For 21 years Red Earth, Inc. has recognized individuals who have consistently donated their time and talents to the continuing development and well-being of Red Earth with the presentation of the Red Earth Spirit Award to a deserving individual. Larry Wilson (Cherokee) of Edmond, OK will be recognized during the 30th annual Red Earth Festival in June as recipient of the 2016 Red Earth “Spirit Award” for his years of service to the non-profit arts organization.
Wilson, originally from the tiny Beaver County town of Gate in Oklahoma’s Panhandle, graduated from Gate High School prior to attending and graduating from Panhandle State University in Goodwell, OK with a degree in business management.
Following service in the U.S. Army where he reached the rank of First Lieutenant, Wilson began a 26 year career with Southwestern Bell which included management of engineering, operator services and human resources in cities throughout Oklahoma.
In 1992, Wilson was named Administrative Assistant to the Chairman of the Oklahoma Tax commission. He eventually became Deputy Administrator at the Oklahoma Tax Commission where he was primary contact for all issues impacting the tribes and the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
Wilson first became involved with Red Earth, Inc. before today’s non-profit Red Earth, Inc. existed. He served as a Board Member for the Center of the American Indian from 1988-1992 prior to its merger with the Red Earth Festival to form Red Earth, Inc. in 1993. For over 30 years Wilson has served the organization in numerous capacities including Board Member, VP Long Range Planning and Treasurer. He and his wife, Shirley, have served on and chaired numerous committees and fund raising events for the organization.
“My involvement with Red Earth has been a rewarding experience for both me and my wife, Shirley,” said Wilson. “It has been a great pleasure to be a part of this fine organization.
“I’ve made many friends and have enjoyed learning more about Oklahoma’s varied Native American nations, tribes and bands through my work with Red Earth,” he said. “I’ve especially enjoyed working alongside and getting to know the many talented Native artists who have been a part of Red Earth for the past 30 years.”
Larry is proud of his Cherokee ancestry and has served on the Cherokee National Historical Society Board of Directors. He has also represented Oklahoma on the Advisory Board of the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission.
Past recipients of the Red Earth Spirit Award have included Vickie Norick, Kathleen Marks, Lela B. Sullivan, Doug Cummings, Jim Vallion, David G. Campbell and Teri V. Stanek
Today, as Wilson and his wife enjoy his retirement, they spend much of their time “running” cattle north of Edmond in Logan County.
The 30th Annual Red Earth Festival will draw nearly 25,000 guests to the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City the weekend of June 10-12. Artists from throughout the nation will be featured in a juried art market that coincides with dance presentations, musical performances, seminars and children’s activities.
Red Earth, Inc. is an Allied Arts member agency and is funded in part by the Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Oklahoma Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Tyler Media Group. Red Earth, Inc. is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to promote the rich traditions of American Indian arts and cultures through education, a premier festival, a museum and fine art markets.
Visit www.RedEarth.org or call (405) 427-5228 for additional information including ticket and lodging discounts.
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The Council’s mission is to lead, cultivate and support a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education and economic vitality for all Oklahomans. The Council provides more than 500 grants to over 250 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state’s arts and cultural industry, and manages hundreds of works of art in the public spaces of the state Capitol. For more information, visit arts.ok.gov.