Lucia Wiley, a third generation Tillamooker, was one of a family of six children. She was born in Tillamook, Oregon on August 14, 1906. She was the daughter of Wayne and Frances Wiley. After graduating from high school in Tillamook, she attended the University of Oregon and received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She did post graduate work at the University of Minnesota and received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oregon in 1932. She returned to Minnesota and painted frescos in the Long Prairie, MN post office, International Falls, MN post office, the Shelbyville, IL post office, the Moorhead MN post office, the Miller Vocational High School, Minneapolis, MN ("Youth marches on Toward Life of Service"), and the Minnesota National Guard Armory ("Peace and War").
Miss Wiley did two frescos in Tillamook. The first was for the Tillamook Post Office. This fresco secco entitled "The Landing of Captain Robert Gray in 1788" was installed in 1943. The Post office building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is now used as the Tillamook City Hall. In 1950, Sr. Wiley created the fresco "Building of the Morning Star" for the Tillamook County Courthouse. This fresco depicts the isolated early settlers in the county building the first boat which gave them access to the outside world. It is located in the south lobby of the Tillamook County Courthouse. She also painted "Salmon Fishing in Oregon" at the University of Oregon and "Woman at the Well," St. John's Episcopal Church, Milwaukie, OR.
In 1955, Miss Wiley left Portland, Oregon for New York City where she entered the Episcopal order of the Community of Holy Spirit. She became principal of the lower school at St. Hilda's and St. Hugh's school in New York. Sister Lucia also did illustrations in the Book of Common Prayer, "Our Prayers and Praises" printed in 1958. She received the prestigious "Medal of Honor" awarded by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution for outstanding community service in 1985 and was named one of the "Eight Best Mural Painters" in the nation. September 20, 1987 was declared "Sister Lucia Wiley Day" in Tillamook, Oregon. She died in 1998. Sister Lucia was known as a foremost painter of true fresco and a woman of great spirituality and community service.
Information contributed by Carol Brown, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, 2106 Second Street, Tillamook, OR 97141, 503 842-4553 voice and fax, www.tcpm.org
Lucia Wiley Links:
A Life in Art and Spirituality:
Excerpt form a 1996 interview by Karen Ellis.
A Chronology of Sr. Lucia's Art and Achievements
Tillamook, OR Page
© 2004 Nancy Lorance
All Rights Reserved.