Public Art - City of Lawton Fine Art

Read more about the City of Lawton's fine and public art.

In 1969, Lawton Arts & Humanities Council was given responsibility and management of the “Lawton Municipal Collection” This continued until 2014.  The City of Lawton's fine art collection is currently managed by the Arts & Humanities Division.  The artwork can be found in McMahon Memorial Auditorium, in various City of Lawton Offices, and other city properties. Due to copyright, there may not be a photograph available. 

 

Photo of "Songs of the Past", bronze sculpture by Allan Houser Haozous, 1914-1994, used by permission from the Allan Houser Haozous Foundation and Estate. Copyrighted 1993

Gift to the City of Lawton from the McMahon Foundation, Dedication Ceremony, Sunday, December 6, 1998

In 1901, Lawton was founded in the Oklahoma Territory’s region known as the “Big Pasture”. This area was last of the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache reservation lands in the Oklahoma Territory, which had recently been opened by the federal government for settlement. The city was named for Major General Henry Ware Lawton (1843 – 1899) who was a highly respected U.S. Army officer who served with distinction in the Civil War, the Apache Wars, the Spanish–American War and was the only U.S. general officer to be killed during the Philippine–American War. 

At the outset, Lawton had no form of municipal government; tents were used as homes by the new residents and “store fronts” by the new businesses for many months in the growing territory. In 1907, Oklahoma became a state. By 1950, Lawton’s population had increased to almost 35,000. It was during this decade that artist, Leslie Joseph Powell (b.1906 – d.1978) who grew up in Lawton wanted to create a municipal collection of paintings for the “Town” of Lawton. Leslie Powell was a highly regarded artist and the only child of a local pharmacist in Lawton. The collection is thought to have been established between the mid 1950’s and early 1960’s.  In a 1954 letter to Vernon Howell, President of the Rotary Club, Powell observed that, “the City of Lawton is growing and in expanding in all directions and departments. With its new construction and increased civic consciousness…” should have a municipal art collection.

Then in 1958, a letter from his attorney notes the gifting of six artworks to the City of Lawton.  The art works are "Flower Composition and Memories" by Leslie Powell, "Brahmin Cattle in the Surf" by Adel Godchaux (Smith), "Abstract Still Life" by Manuel Truda, "Abandoned Action" by Don Forbes and On the Mississippi (artist unknown).  

 

Tradition of Gifting, 50+ years - As noted above, over the years the city has received gifts of art from Leslie Powell, both his own works as well as artists he knew. This includes significant artists from New Mexico such as Dorothy Stewart and Dorothy Morang as well as the New York WPA Mural artist Augustus Goetz whose papers and art are found in the Smithsonian Institute’s Collections. Also, through the Lawton Fort Sill Art Council (established by Leslie Powell), works were added to the collection via the Lawton Fort Sill Art Council’s acquisition fund.  Then in 1969 and continuing through the late 1980’s the Junior Service League of Lawton began holding art shows and contributed art to the city through their purchase awards. 

Other businesses and organizations also gifted art to the city’s fine art collection. Of note are the McMahon Foundation, Bill Crawford Memorial (Scholarship) Committee, Lawton Chamber of Commerce, Security National Bank, IATSE Local 387, 1st Federal Savings and Loan with Haggar Slacks, Downtown Rotary Club, SW Chemical & Restaurant Supply, Arts for All, Inc., Lawton Members of the Summer Arts Institute Board, AEP-PSO and others.

Both citizens and artists have gifted to the city over the years as well. Artists who gifted art to the city include the famous Ethiopian artist and poet Gebre Kristos Desta (b.1932-d.1981), Tom Biggs, Tom Pawless, Stephen Huffman and Mabel Miller among others.  The families of Don Barton and Jack Storey, Maj (Ret.) Joseph and Sara Richard, Ann Weisman, Joel A & Edith Lemaster Henderson, Joseph F.E. and Beth  Kaniatode have also gifted art to the city.

 

"Songs of the Past" by Allan Capron Houser or Haozous (June 30, 1914—August 22, 1994), a Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter and book illustrator. He is one of the most renowned Native American painters and Modernist sculptors of the 20th century.

It was a gift to the City of Lawton from the McMahon Foundation.  The bronze sculpture depicts a kneeling drummer, 40" high, 28" wide and 21" deep. Its is the first casting of a possible ten as reported in 1998 dedication program. It was cast in bronze at the Shidoni Foundry in Tesugue, New Mexico (1993) during the artist's lifetime. It is housed at the Museum of the Great Plains, 601 NW Ferris Avenue in Lawton, OK.  The photo of the "Songs of the Past" (copyright 1993) is used by permission of the Allan Houser estate. 

