missed by all in the arts world,” Bradford said. “She will be truly be remembered as a Great Cincinnatian.”