Senator Charles Ford announced the upcoming presentation of a portrait of singer, songwriter, and author Woody Guthrie, commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. The portrait by veteran painter Charles Banks Wilson will be unveiled Thursday July 15th at 12:00 p.m. in the Capitol rotunda.
“Woody Guthrie dedicated his life to writing folk songs and intertwined his musical talent with his political ideology. For this some have criticized Guthrie and his family, but nonetheless the native Oklahoman has provided our state and our nation with a hundreds of songs that have been passed down through many generations,” said Senator Ford, President of the Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc.
Woody Guthrie passed away on October 3, 1967 after his fight with Huntington’s Disease. The disease is an inherited, degenerative brain disorder that results in progressive loss of control of the mind and body. Artist Charles Banks Wilson, 86, has stated that he will hand over his artist’s commission to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America at the unveiling ceremony at the Capitol.
The portrait is sponsored by Oklahoma’s largest weekly and third largest newspaper, the Oklahoma Gazette. The paper ran a feature piece on Woody Guthrie several weeks ago and has spearheaded a fundraising drive to raise the funds to cover the costs of the artist’s commission, framing and hanging of the portrait of Woody Guthrie.
“I am very proud to be a part of this historical dedication,” stated Ford. “So many Oklahomans have donated to this cause and the generosity of Charles Banks Wilson to the Huntington’s Disease Society is a wonderful honor to Guthrie’s life.”
A family delegation is expected to attend and artists from the Woody Guthrie Festival will be performing at the dedication.
This and other art commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. can be found on the Internet at: http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/senate/welcome.html.