Myrtle Agnew Walker
The MAW Gallery is named for Myrtle Agnew Walker, a talented artist and tireless champion of art, children and education. Art was one of Myrtle’s great loves, and she delighted in introducing all ages to the beauty and joy of paintings, sculptures or other works.
As a young woman, Myrtle had hoped to pursue an art career. Recognizing her talent, Northwestern University offered her an art scholarship when she was a senior at Kirkwood (Mo.) High School, quite an accomplishment in the 1930s. Though the scholarship covered tuition, Myrtle did not have the funds for books, materials and room and board. Later, after establishing a successful company with her husband, Myrtle became a generous philanthropist.
She created a scholarship program that has allowed more than 200 students the opportunity she did not have -- to continue their education and pursue an art career. Myrtle and her husband generously supported a broad range of philanthropic endeavors, from the scholarship program and children’s art studios to health care buildings and universities.
As a businesswoman, Myrtle stood side-by-side with her husband running and building their family-owned company into a global organization. As a community leader and devoted mother of four, she put her strong organizational and artistic skills to work.
When her children were growing up, she served as a Girl Scout troop leader, Sunday school teacher, Vacation Bible School organizer, hospital sewing lady, avid quilt-maker and non-profit board member. She had seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Myrtle lived to be 95 years old and loved to place art in unexpected places for all to enjoy. These include “Myrtle’s Turtles,” immense bronze sculptures found at The University of Texas at Austin Nursing School and in other locations across the country.
Myrtle Walker was awarded the Missouri Arts Award in Philanthropy and the Missouri Art Education’s “Art for the Heart” award in 2015. The MAW Gallery was opened in 2018 by Dr. Mary Walker, Myrtle’s daughter, to continue her lifelong legacy of spreading beauty and joy through art.