Oklahoma Sculpture Club
What do a retired high school art teacher, the wife of an avid hunter, and a grandmother with a day job at a local college have in common? They’re members of the Oklahoma Sculpture Society, an organization about 60 members strong comprised of like-minded individuals from all walks of life.
Founded in 1979 by famed sculptors Leonard McMurray, Hugh Youngblood, Bob Wilson, Max Knotts, Lena Beth Frazier, Bill Peterson and Tasso Pitsiri, the society of sculptors hosts monthly meetings, quarterly marathon “Sculpt-Ins,” bi-annual shows and frequent workshops led by renowned sculptors from all over the country. The OSS recently appeared as a group at the Edmond Arts Festival in the spring.
The OSS meets at 7 p.m. every second Thursday of the month at the City Arts Center on the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, and you don’t have to be a member to attend.
“Just come and see what we do,” said Glen Thomas, society vice president. “We’ve got some really fine sculptors in this state.”
Meetings may include guest speakers, slide shows and instructional talks. Some attendees have been high school age, others, like OSS veteran McMurray, are more than 90 years old.
Janie Tigert, housewife and accomplished sculptor, got her start with the society by simply attending a meeting.
“That’s how I got started,” she said. “After that first workshop at the zoo, I was hooked.”
“We welcome everybody, from every level,” said Delene Lemonds, society president and grandmother of five-year-old Elizabeth, a regular muse for Lemonds’ bas reliefs, which can take months to complete. She’s also used her three grandsons as models.
“Nobody made me feel like my questions were too dumb,” Tigert said, “and I had a lot of dumb questions.”
“That’s the way artists are, as opposed to musicians,” Thomas said. “Musicians will stab you in the back, but artists will help you out.”
Now, Tigert’s sculptures on display all over town, including a bust of Christ with a lamb across his shoulders installed in a couple local churches and a multi-piece sculpture featuring three kids and their dog, which is going in at the National Bank of Commerce at Grand Blvd. and May Ave.
Her smaller pieces match the décor of her home, where more than 20 of her husband’s hunting trophies from all over the world look down from the walls. To this, she’s added small but realistic sculptures which include a rampaging rhinoceros and a cowboy roping a calf.
Thomas has been a full-time sculptor for three years, following 25 years teaching at Chickasha High School. His piece, “Dancers,” is on display at 50 Penn Place. Many of his pieces depict lifelike figures, including humans and bucking broncos.
The quarterly “Sculpt-Ins” are a great opportunity for intensive work for those who experience difficulty finding time to sculpt among the day’s responsibilities. They take place on Saturdays, last from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., and are also held at the Fairgrounds.
Thomas said he’s so happy with three or four of his “Sculpt-In” pieces that he’s having them done in bronze.
The OSS Winter Show is their next big event, and it will begin the second Friday in November and continue into December at 50 Penn Place.
Their meetings and events are going well, and attendance is steady, but the OSS always welcomes new members and people who are just curious. Those interested can visit www.ossculpture.com for more information.