The ever-changing nature of memory, drawn through chalk art
These 45 statues make up one of the largest bronze installations in the world
OKLAHOMA CITY — The “Centennial Land Run Monument” in Oklahoma City is one of the largest bronze installations in the world — and it’s not finished yet.
Created by sculptor Paul Moore, the breathtaking monument commemorates the 1889 opening of unassigned lands in Oklahoma territory. At the sound of cannons at noon on April 22, 1889, the U.S. government opened up more than two million acres of what was considered Indian land, allowing any settler to claim it.
The monument is made up of dozens of individual pieces — horses, wagons, and people clamoring to claim land — that Moore plans on finishing in about two years. The goal is 45 bronze statues by 2020. By that point, the installation will have taken about 20 years to complete.
Moore has art displayed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and more awards than he can count, but “The Centennial Land Run Monument” is the capstone of his life’s work.
Moore’s sons were children when he molded the first bronze statue in 2000. Now they are grown men who have helped their father sculpt and install the later pieces of this mammoth collection. They’ve all had back surgery due to physical wear and tear on this decades-long project, but if you ask them about it, they say it’s worth it.
Moore, sitting in a room next to his studio, spoke with OETA on what it takes to be a “Monument Man.”
Video produced by Susan Cadot and Ryan Lorg. This report originally appeared on OETA’s “Gallery America.”
OETA’s Emmy Award-winning “Gallery America” series brings you the best in the arts from Oklahoma and around the nation.