OKLAHOMA CITY (November 23, 2020) – The Betty Price Gallery at the Oklahoma State Capitol will soon have a new home in the historic building. One of many changes occurring within the building during its multi-year restoration, the gallery is being moved to the south corridor of the Capitol’s second floor, to the area currently displaying the bronze busts of Oklahoma’s governors. The Hall of Governors will be relocated to a nearby restored mirror corridor on the east side of the wing.
Originally located on the west side of the Capitol’s first floor, the gallery was opened in 2007 as part of the celebration of the state’s centennial. It houses the Oklahoma State Art Collection, which is comprised of more than 400 works of art by Oklahoma’s most notable visual artists. The first-floor space will be utilized by the House of Representatives for additional meeting space to accommodate social distancing needs.
“The gallery’s new location offers many advantages, including its proximity to the rotunda and Grand Staircase, which receive significant daily foot traffic,” said Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples. “Adorned with historic architectural details, the space features the ‘Beyond the Centennial’ mural as a dynamic backdrop for the state’s premier art collection of Oklahoma artists.”
To accommodate the needs of the valuable and diverse collection of artwork in the new space, which ranges from basketry and photographs to sculptures and paintings dating from pre-statehood to the present, workers will install glass partitions and heating and cooling equipment to allow for the regulation of the space’s temperature and humidity to comply with museum standards and best practices. Energy efficient LED lighting that will preserve the integrity of the art will be incorporated, and walls will also be constructed so that the artwork can be installed with rotating exhibitions of the collection. The $1.3 million needed to relocate the gallery was approved unanimously by State Capitol Repair Expenditure Oversight Committee during its November 4 meeting.
Oklahoma Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Treat said, “The Betty Price Gallery showcases works by artists who were either born in our state, trained here, or produced a significant portion of their life’s work in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Senate is glad to have collaborated on this project to protect and promote the art collection that beautifies the People’s House. With this new location in the Capitol, hopefully more people will be able to appreciate the diverse talent and artistic creativity that are part of Oklahoma’s heritage and identity.”
“This move fulfills a safety and functionality need while improving the visibility of art in Oklahoma’s soon-to-be fully restored State Capitol. It was important to the House to maintain the art collection’s presence in the building, and we are pleased its new location is even better than the previous one,” said House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka.
Sharples expressed appreciation to Speaker of the House Charles McCall and President Pro Tempore Greg Treat and to members of the State Capitol Repair Expenditure Oversight Committee for prioritizing the needs of the collection and its permanence in the Oklahoma State Capitol.
“By securing a permanent and museum-quality space in the Capitol for the Betty Price Gallery, leaders have demonstrated a commitment to the creative spirit of our people and the unique perspectives of the world around us seen through the eyes of Oklahoma artists,” said Sharples. “I am grateful that the works in the Oklahoma State Art Collection will continue to be an educational tool and will ensure that the Oklahoma State Capitol remains the top cultural tourism destination for Oklahomans and visitors from around the world.”
For more information about the Betty Price Gallery and the Oklahoma State 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 approximately 350 grants to nearly 200 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state's arts and cultural industry, and manages the art collections at the Oklahoma state Capitol. Additional information is available at arts.ok.gov.