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2010 Oklahoma Humanities Awards

2010 Oklahoma Humanities Awards

The 2010 Awardees include:

H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt will receive OHC’s highest honor, the Oklahoma Humanities Award, for his lifetime commitment to Oklahoma and support of humanities education. Rainbolt has been described as among the most knowledgeable and well-rounded intellects in the state of Oklahoma. His lifelong community service has garnered many state and national honors. The Oklahoma Humanities Award recognizes his dedication to the furthering of knowledge among Oklahomans, as demonstrated by his leadership and association with the Foundation of Excellence, Leadership Oklahoma, Mabee-Gerrer Museum, Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum, and the University of Oklahoma. He also co-founded the Oklahoma Symposium, a humanities-based event modeled on the national Renaissance weekend where community leaders, intellectuals, and lifelong learners come together annually for conversation and the sharing of ideas.

The Cherokee Nation Education Program will be honored with the Humanities in Education Award for its achievements in preserving the Cherokee language. As noted in the nomination narrative, “The uniqueness of Cherokee thought is interwoven with the language. . . . The preservation of that language is essential for the survival of Cherokee culture.” The education program targets young people through the Cherokee Nation Immersion School, where all classes are conducted in the Cherokee language. Another integral part of the program is the Cherokee National Youth Choir, which presents traditional songs from the Trail of Tears and other critical moments in Cherokee history. Youth Choir members serve as tribal ambassadors by increasing awareness of Cherokee culture through CD recordings and performances across the country.

Devon Energy Corporation will receive the Community Support Award, which honors critical financial support to public humanities programming in Oklahoma. Devon’s nomination for the award comes jointly from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, The Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and the Oklahoma Heritage Association. All three organizations credit Devon support as critical in leveraging other corporate funding, which has been used to support staff salaries; school education programs; world-class exhibitions; public lectures; film screenings; important publications on Oklahoma history and people; and more. Thanks to Devon Energy support, these organizations are better positioned to deliver programming and activities to all segments of the community.

For the first time, the Community Leadership Award will be given jointly to two individuals: Mel Chatman and Jamie Sullenger. The award honors creation or participation in community-based programming that promotes public understanding of the humanities. Chatman and Sullenger will be honored for their contributions to the Lena Sawner Exhibit at the Lincoln County Historical Society and Pioneer Museum in Chandler. Chatman researched the life of Lena Sawner, a Chandler educator who dedicated her life to improving the studies and performance of African-American children. Chatman’s collection of stories and artifacts, assembled over a twenty-year period, made the exhibit possible. Sullenger curated the exhibit in creative ways, including the production of a complementary video and educational programming for schools and the community.

Harlem Renaissance, an exhibition at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, will be recognized as Outstanding OHC Project, which honors a project made possible by an OHC program or grant. The exhibit explored artistic developments in African American art during the 1920s and 1930s. OKCMOA curated the exhibit, pulling works from collections around the country and tying a national theme to historical events in Oklahoma City. It was the museum’s first exhibition focusing on African American art in over twenty years. Humanities content was evident through cultural and historical themes illustrated by artwork, photography, film, music, and literature. Educational programming included film screenings, outreach to schools, and tours of the exhibition given by members of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team.