OKLAHOMA CITY (May 4, 2018) – A new painting for the Oklahoma State Capitol Art Collection that pays tribute to the history of family ranching in northeast Oklahoma was unveiled on Wednesday, May 2 on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The privately funded commission of “Rocking Chair Ranch, Osage Co.” was led by Oklahoma State Representative Earl Sears of Bartlesville and facilitated by the Oklahoma Arts Council.
Created by nationally-known Tulsa artist Ross Myers, the painting depicts a section of a ranch in central Osage County established by National Cattlemen’s Association charter member Jim McKinley just after World War II. The piece represents a way of life that has made historical contributions to the economy and culture of Oklahoma.
“Rocking Chair Ranch, Osage Co.” joins hundreds of works of art in the Capitol belonging to the people of Oklahoma and maintained by the Oklahoma Arts Council in its role as collections manager. Works in the collection reflect the state’s important events, diverse landscape, and notable people. Approval of new artwork into the collection is determined by the State Capitol Preservation Commission.
During the commissioning process, the Oklahoma Arts Council worked with Rep. Sears to identify a subject for the painting that would fill a void in the collection’s representation of the story of Oklahoma. Cattle ranching has been a mainstay of northeast Oklahoma’s economy since the 1890s. From the 100,000-acre Chapman-Barnard Ranch in the 1930s and the famous Miller Brothers 101 Ranch to the present-day Drummond Ranch near Pawhuska, the region has featured several of the state’s largest and most well-known ranches.
In his remarks for the unveiling, Rep. Sears said that through the commissioning of the painting, he wanted to give back to the people of Oklahoma on behalf of his district. Due to term limits, Rep. Sears is one of at least 42 state legislators who will not return to the Capitol after their current term ends. A former public school educator for more than 30 years, Rep. Sears was presented with a Public Service in the Arts Award at the 2015 Governor’s Arts Awards for his support of the arts as a government official.
For more information about the Capitol Art Collection, visit arts.ok.gov.
About the Oklahoma Arts Council
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The agency’s mission is to lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry. The Oklahoma Arts Council provides more than 400 grants to nearly 225 organizations and schools statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state's arts and cultural industry, and manages works of art in Oklahoma Public Art Collection and the public spaces of the state Capitol. Additional information is available at arts.ok.gov.
About the State Capitol Preservation Commission
Created in 1982, the State Capitol Preservation Commission plans and supervises the preservation and restoration of the interior and exterior of the Oklahoma State Capitol building and the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion. The commission also controls the display of art objects in public areas of the buildings. The commission consists of 15 appointed members.