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The Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gaylord-Pickens Museum is an outstanding museum in Midtown that was founded in 1927 as a way to commemorate and honor Oklahomans who have performed outstanding service in their lifetime to this state. An induction into the Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors one can receive from their home state. The mission of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is to preserve Oklahoma's unique history while promoting pride in our great state.One of the great Oklahoman's that the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is showcasing through April 30, 2016, is famed artist Willard Stone in an exhibit titled, "Willard Stone Centennial: A Legacy of Art Through Family". The exhibit is multi-media showcasing of Stone's artwork as well as pieces by his family members. Willard Stone was born in Oktaha, Oklahoma on February 29, 1916. At the age of 13, Stone found a blasting cap while he was walking home from school one day and the cap exploded while he was holding it and as a result, he lost his thumb and two fingers on his right hand. Stone did not let this accident deter him in life. He attended Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma under renowned artist Acee Blue Eagle and Woody Crumbo. He was also offered an artist-in-residence position at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa in 1946 by Thomas Gilcrease. Stone's art evoked the passion he had for human values and executed his woodcarvings in maple, walnut, sassafras, cherry and Oklahoma red cedar. He would first sketch on his chosen wood and then block it out with a knife and chisel precisely carved details with a pocket knife. Many of his pieces create an illusion of movement with their beautiful flowing lines. Stone is best known for his Art Deco inspired wood sculptures and his most famous piece of sculpture, "Exodus" which is now located at the Cherokee Heritage Center. Stone was honored by the White House during an art exhibition in 1997-98 titled, "Twentieth Century American Sculpture at the White House: Honoring Native America". A White House guide said that Stone was the "unsung hero of Native American sculpture."
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