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Art flourishes in Oklahoma state Capitol Published: August 22, 2010

The House of Representatives and Senate chambers were restored and renovated in the 1990s. The House chamber was restored in 1999 and the Senate chamber was restored in 1993.

The Capitol contains offices for each of the 149 legislators — 101 House members and 48 senators — and staff members.

The governor's office is on the second floor. The lieutenant governor, state treasurer and state auditor and inspector also have offices in the Capitol.

It also contains the offices of the secretary of state, the state Ethics Commission, the state Election Board and the state finance office.

The Oklahoma appellate courts are also in the Capitol. They are scheduled to move in 2011 to a building southeast of the Capitol. The Oklahoma Supreme Court chamber on the Capitol's second floor will continue to be held for ceremonial events. Preliminary plans call for the rest of the judicial space to be converted to legislative offices and meeting rooms.

The Capitol displays more than $4 million worth of art, including a series of four murals above the fourth-floor rotunda, which give a history of Oklahoma, such as Coronado's 1541 exploration of the land, the forced immigration of American Indian tribes into the territory and the rush for land by settlers.

Life-size portraits are displayed on the fourth-floor rotunda alcove. They depict humorist Will Rogers, Cherokee syllabary inventor Sequoyah, Robert S. Kerr, a former U.S. senator and governor, and Olympian Jim Thorpe.

Murals depicting industries that shaped Oklahoma's growth are displayed over the entrances to the legislative chambers on the fourth floor. A mural honoring the state's oil and gas industry hangs above the entrance to the Senate and a mural featuring images that represent the agriculture industry hangs above the House entrance.

In addition to the permanent art collection, a rotating series of public art exhibits showcasing Oklahoma artists and photographers are displayed on the first and second floors.

A visitors' center is on the first floor. Visitors may tour the building on their own or they can take guided tours, which are at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on weekdays. The visitors' center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

The Capitol is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends and holidays. On holidays and weekends, all visitors must use the west entrance.


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