OETA's Emmy award winning documentary series Gallery captures the best Oklahoma has to offer in all forms of art from every part of the state. Episode #805, The People's Art: A Tour of the Capitol Collection, focuses on the works of art at the capitol and the stories of Oklahoma history told through the art. The episode is hosted by The Honorable Robert H. Henry, former Oklahoma legislator and art enthusiast.
The DVD presentation will introduce students to the Capitol Art Collection at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Through note-taking, discussion, quiz, and writing assignment, the students will become familiar with the art and the stories it tells.
Activities and Procedures
- Have the students take notes during the DVD. Ask them to write down interesting facts about both the artists Judge Henry talks about as well as the subject matter of each work of art. (60 minutes)
- Once the DVD has concluded, encourage discussion about what the students found interesting. Have the students continue to take notes during the discussion. It may be helpful to fast forward and rewind the DVD to certain topics of discussion.
- You may use some of the following topics to ignite discussion:
- Enoch Kelly Haney's statue, The Guardian, which stands atop the Capitol dome is 22 feet tall and weighs 4,000 pounds. The statue is made of bronze. The nine-foot statue which is displayed inside the Capitol is an exact replica also made of bronze. The smaller edition of the statue gives visitors to the Capitol the chance to see all the details of the statue from up close. Other bronze sculptures in the Capitol include Kate Barnard by Sandra Van Zandt as well as 24 busts of former governors by various artists.
- The four paintings by Wilson Hurley, including Spring Morning Along the Muddy Boggy, Autumn Woods North of Tahlequah, A Storm Passing Northwest of Anadarko, and Sunset at Roman Nose State Park make up a series titled Visions of the Land: The Centennial Suite. The paintings illustrate how different the land of Oklahoma is in each of the four corners of the state.
- The host, Judge Henry, sat as a model for artist Mike Wimmer while he painted Mahongo at the Court of Charles X of France. Some artists use photographs to study their subject and some use live models. Because many of the works of art in the Capitol are about people that are long gone, the artists have to find people that resemble the person from which to create. Another Capitol artist who used live models is Enoch Kelly Haney, who used his son and his grandson to model for the Guardian. Also, Charles Banks Wilson used six men and one woman as models for his portrait of Sequoyah. Each model represented a different part of Sequoyah's figure.
- After a brief discussion, distribute the 25-question quiz which accompanies the DVD. Allow the students to use their notes for the quiz.
Suggested Writing Assignment
- Have the students choose a work of art from the DVD that interested them. Allow them time to gather more information from the library or internet (All Capitol art is cataloged and written about on our website at http://www.arts.ok.gov/capitolart/permart.html. Ask the students to write about the work of art answering the following questions:
- What or who is the work of art about?
- Why is this person/event important to Oklahoma?
- Who is the artist?
- How is the artist connected to Oklahoma?
- What materials were used to create this work of art?
- Why do you find this particular work of art interesting?