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Murals tell story of Oklahoma's beginnings

More than 150 pieces of art featured at state Capitol
BY ADAM KEMP Published: July 10, 2011

Anders Nilsson stands in the rotunda of the Oklahoma state Capitol admiring the life-size painting of Oklahoma legend Jim Thorpe.

Nilsson, equipped with a travel pack that has accompanied him from his hometown in Sweden, said he is making a cross-country journey across the United States and Oklahoma is just one of more than a dozen states he will visit.

“I started in Massachusetts and I've been to Vermont and New York and I'll eventually end up in California,” Nilsson said. “But I wanted to stop in Oklahoma, and I'm glad I did.”

With more than 150 different pieces of art featured at the Oklahoma State Capitol, Nilsson said he had to take the guided tour so he could get a full grasp of what he was seeing.

“I wanted to see the state Capitol and I think I saw just about everything,” Nilsson said. “I think the huge murals are my favorite. I like the story they tell.”

The stories the murals tell are of Oklahoma's beginnings, such as the discovery of Oklahoma or the early trading between settlers and American Indians.

But the mural that caught the eye of Randy Riley was one by artist Jeff Dodd depicting two roughnecks working on an oil rig, with the Oklahoma state flag as a backdrop.

“That's what I used to do,” Riley said. “It's neat to see your own history blown up so big on the wall.”

Riley, of Nowata, said he came to the Capitol to show his daughter, Hayly, the people she had been studying in class.

Hayly Riley said her fourth-grade class learned all about Sequoyah, so it was cool to see the gigantic painting of him by artist Charles Banks Wilson.

Price of exhibit — free

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