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State responds to Woody Guthrie image projected onto Oklahoma Capitol

An image of Woody Guthrie is projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler]

An image of Woody Guthrie is projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler]

The Oklahoma Capitol wasn't made for you and me to use as a canvas, at least not without permission.

The agency in charge of state property management responded to a large art piece of Oklahoma folk hero Woody Guthrie that was projected onto one side of the Capitol on Monday night.

“We appreciate the creativity and ingenuity displayed by local artists last night, but it's important to note that projecting images onto the state Capitol is prohibited without the necessary permits,” a statement from the Office of Management and Enterprise Services read.

The image was projected onto a white tarp that covers scaffolding on the north side of the building. It shows Guthrie holding his guitar that was famously emblazoned with the phrase, "This machine kills fascists." In the image projected Monday, the guitar bears the words, "How did it come to this."

The statement said that projecting an image is a safety concern because of the bright lights.

“Restoration crews are working at night and light can seep through the tarp material causing a distraction. Such distractions, when working many feet above the ground, can be extremely hazardous,” the statement said.

The statement further asked the artists to abandon future plans out of respect for worker safety.

The art piece was created by local artist Jack Fowler. In a tweet Monday night, Fowler suggested the projection might be a regular occurrence, asking his followers if they have a message for lawmakers. He confirmed in an interview Tuesday that his original plan was to continue the art piece nightly.

"I am tired of the way this state has been represented, and I think the people in that building have embarrassed us for too long," Fowler said. "This is a thing I can do besides vote and complain."

Fowler tried again Tuesday night, but the power outlet he used Monday was not operational. As of press time, he was still weighing his options.

As for the state's warning about worker safety, Fowler referenced bright lights that already illuminate the building.

"The concerns about light seepage being a safety concern to the construction workers, I pose that the 2 megawatt floodlights that the construction company has pointed at the tarp all night long need to be looked into by safety teams," he said.

Related Photos
<p>This image of Woody Guthrie was projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler]</p>

This image of Woody Guthrie was projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0619918d4759ef9a3a65b33979215add.jpg" alt="Photo - This image of Woody Guthrie was projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler] " title=" This image of Woody Guthrie was projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler] "><figcaption> This image of Woody Guthrie was projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c_c055e050b699c777c2a2e5843625fc47.jpg" alt="Photo - An image of Woody Guthrie is projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler] " title=" An image of Woody Guthrie is projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler] "><figcaption> An image of Woody Guthrie is projected on Monday onto a construction tarp draped across the Oklahoma Capitol. [Photo provided by Jack Fowler] </figcaption></figure>
Dale Denwalt

Dale Denwalt has closely followed state policy and politics since his first internship as an Oklahoma Capitol reporter in 2006. He graduated from Northeastern State University in his hometown of Tahlequah. Denwalt worked as a news reporter in... Read more ›

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