Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
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.
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