Free For All: The 24 Best Displays of Public Art in Oklahoma

by Molly Evans

07/22/2014

Art isn’t just found in galleries. Thanks to the talent and ingenuity of its creators, and funding by both public and private entities, art can be found in public spaces all over Oklahoma. Here are just 24 examples.

Oklahoma City

1. Curious Organism
OKC artist Stan Carroll created this work “tasked with creating a buzz” outside the Downtown OKC Underground. It resides under the overhang of a parking garage with tentacles that extend 100 feet down into the tunnel. See more public art by Stan Carroll, including the enormous SkyDance Bridge.

2. Disk
According to artist Thomas Sayre’s website, the disks — three in earth-cast concrete and one in stainless steel — on Lincoln Boulevard in front of the Office of State Finance in Oklahoma City represent “the rich past of Oklahoma’s relationship to the earth.”

3. Homestead to Harvest
The statue resides at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry in Oklahoma City. Artists Andy Dufford of Chevo studios used granite, iron, and aluminum.

4. Where Earth and Sky Meet
Los Angeles-based sculptor Phillip K. Smith III was commissioned by the Oklahoma City Public Art Commission to create this 26-foot-tall statue on the east side of City Hall in OKC.

5. The Womb Art Gallery
The façade of The Womb Art Gallery in OKC matches the vibrant, psychedelic, and downright trippy mind of its owner — Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Norman

6. Bike racks
Oklahoma artists designed several bike racks in 2013 that adorn Main Street Norman. The five bike racks include, “Thundercloud” and “Bison Charge” by Debby Kaspari, “Ride Fast” by Dustin Gilpin, “Fourheads” by Chris McDaniel, and “Palette” by Adam Stewart.

7. Homeward Bound
Allan Houser’s bronze work of a Native American woman leading her animals home resides east of OU’s Bizzell Memorial Library.

8. Indian Grass
This 29-foot-tall structure resides at the intersection of Main Street, North Carter and West Acres Avenue on a roundabout in Norman. Juan and Patricia Navarette of Taos, New Mexico created the large, metal artwork, which was selected in 2009 from a public competition.

9. Lions Park
Lions Park in Norman is home to numerous sculptures, notably the giant head of a woman and two large ducks. Recently, six students from the University of Oklahoma installed their selected works this summer. Read more about the student artists.

10. Pastoral Dreamer
One of OU’s most recognized statues, “Pastoral Dreamer” is a bronze sculpture of a man with his eyes closed in a relaxed position. Viewers can only see his shoulders and crossed legs because the grass seemingly covers the torso. According to artist David Phelps, “Pastoral Dreamer” came to him in a vision during a time of “extreme fatigue.”

11. Silver Linings
Artist Jonathan Hils constructed “Silver Lining” from fabricated and powder coated steel, according to his website. The sculpture resides in front of Scratch at the intersection of Main and Santa Fe in Norman.

12. Sphinx
Perched on the lawn of OU’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is Fernando Botero’s bronze “Sphinx.” She’s perplexing to new students at first, but she soon becomes a useful landmark for getting around campus.

13. Sun Dial
Along with Hils’ “Silver Linings,” “Sun Dial” by Craig Swan was chosen as new public art in Norman in 2012. Swan’s statue is comprised of three sheets of steel welded together, creating a double image of scissor-tailed flycatchers.

Chickasha

14. Flight
California artist, Archie Held created a bronze sculpture that resides on the front lawn of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha.

Enid

15. Prairie Winds
Glasswork by Kathy Bradford portrays native Oklahoma plants, animals, and early imagery of a prairie landscape. Bradford’s intricate work can be found at The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in Enid.

Hominy

16. Cha’ Tullis Murals
The city of Hominy prides itself on being a “city of murals.” Forty murals have been painted on the buildings of the town, and most of them are the work of Hominy native and Blackfoot artist, Cha’ Tullis. View his work here.

Tulsa

17. Artificial Cloud
Bob Haozous, son of Oklahoma’s most acclaimed Native American artist Allan Houser, created the towering steel statue that stands near Tulsa’s Center of the Universe. Watch Haozous share the story of the sculpture.

18. The Five Moons
Installed in 2007 at the Tulsa Historical Society, The Five Moons bronze statues represent Oklahoma’s five internationally renown ballerinas: Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, Moscelyne Larkin, Maria Tallchief, and Marjorie Tallchief. Northeast Oklahoma and Native American artist Gary Henson created the statue.

19. Golden Driller
A monument to Tulsa’s prosperity and history as an oil boomtown, the Golden Driller commands the Expo Square. Weighing 43,500 pounds and standing over 75 feet, the statue has been a Tulsa landmark since 1966.

20. Indian Warrior
Just one among myriad murals in Tulsa’s Blue Dome District, Indian Warrior pays tribute to various state symbols: Indian Blanket, a scissor-tailed flycatcher, and a Creek catalpa tree. The mural measures 15 by 15 feet and was pained by Oklahoma City’s Scott Henderson.

21. Scope
Ralph Helmick created the abstract sculpture outside of Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. At the dedication ceremony, Helmick said the two dominant images of the intricately designed metal statue are the brain and the heart.

22. Woody Guthrie Mural
Local artist Aaron Whisner won the competition to paint a mural of Okemah’s folk icon, Woody Guthrie. The mural covers the west side of the Tulsa Paper Company Building, which houses the Woody Guthrie Center in the Brady Arts District.

Sapulpa

23. Bronze Buffalo
The glimmering bronze buffalo is a mile-marker for drivers heading to or from Sapulpa on Route 66. There’s even a small parking lot near the statue for photo opportunities.

Miami

24. Norse Ship
The Norse Ship at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College serves as public art and as tribute to NEO’s Golden Norsemen sports teams. The ship grabs attention not only from a distance but also up close with its intricate design and historically accurate detail.