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KEY Oklahoma City

Portraits of Survival On Exhibition At Memorial Museum

A new special exhibit featuring art that was originally installed in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building twenty-five years ago opened at the Memorial Museum April 19, 2004. Mrs. Joan Mondale, the wife of former Vice President Walter Mondale, was at the Museum to open the exhibit on the ninth anniversary, following the annual remembrance ceremony. Mrs. Mondale dedicated the original art of the Murrah Building in 1978.

Portraits of Survival – The Original Art of the Murrah Building features all of the surviving art from the building. The art for the Murrah Building was acquired under the Art in Architecture Program for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). A panel of art experts commissioned and selected works of art with Oklahoma’s history, culture, and geography in mind. The result was a collection of handcrafted items that ranged from traditional sculpture and paintings to quilts, tapestries and other examples of folk art. GSA selected 32 works of art for the Murrah Building and they were installed a few months after the opening.

After the terrorist attack on April 19, 1995, 23 of those pieces were recovered, most from the south side of the building. In one case, a sculptor was able to repair his damaged work; in others, the works suffered little or no damage because of their location in the building. Nine works of art were permanently lost in the bombing, including a unique arrangement of colored ribbons that once adorned the building’s main lobby. These works will be remembered by photographs in the new exhibit.

“In this special exhibit, the art work returns for the first time to the block where it was originally installed 25 years ago, true ‘Portraits of Survival’ and powerful symbols of the spirit and strength that marked Oklahoma City’s recovery from the bombing,” noted Kari Watkins, Memorial Executive Director. “We are pleased the new exhibit will open near the dedication of the new federal campus, just northwest of the Memorial grounds.”

Visit or call 405.235.3313 for more information.

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