Celebration depicts the November 16, 2007 Centennial Spectacular in honor of 100 years of Oklahoma statehood. A musical extravaganza at the Ford Center featuring Oklahoma celebrities was topped off with fireworks illuminating the sky around the Capitol dome.
Original construction of the Capitol building took place during the lean years of World War I, 1914 to 1917. Governor (and former Chief Justice) Robert L. Williams decided the dome was an extravagance Oklahoma could live without and ordered the building to be completed with a flat roof. Eighty-five years later, a dome was added to the building. The addition measures 162 feet, from its base to the top of The Guardian statue. The Guardian was designed by Oklahoma Judicial Center artist, Kelly Haney. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma resided in the Capitol from the building’s opening in 1917 until the move to the Oklahoma Judicial Center in July 2011. The Supreme Court Courtroom remains in the Capitol and is used regularly for hearings and ceremonies.
Artist Sue Hale was executive editor of The Oklahoman at the time of the Centennial and attended the event. “It was such an inspiring sight. I thought it would be great fun to paint.” Celebration captures the enthusiasm and energy of the thousands who turned out to show their Oklahoma spirit. She credits her use of color in the piece to advice from her mentor, Kay Orr. “She said color should be used brilliantly to express what life is really like.”
Hale first became interested in art in her twenties, but her career as a journalist left little time to paint. Around 1999, one of her friends suggested she take a class from Kay Orr. Since then, expressing herself on canvas has become a major part of her life. She is a member of the Oklahoma Artist Guild, the Oklahoma Visual Artists Coalition and the Paseo Art Association. She has done commission work for individuals and organizations, including the American Red Cross. Her work has been shown at many local venues and she is part owner of In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in the Paseo. Celebration was purchased for the Oklahoma Judicial Center collection.
Source: Phone interview, February 27, 2013.