Eastern alumna honored with Governor’s Art Award


WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 18, 2013) – Eastern Oklahoma State College alumna Anita Caldwell Jackson of McAlester was honored for her dedication to the arts by Gov. Mary Fallin at the 38th Annual Governor’s Arts Awards on Nov.13 at the state capitol.

Jackson received the Community Service Award which recognizes individuals for significant contributions to the arts in specific Oklahoma communities in the areas of leadership and volunteerism. Fallin, Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples and Arts Council chairman James Pickel presented the awards to Jackson and 16 other individuals and two organizations for their efforts.

A lifelong resident of the McAlester area, Jackson is a leading advocate for the arts in her community, making public art, art exhibitions, and artist opportunities possible for local residents. In 2011, as a gift to the community, Jackson helped initiate a project to paint an 80 foot-wide mural in downtown McAlester. She was instrumental in the design, implementation and painting of the mural, which celebrates the heritage of the community.

Earlier this year, 16 works of Jackson’s Native American art was donated to Eastern by Mike and Nancy McGowan, also of McAlester. The art is displayed through the first floor of the Library building in Wilburton. Jackson is a 1971 graduate of Eastern.

A member and past president of Southeast Oklahoma Fine Arts (SOFA) Inc, an area art guild, Jackson is co-founder and board member of the SOFA Art Gallery, which opened in McAlester in 2012. She is also frequently involved in planning and staging art shows and cultural festivals. She is a retired art teacher and counselor at Kiowa Public Schools.

First awarded in 1975, the Governor’s Arts Awards is an annual event that recognizes individuals and organizations whose efforts have impacted the arts in their communities or throughout the state.

The other 2013 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients include Dr. G. Barry Epperley of Tulsa and Chuck Tweed of Midwest City - Governor's Award; the George Kaiser Family Foundation of Tulsa - Business in the Arts Award; Carlos Ortiz of Oklahoma City and Kimberly Powell of Edmond - Media in the Arts Award; Dr. Brad Benson of Norman, Jeanine Berrong of Weatherford, Tyler Bridges of Shawnee, M. Teresa Valero of Tulsa and the Tulsa Youth Symphony Orchestra - Arts in Education Award; Marjorie Bontemps of Tulsa, Russell Crosby of Sapulpa, Thamazin Harrison of Alva, Mary Blankenship Pointer of Oklahoma City and Dwane Taylor of Yukon – Community Service Award; Debby Williams of Norman - Public Service Award; Paul Moore of Norman - Special Recognition Award; and Jeanette Sias of Edmond - Marilyn Douglass Memorial Award.

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