56 min

Willard Stone Voices of Oklahoma

    • Society & Culture

Artist Willard Stone was born and raised in Oktaha, Oklahoma, and was best known for his wood sculptures carved in a flowing Art Deco style.

Willard had an early interest in drawing and painting, but at the age of 13, he picked up a blasting cap he found while walking home from school, and it exploded. He lost his thumb and most of two fingers on his right hand.


However, he became an accomplished sculptor and woodcarver. He took art classes at Bacone College, where he studied under Acee Blue Eagle and Woody Crumbo. Crumbo introduced Willard to Thomas Gilcrease, and in 1946 Gilcrease offered Stone an artist-in-residence position at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Stone, Crumbo, and Blue Eagle became the Oklahoma artists most closely identified with Gilcrease.


After 1961, Willard opened a permanent studio in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, where he worked until his death in 1985. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1970. In addition to the large collection at Gilcrease Museum, his work is collected by many museums, including the Smithsonian. Stone’s “Lady of Spring” was included in the 1997-98 White House art exhibition honoring Native America. The guide to the white house exhibition calls Stone “the unsung hero of Native America sculpture.”


Willard’s daughter Linda Stone Callery is our storyteller for this oral history interview which was recorded in the Willard Stone Museum, and you can hear it now on VoicesofOklahoma.com

Artist Willard Stone was born and raised in Oktaha, Oklahoma, and was best known for his wood sculptures carved in a flowing Art Deco style.

Willard had an early interest in drawing and painting, but at the age of 13, he picked up a blasting cap he found while walking home from school, and it exploded. He lost his thumb and most of two fingers on his right hand.


However, he became an accomplished sculptor and woodcarver. He took art classes at Bacone College, where he studied under Acee Blue Eagle and Woody Crumbo. Crumbo introduced Willard to Thomas Gilcrease, and in 1946 Gilcrease offered Stone an artist-in-residence position at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Stone, Crumbo, and Blue Eagle became the Oklahoma artists most closely identified with Gilcrease.


After 1961, Willard opened a permanent studio in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, where he worked until his death in 1985. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1970. In addition to the large collection at Gilcrease Museum, his work is collected by many museums, including the Smithsonian. Stone’s “Lady of Spring” was included in the 1997-98 White House art exhibition honoring Native America. The guide to the white house exhibition calls Stone “the unsung hero of Native America sculpture.”


Willard’s daughter Linda Stone Callery is our storyteller for this oral history interview which was recorded in the Willard Stone Museum, and you can hear it now on VoicesofOklahoma.com

56 min

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