Oklahoma Artists – Past meets Present
‘Oklahoma Artists’ exhibit connects past and
present at Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Spotlight on area art instructor – Arlyn Brantley
April 3 – April 29, 2019
DUNCAN, Okla. – On exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center (CTHC), now through April 29, is “Oklahoma Artists” featuring paintings that have been in the CTHC & Garis Gallery of the American West vault for many years.
Twenty-seven paintings, 12 pewter figures and other pieces of art related to Oklahoma history are in this exhibit. Seven of those paintings are by Marlow High School art instructor, Arlyn Brantley, along with one by his former art student, Alyssa Cox.
Leah Mulkey, education coordinator, invited Brantley to show some of his work in the “Oklahoma Artists” exhibit. She also wanted to showcase Cox’s painting of a Blue Jay in flight. That painting was previously displayed at the Heritage Center, in the 2017 Youth Art Month show.
Brantley is as Oklahoman as an artist can be – from being born in Chickasha, graduating from Rush Springs High School, and attending East Central University in Ada. Out of college, he’s spent the last 15 years teaching art, first at Comanche, and now at Marlow High School. His landscape paintings in the show were the result of travels with his wife, Sarah, into remote regions, including Canada. He hopes his work conveys the sense of surprise one feels when traveling and finding something unexpected. In fact, each of the paintings exhibited in this show offer guests something unique – from landscapes to portraits, the Chisholm Trail and Native American history.
Artists featured in this show are Jackie “Blackhorse” Tointigh, Jeff Yellowhair, Dick West, Doc Tate Nevaquaya, Elaine Smith, Donald Vann, Bobby “White Buffalo” Hill, Will Sampson, Marilyn Diggs, Leonard Good, Arni Anderson, Dylan Cavin, Juan Pirtle (Elfrida, AZ), Bill Clifton and Fred Unruh. About half of the artists are still living. Nearly all these paintings are works dated more than 20 years ago, with the exception of Diggs and Cavin. Both Diggs and Cavin have had exhibits at CTHC.
It’s also important to note that each of the artists have contributed extensively to Oklahoma’s history through their art. Vann is considered a Cherokee National Treasure, and Nevaquaya who died in 1996, was the first Oklahoman to win the National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, in 1986.
One of the landscape paintings offers a challenge to guests, to determine the signature of the artist, but the scene most definitely appears to be “Oklahoma” in theme. Paintings range in styles and mediums used – oil, watercolor and acrylic.
Pewter figures by Michael Anthony Ricker, donated by Duncan pewter store owner, Bobby Richardson (1936-2013), a bronze sculpture by Al Crawford, and gourds by Beverly Scott (1949-2014) are also on display. Scott served as an educator at the Heritage Center, and was known for bringing life to Oklahoma figures through her historical character roles.
Education and art history are fundamental in the Heritage Center’s mission, and more than 10,000 students visit yearly for field trips. Five sessions are offered each year, with new lessons and activities. In the current spring session, classes that visit will learn about the Oklahoma land run history along with other lessons. All components – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, are incorporated into the sessions.
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center is open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Located at 1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway in Duncan. Call 580-252-6692 for information. It is an official “Best Heritage Attraction,” an Oklahoma Outstanding Attraction, a National Day of the Cowboy ‘Cowboy Keeper” and a Top Ten Western Museum – True West Magazine. Chisholm Trail Heritage Center Association is a 501c3 non-profit.