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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

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For Immediate Release: May 4, 2009

Sen. Mary Easley poses with the children and grandchildren of Oklahoma sculptor Willard Stone following the reading of SCR 11 honoring his life and works.
Sen. Mary Easley poses with the children and grandchildren of Oklahoma sculptor Willard Stone
following the reading of SCR 11 honoring his life and works.

State Legislature Honors Sculptor Willard Stone

The State Legislature honored the life and work of Oklahoma artist Willard Stone last week. Sen. Mary Easley and Rep. Ben Sherrer authored Senate Concurrent Resolution 11 recognizing Stone's artistic ability and many accomplishments.

"Willard Stone was a gifted man whose pride in his Native American heritage can be seen in his wonderful works of art," said Easley, D-Wagoner. "I applaud the Gilcrease Museum for their fitting tribute to his extraordinary artwork; and I hope that citizens will take the time to go see the works of one of our state's most gifted artists."

Born in Oktaha, Oklahoma in 1916, Stone had a natural talent as a sculptor and entered his works at fairs in Muskogee and Okmulgee as a teen. Oklahoma historian Grant Foreman, impressed by Stone's work, encouraged the young man to enroll at Bacone College. He attended the school from 1936 to 1939 where he was mentored by Acee Blue Eagle and Woodrow Crumbo.

After leaving school, Stone supported his family through various jobs until Thomas Gilcrease offered him a grant as an artist-in-residence at the Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art.

Stone was of one-fourth Cherokee ancestry, although he was a Non-Government Enrolled Cherokee American. His work reflects the pride he had in his Native American values and love of nature.

During his career, he received and fulfilled commissions for the National Hall of Fame for Famous American Indians, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. He received the Outstanding Indian Award from the Council on American Indians in Tulsa, was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, was awarded an honorary degree by Bacone College, and was designated a Distinguished American Citizen and awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities degree by Oklahoma Christian College. The Five Civilized Tribes Museum also bestowed ten awards on him, including Master Artist.

"The amazing artwork of Willard Stone embodies and preserves the rich Native American spirit and culture," said Sherrer, D-Pryor Creek. "I’m very pleased the legislature is recognizing this gifted artist and the treasures he has left for the world to enjoy."

Stone passed away on March 5, 1985, and was buried near Locust Grove in the family cemetary.

In honor of his work, the Gilcrease Museum is currently showing more than 100 carvings, drawings, and photographs in the exhibit, "Willard Stone: Storyteller in the Wood", through June 21 of this year.

For more information contact:
Sen. Easley's Office - 405-521-5590

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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