Allan Houser Haozous is the son of Sam and Blossom Haozous. Born on the family farm near Apache, OK, first member of his family from the Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache tribe born outside of captivity since Geronimo’s 1886 surrender and the tribe's imprisonment by the U.S. government. The tribe had been led in battle by the legendary spiritual leader Geronimo, who would later rely on his grandnephew Sam Haozous, Allan’s father, to serve as his translator.

In 1934, Houser left Oklahoma at the age of 20 to study at Dorothy Dunn's Art Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dunn's method encouraged working from personal memory, avoiding techniques of perspective or modeling, and stylization of Native iconography. For the latter, Houser made hundreds of drawings and canvasses in Santa Fe and was one of Dunn's top students.

In addition to being a Guggenheim Fellow, among his many recognitions and awards, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1985 and received the National Medal of Arts from President George Bush in 1992.

He was fortunate to have been the kind of artist who did not need to be “discovered” after his death, for he enjoyed a career in which he was able to create not just for his own satisfaction, but for an appreciative public as well.

Upon his death, the honors kept coming. Among these was the installation of 19 monumental works of art in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Olympics, and a retrospective of 69 works at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. in 2004—2005. The exhibition marked the first major show for the new museum, and over three million people viewed it while it was on display.

As a teacher for most of his working life, Allan Houser also enjoys the legacy of having passed on his direction, patience and skills to generations of Native American artists, including many from the IAIA years who are, in turn, passing on their skills to other generations.

After Houser's death in 1994, his legacy has been carried on by family members, including his two sons who have achieved success as sculptors, Philip Haozous and Bob Haozous, and his grandson, Sam Atakra Haozous, an experimental photographer. The non-profit Allan Houser Foundation is devoted to the proliferation of the Houser name. The family also maintains a commercial gallery of Allan Houser's work in downtown Santa Fe and the Allan Houser Compound, a foundry and sculpture garden located south of Santa Fe.

 

Learn more about Allan Houser Haozous at his website, https://allanhouser.com

Also, visit Wikipedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Houser

 

References

Wikipedia - Allan Houser Haozous

"Songs of the Past", A Presentation and Dedication Program, Sunday, December 6, 1998

"Sculpture by Haozous", Lawton Constitution Newspaper clipping dated, 11/29/98

"McMahon Foundation to Present Work of Internationally Recognized Sculptor", Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce and Industry Work in Progress, A Newsletter for Chamber Investors, November 1998

"Indian Sculptor's Work Comes Home to State", The Daily Oklahoman, Friday Devember 4, 1998

"A Tribute." Allan Houser. Accessed 26.March.2011.

HOUSER (HAOZOUS), ALLAN (1914-1994). Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved March 30, 2011

Gridley, Marion E. (1960). Indians of Today (Third ed.). Chicago: Towertown. p. 216.

Steven Leuthold, "13: Native American Art and Artists in Visual Arts Documentaries from 1973 to 1991," in On the Margins of Art Worlds, ed. Larry Gross. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995, 268. Accessed via Questia, which is a subscription required source.

"Allan Houser". New Mexico Museum of Art. Retrieved 1 January 2014.

Allan Houser. (retrieved 27 Nov 2009)

"Unconquered: Allan Houser and the Legacy of one Apache Family." Oklahoma History Center. (retrieved 27 Nov 2009)

 

 

 

Major General Henry Ware Lawton Portrait (C. Gregory Stapko after Charles "Harold" McDonald), copyright restricted use

Among the works donated, there are many wonderful stories and connections in history; perhaps among the most unique is the Major General Henry Ware Lawton’s portrait, the city’s namesake. Robert A. Uilhein who was Vice President of the Schlitz Brewing Company (And great-great nephew of August Krug, the founder of the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company) visited Lawton in 1957. He learned that the City of Lawton did not have a portrait of General Lawton.

He then commissioned renowned portrait artist and copyist, C.Gregory Stapko (1913 - 2006) to copy a portrait of Major General Lawton that had been originally done by the artist, Charles “Harold” McDonald. Mr. Uilhein had seen McDonalds’ General Lawton portrait in the Army and Navy Club in Washington, DC.  

April 1958, the “Stapko after McDonald” portrait of Major General Lawton was presented to the city at the Hotel Lawtonian stockholders meeting. Information about the hotel was found in a 1982 article in “The Oklahoman” newspaper, where it was noted, “The hotel's history began in the early 1950s when more than 1,600 people bought shares in a fund raising campaign to help finance its construction. Lawton Community Hotel Inc. owned and managed the hotel, which opened in January 1955. Financial difficulties forced a bank foreclosure in 1973. Failure to meet financial obligations and to make monthly payments on a mortgage led to foreclosure proceedings by Security Bank and Trust in May 1973. The bank was awarded a $477,000 district court judgment. When the hotel was unable to satisfy the judgment it was sold at a sheriff's auction to Security Bank in 1974 for $510,000.” Many years later the portrait was returned to the City of Lawton and it now hangs in the Lawton City Hall.          

