Award-Winning Filmmaker to Present Art Exhibition ‘Lost Moments’ at WT


CANYON, Texas — Flickers of the past are reincarnated in new creative works on view in an upcoming exhibition at West Texas A&M University. 

Michael Merriman, a 2016 WT Distinguished Alumni Award recipient who now is pursuing a graduate degree at WT, will showcase new paintings inspired by his 30-plus year career as an acclaimed filmmaker and music video director. 

Merriman, whose Nashville-based career skyrocketed in 1985 as the creative visual force behind the video of Michael Martin Murphey’s “Long Line of Love,” will present “Lost Moments” in the Dord Fitz Formal Gallery in Mary Moody Northen Hall on WT’s Canyon campus. 

Opening reception is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 6 in the gallery. The show will be on view through Oct. 28. 

Merriman returned to the Amarillo area in 2010, then retired from his filmmaking career in 2018. 

“I started as a painter in the ’70s and thought I’d like to go back to it,” Merriman said. “I had attended a few of The Arts at WT subscription series events and was blown away by the quality of the work coming out of the University’s art department, so I decided to apply for graduate school.” 

By that point, Merriman had already succeeded beyond all of his professional dreams, including directing several documentaries for PBS and more than 220 music videos, including Brooks & Dunn’s “Only in America,”which won Music Video of the Year for the Academy of Country Music in 2002. 

Still, he decided to pursue a master’s in fine arts through the WT Graduate School; the exhibition is the culmination of his studies in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities, and he’ll graduate in December. 

“I don’t need this degree, quite frankly. I’ve had a career,” said Merriman, who’ll turn 69 in late October. “But I’ve learned so much, all the stuff I’ve needed to learn to be a painter again and have a new career.” 

“Lost Moments,” then, is a bridge from one life to another. 

“I came up with the idea of using a single frame from several of my film projects as the source material and rendering them on canvas abstractly,” Merriman said. “Motion pictures made on film usually include 24 frames per second, so in a four-minute music video, there are a lot of frames in there. I had to go back and find scenes I remembered and was proud of. 

“I was looking for those moments in time, then bringing them back and reinterpreting them,” he said. 

The resulting exhibition is remarkable, said Jon Revett, art program director and Doris Alexander Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts. 

“Michael is an Amarillo legend, and we were lucky to have him come back to WT to study painting,” Revett said. “It has been quite joy to work with him, and his investigation has led him to some interesting places.” 

Fitz Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and by appointment Fridays and Saturdays. Email [email protected]. 

Fostering an appreciation of the arts is a key component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World. 

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2022 — has raised more than $110 million.