Angie Debo Sculpture Project
Click for closeup view
The unveiling and dedication of the Angie Debo statue at the Stillwater Public Library was held on Thursday, Nov. 18. Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis served as Master of Ceremonies and Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry and Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby were guest speakers. Surrounding the base of the statue are seals of the 38 federally recognized Oklahoma Native American tribes. A Native American prayer and blessing by Dr. Pete Coser with helper Checotah Powless was performed after the unveiling. Attendance at the event was over 200. The dedication was the culminating event for the third community-wide reading event One Book, One Community, Stillwater Reads Angie Debo's Prairie City.
"The statue has been a work in progress since late 2007" stated Library Director, Lynda Reynolds. "It began with a donation from former Library Director Della Bennett to the Friends of the Stillwater Public Library. The Friends wanted to do something special with this donation and after committing additional funds they formed a community-wide committee to investigate the possibility of having a sculpture at the Stillwater Public Library which would be the first sculpture on City property."
The committee, chaired by Friends past-president, Bob Darcy, sent out a nationwide request for proposals seeking a sculpture that would "evoke a combination of libraries, reading, Stillwater, and/or Oklahoma." The committee received 16 nationwide proposals from 11 artists and selected Stillwater artist Phyllis Mantik and her proposal for a statue of Angie Debo. Dr. Debo was selected due to her international recognition for books on Oklahoma's Native Americans, her work at the OSU Library, her home in nearby Marshall, her portrait recognition at the State Capitol and no known sculpture of Debo anywhere else in the nation. According to Mantik, "I chose to show Angie Debo as a young woman to focus on her character and highlight that at an early age she chose the life of a scholar rather than what was expected for a woman of her time."
The Stillwater Public Library Trust agreed to accept donations for the sculpture and received the first donation in May 2009. Committee chair Bob Darcy continued soliciting donations from the community, Oklahoma Native American tribes, and personal acquaintances of Angie Debo with total donations reaching almost $63,000.
In-kind contributions made possible a newspaper publication on Angie Debo which was distributed across the state to school children and the concrete base on which the statue sits surrounded by the Oklahoma tribal seals.
Visit the artist's website. Select "Blog" to watch the progress of the sculpture's creation.
Video of the dedication.
Photos of the banquet and dedication.