 

About the artist, C. Gregory Stapko (1913 - 2006) - C. Gregory Stapko who painted the city’s General Lawton, was a portrait painter, painting restorer and in addition, became the nation's foremost copyist of famous works of art. His copies of famous works, many from the National Gallery of Art, hang in the White House, Blair House, Arlington House, U.S. embassies and government agencies, as well as the walls of businesses and private homes around the world. Stapko's copying genius led to a National Gallery of Art Gallery rule requiring that all copies had to be done at least two inches smaller than the original and labeled on the back with paint that would stand out under X-rays long after the color had faded. It also led to Stapko's years-long association with the National Gallery of Art. In addition to portrait painting and copying assignments, Stapko restored damaged paintings, taught oil painting, did gold-leaf work for churches, built furniture and crafted copies of old frames to go with copied paintings. He also copied paintings for publishers of illustrated art books.

 

About the artist, Charles “Harold” McDonald (1861 -1923) - The original Charles “Harold” McDonald’s portrait of Major General Lawton was reported in 1988 by the Smithsonian Institute to be in the Army and Navy Club, 901 17th Street, Washington, DC. The McDonald portrait was featured on the cover of “Army History”, The Professional Bulletin of Army History, Winter 2007, PB 20-06-01 (No. 63). It was noted as “Cover Illustration: Henry Ware Lawton by Charles Harold MacDonald/Army-Navy Club.  A critic noted that MacDonald’s work: “For sheer painterly dexterity and profundity of characterization, Harold L. MacDonald was unmatched among Washington portraitists of the period.”

 

About Major General Henry Ware Lawton (1843 - 1899) - The City of Lawton's namesake, Henry Lawton (born in Manhattan, Ohio, March 17, 1843) enlisted in the Union forces at the outbreak of the Civil War.  He received the Medal of Honor for heroism at Atlanta.  He was discharged November 25, 1865 with the brevet rank of colonel.  In 1867, he reenlisted in the Army and served throughout the Indian Wars.  In the spring of 1886, he was assigned by General Nelson A. Miles to lead troops into Mexico in pursuit of the Apache Chief, Geronimo.  

In spring of 1898, the Spanish American War began and now Brigadier General Lawton, was sent to Cuba. He was in command of the 2nd division of the 5th Army Corps before Santiago, distinguishing himself by the capture of El Caney and providing backup support for Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders in their charge on San Juan Hill.

Then in 1899, he was sent to the Philippines. Lawton was in command of the 1st division of the 8th Army Corps and began active operations against the insurgents.  He captured Santa Cruz, a Filippino stronghold, and San Isidro during his first three months.  Lawton was killed at the Battle of San Mateo by the forces of Licerio Geronimo on  December 19, 1899. Lawton was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery February 9, 1900. His service included the following:

  • American Civil War: Battles of Philippi, Laurel Hill, Corrick's Ford, Shiloh, Corinth, Chickamauga and the Atlanta Campaign
  • Texas-Indian Wars: Battle of Palo Duro Canyon
  • Apache Wars: Geronimo Campaign
  • Spanish–American War: Battles of Las Guasimas, El Caney and Siege of Santiago 
  • Philippine–American War: Battles of Santa Cruz, Zapote Bridge, San Isidro and San Mateo
     

 

References cited – City of Lawton; Museum of the Great Plains; Lawton Constitution Newspaper,  April 19, 1958; Wikipedia, and “C. Gregory Stapko, 92; Painter, Restorer Excelled at Copying Famous Works of Art”, March 25, 2006 by Joe Holley, Washington Post; “Who Was Who in American Art”, Peter Hastings Falk, editor, Sound View Press, Madison, CT, 1999... McMahan, Virgil E. The Artists of Washington, D. C., 1796-1996, Washington, D. C., 1995, The Culberson Mansion website, www.culbertsonmansion.us and “Californians Buy Hotel Lawtonian” by Joann Thompson,  Oklahoman, Published: February 3, 1982

Within the city limits, Lawton has an array of public art from Cameron University to various businesses to City of Lawton locations.

