OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. has completed yet another project at the State Capitol. At noon on Monday, March 12, a ceremony will be held for the dedication of four bronze roundels that will mark the entrances to the House and Senate chambers.
"A lot of people might not be aware that when our capitol was originally constructed, the architect Solomon Layton had envisioned bronze roundels depicting the state's native people at the entrances of the House and Senate," explained Senator Charles Ford, President of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc.
"This was a project I thought would be perfect for this organization to undertake. I immediately thought of fellow Senator and Native American Artist Kelly Haney to sculpt the roundels," said Ford.
Funding for the sculptures was provided by the Tulsa Tribune Foundation, a public foundation founded in 1968 serving Oklahoma in the areas of education, history and the arts.
The full-blood Seminole sculptor and painter immediately agreed to undertake the work. Although the ethics commission ruled an artist's commission would be permissible because it was funded through private sources, Senator Haney declined a fee for his work.
"It is a tremendous honor for me to be able to do this as a gift for the capitol and for the people of this state. Although these roundels depict Native American images and symbols, the strengths and values they represent are shared by all Oklahomans," said Senator Haney.
The eastern tribes of Oklahoma will be represented in two roundels on each side of the entrance to the Senate Chambers, entitled "the Power of Hope" and "With the Vision of an Eagle." The tribes of western Oklahoma will be represented in the two bronzes on either side of the House chamber entrance entitled "The Will to Live" and "The Spirit of Heritage."