Oklahoma City — The Oklahoma Humanities Council will honor Charles Banks Wilson at its annual wards dinner next month.
Wilson, acclaimed artist and Miami native, will be among six individual to be recognized by the council at the 5:30 p.m. event planned for March 7.
In the past, the council has honored only one individual annually, acccording to executive director Ann Thompson. This year’s awards include six categories to more fully recognize contributions to the humanities in Oklahoma.
“We want to honor the people and programs that enrich our state’s cultural life,” Thompson said. “The occasion also demonstrates the relevance of the humanities to modern society. By recognizing outstanding public programs like exhibits, book discussions, and classroom projects, we can showcase how the humanities expand our worldview and change people’s lives every day.”
Wilson will receive OHC’s highest honor, the Oklahoma Humanities Award, for his contribution to Oklahoma culture, which includes a lifetime quest to portray the remaining American Indian “purebloods,” individuals with only one tribal lineage.
Fifty years of that work, more than 100 images from 65 tribes, are depicted in his book “Search for the Native American Purebloods.”
Wilson donated the collection of original sketches to the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. Wilson grew up in Miami and received the Governor’s Arts Award in 2001 when he was named an Oklahoma Cultural Treasure.
His portraits and murals of Oklahoma heritage are seen in the State Capitol by thousands of visitors each year. His honors include membership in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, a Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and designation as a Fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters of Geneva, Switzerland.
Following the dinner, at 7:30 p.m., the Humanities Council will sponsor a free public forum with author and civil rights advocate Mary Frances Berry, who will address the issues of race and gender in light of the 2008 presidential election.
The presentation will include audience questions and a book signing.
Berry’s books will be available for purchase in the History Center gift shop.
For award dinner reservations or information on the public forum, contact the Oklahoma Humanities Council at (405) 235-0280 or visit: www.okhumanitiescouncil.org/oklahoma-humanities-awards.