Oklahoma City – A painting by Oklahoma artist, Rick Fry, recently added to the Capitol Art Collection at the Oklahoma State Capitol depicts one of the state’s most diverse and significant ecosystems.

A Place to Cross was dedicated on April 6, 2011 during a ceremony at the Capitol. The painting is displayed near the entrance to the House of Representatives’ office on the 3rd floor. Gifted to the State by the City of Norman, the painting portrays the South Canadian River and the Cross Timbers ecosystem in the mid-19th century near present day Norman, Oklahoma.

"The citizens of Norman are pleased to provide this Rick Fry painting depicting the Canadian River and the Cross Timbers ecosystem just south of Norman," said former State Representative, Bill Nations.

Representing a boundary between the great forests of eastern North America and the southern Great Plains, the Cross Timbers ecosystem is a band of hardwood forest interspersed with areas of savannas and glades that run from southeastern Kansas through eastern Oklahoma into north central Texas. The forest is dominated by post oak and blackjack oak with populations of eastern red cedar, shumard oak, black oak, black hickory, ash, and other species.

Prior to European settlement, the forest covered more than 30,000 square miles.

In order to capture the former landscape near present day Interstate 35 near Norman, artist Rick Fry studied areas of virgin scrub oak trees in Cleveland County.

The Capitol Art Collection is a collection of over 100 paintings, murals and sculptures permanently housed in and around the State Capitol that commemorate significant individuals and depict historic events. The artwork conveys the story of Oklahoma to thousands of visitors and school children that visit the Capitol each year.

About the Artist
Rick Fry is an accomplished illustrator and painter who found his artistic niche with an eclectic collection of techniques and subject matter that provides a refreshing view of America’s remaining untamed areas. Born in Shawnee, Oklahoma and now based in Norman, Fry loves his home state’s prairie, trees and rolling hills. Fry was the 2009 Celebrated Artist at Norman’s Annual May Fair. He has received numerous Best in Show and First Place awards for his oil paintings, and has been exhibited in Japan, Russia, and the United States.

About the Oklahoma Arts Council

The Oklahoma Arts Council is a state agency whose mission is to improve lives through the arts by promoting and sustaining the development of a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education and economic vitality for all Oklahomans.