Here are a couple of stops worth taking (photos not currently available):

  • "Walking Flower" by James Surls, Cameron University Fine Arts Courtyard
  • "Rocker" by David Deming, Cameron University Fine Arts Courtyard
  • "Lawton Legacy" by Bill Crist, Cameron University, Gore Blvd across from Comanche County Memorial Hospital
  • "Night Sequence" by Donald Beason, Cameron University, in front of theatre
  • "Bison Skull" by Joe Barrington, Cameron University, north side of library
  • "General Lawton" by Dr. Gary Gardner, entry into Elmer Thomas Park, 601 NW Ferris Ave
  • "Answering the Call", by Dr Gary Gardner, 2nd & NW Gore Blvd, in median

  • "Sunburst" by Wayne Amerine (b. 12/ 22/ 1928 - d. 8/3/2009), Library Plaza, 110 SW 4th Street
  • "Songs of the Past" by  Allan Houser (b. 6/30/1914- d. 8/22/1994), inside the Museum of the Great Plains, 601 NW Ferris Ave
  • "The Sentinel (Elk)" by Robert Dean (b. 12/29/1947 - d. 2/16/ 2010), inside the Museum of the Great Plains grounds,  601 NW Ferris Ave
  • "Bison Latisfrons" by Robert Dean (b. 12/29/1947 - d. 2/16/ 2010), Museum of the Great Plains grounds, 601 NW Ferris Ave
  • "Auction of Lawton Townsites, 6 August 1901" by Paul Moore, located between the McMahon Memorial Auditorium and the Museum of the Great Plains
  • "Medicine Dream" by Barthell Little Chief, Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center
  • "Women Are Born in the Sky It Seems" by Benson Warren, across from Leslie Powell Gallery
  • "Wireless" by Robert Dean (b. 12/29/1947 - d. 2/16/ 2010), corner of NW Sheridan Road and Cache Road 

 

Adcock, Gary  

Adolft

Allan Houser (Haozous)

Amerine, Wayne 

Ansley, B.T.

Armstrong, Carol

Atwell, Alecia

Barnhisel Hamilton,Lee 

Berlin, Jeanne

Biggs, Tom

Blackburn, Cynthia "Cindy"

Bonner, Katy Kay

Burgess, Sue

Burns, Greg

Campbell, K.F.

Carver, Robert A. 

Christ-Janer, Albert 

Chun, Peggy 

Clark, Andrew

Conwell, Kathryn "Kay"

Cornett, Paul

Desta, Gebre Kristos

Dunham, Bobbie

Dunham, Carol A

Edy

Fisher, Joe (Blackfeet)

Forbes, Don 

Freddy Wittop Oscar Winning Costume Designer Born Frederick Wittop Koning in Bussum. AKA Frederico Rey

Gardner, Gary Dr.

Garner, Kay

Gartland, Robert 

Gill, David

Goertz, Augustus 

Good, Leonard 

Grenier, Laura

Grubbs, Stephanie

Hamilton, Ric

Harig, Sherry

Hefner, Larry Dale

Howard, Elaine

Hoyt, D

Huffman, Stephen

Jenkins

Kiacz, Dan,  

Klopfenstein, Julie

Lafon, Dee J.

Larsen, Mike

Leddy, Gary

Leo Chandler aka Deraleo

Lewis, Milton, 

Loyd

Lunton, Katherine

Martino, Babette 

Maurer, Bob

Maurer, Lydia

McMicheals, Terry (T.A.) 

Miller, Mabel R. 

Morang, Dorothy 

Morford (Neptune), Ivalane 

Morgan, Ellen Louise

Moses, Dorothy

Mosijzuk, Ala R.

Mott (could be Matt), Kay

Munday, Charles

Noth/Moth/ Motta/Motts, Frederick

Oliver Poemoceah

Olkinetsky, Sam   

Orby, Thelma Brownen 

Parker, Gary

Pawless, Bud

Ponder, Jerry

Rees, Lonie     Also known as Rees-Shand of San Antonio & Witte Musuem

Rogers, Mondel Jr.

Sage, G.B.

Samuel, Margaret

Schmidt, Caylene "Gay"  

Sellers, Danny

Sharp, Willie Mae

Shaw, Wanda

Shipman, Molly

Smith, Adele    She was also known as Adele Godchaux 

Spouroit, F. 

Stephens, M.E. "Mary"

Stewart, Dorothy 

Story, Michael

Synar, Patrick

Thomson, Loretta

Tracy, John

Tracy, John II

Truda, Manuel

Wassamire, Barbara L.

Wea, Fernando

Weisman, Ann

Weisman, Ann & Alden, Leslie

Wenck, Paul

Wiley, Mary F.  

Wilkerson, Jerry O. 

Yu, Ming-Fai

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801 NW Ferris Ave.
(Mail: PO Box 1054 - Lawton, OK. 73502)
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