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Oklahoma Humanities Council honors recipients for keeping culture alive

Richard A. Grounds, Director, Euchee Language Project, will receive the Humanities in Education Award during the 2013 Oklahoma Humanities Award Dinner on March 28.  Photo provided
Richard A. Grounds, Director, Euchee Language Project, will receive the Humanities in Education Award during the 2013 Oklahoma Humanities Award Dinner on March 28. Photo provided


By Darla Shelden
Contributing Writer

Keeping Oklahomans culturally involved, the Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) has announced their 2013 awardees. Recipients will be honored at the Oklahoma Humanities Awards dinner, on Thursday, March 28. The reception opens at 5:30 p.m. with the awards presentation dinner at 6:30 p.m. at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, in Oklahoma City.

“Under our mission to engage people with the humanities, it is fitting that we honor the people and organizations that are keeping culture—and our understanding of it—alive,” said OHC Executive Director Ann Thompson. “The work they do is often behind the scenes, so we’re happy to host this event to thank them for all the ways they make life and culture in Oklahoma more meaningful.”

The 2013 Oklahoma Humanities Awardees are: Arn Henderson, FAIA, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma; Dr. Harbour Winn, Professor of English & Director of the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature at Oklahoma City University; Richard A. Grounds, Ph.D., Director, Euchee (Yuchi) Language Project; the Pioneer Library System and the Five Tribes Story Conference.

Arn Hendersonwill receive OHC’s highest honor, the Oklahoma Humanities Award, for his dedication to his study of architecture relating to Oklahoma’s past, present, and future. Contributing to the preservation of Guthrie’s commercial district, Henderson is the author and co-author of numerous works including Architecture in Oklahoma: Landmark and Vernacular, The Physical Legacy: Buildings of Oklahoma County 1889-1931, and Bruce Goff: Architecture of Discipline in Freedom.



“The 2013 Oklahoma Humanities Awards event will offer delicious food, great camaraderie, and heartfelt sentiments as we acknowledge educators, volunteers, projects, contributors, and community leaders and their efforts to improve lives and create strong communities through the humanities disciplines,” said Melissa Hunt,AIA Central Oklahoma Chapter Executive Director.  “We are excited that one of our own, Arn Henderson, FAIA, will be honored.”

Dr. Harbour Winn will receive the Public Humanities Award for his dedication to providing outstanding public programming across the state. Winn’s work includes directing Oklahoma City University’s Film Institute and the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Annual Poetry series. He has created new reading and discussion themes as an active scholar for the series, Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma!

“Many Oklahomans want to stay attuned to the mysteries of the human heart and views of those beyond our normal opportunities here,” said Winn. “The Oklahoma Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities provide programs that can help us stay alive in awareness of what freedom means and our responsibility to our heritage and citizenship.”

Pioneer Library System will receive the Community Leadership Award for its successful Big Read program featuring Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club. The three-month program included scholar-led panel discussions, film screenings, storytelling and children’s literature programs throughout Cleveland, Pottawatomie, and McClain counties.
PLS Director Anne Masters said, “The Big Read gives us an opportunity to promote the reading of literature through partnerships with a variety of community groups.  It is rewarding to be recognized by The Oklahoma Humanities Council, an organization we value and respect.”

Richard A. Grounds will receive the Humanities in Education Award for his achievements in language preservation.  His work includes inventing a practical alphabet for Euchee, an Oklahoma Native American Tribe, as well as setting up daily language classes for youth, teens, and adults. Grounds also addresses language issues at tribal meetings, churches and ceremonial gatherings.

Five Tribes Story Conference will be recognized as Outstanding OHC Project, an award that honors public programming made possible by an OHC program or grant. The Five Civilized Tribes Museum sponsored the two-day conference, which offered insight from some of America’s top Indian storytellers, authors, historians, musicians, and academics to an underserved area of Oklahoma.

The event will feature poet laureate Nathan Brown, and musician Dr. Hugh Foley, state scholar for the Museum on Main Street.

The 2013 Oklahoma Humanities Awards Dinner Committee includes event chairperson Mary Blankenship Pointer,Dr. Scott LaMascus, Oklahoma Christian University; Ann Neal, Miami; John Martin, Enid; Darlene Williams, Jenks; Dr. Gordon Taylor, Tulsa; and Ron Wright, Muskogee.

Reservations are $85 per person with sponsorship opportunities available. Reservation deadline is March 15. For more information, contact Traci Jinkens at 405-235-0280 or visit

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