Enid News & Eagle Kremlin artist whose name is a household word around here will be given high honors tonight.
Harold T. Holden, known simply as “H” to friends and acquaintances, is one of seven Oklahomans who will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Oklahoma City.
A painter and sculptor for many years, Holden’s western-themed art can be admired at locations ranging from downtown Enid to a U.S. postage stamp.
Holden began drawing and painting, then started sculpting in 1971. Bronze is his medium of choice. His sculptures grace the state Capitol, as well as locations in Enid, around the state, and Arkansas, Kansas and Texas.
Despite high demand for Holden’s creations, he did not expect to be given this honor.
“It was a complete surprise to me,” Holden said. “I never even expected anything like this.”
Holden’s deep love of the American West and desire to capture images of its people and character began early in life.
“I was always in love with the West, so I drew cowboys all the time, drew Indians from grade school on,” Holden said.
Holden did a military stint as a young man and soon afterward found himself back at the easel.
“When I got out of the Navy in 1965 and went to work in Wichita, I did painting at night in those years,” Holden said.
Holden’s easel remains a favorite place.
“I’m working on a painting for the Master Show in Los Angeles,” Holden said.
That Autry National Center’s Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale show will go on display Jan. 31. He currently has two paintings and three bronzes on display at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City.
Holden will be the third to be called to the stage tonight. Chuck Schroeder, former director of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, will present Holden at the ceremony. Holden will have two minutes at the microphone to thank everyone. In his typical modest way, he sounds almost as if he does not look forward to having to speak.
“I’ll get to see a lot of people, a lot of family coming out of the woodwork,” Holden said. “I’m not much of a speaker.”
Holden is a member of the National Sculpture Society; 2001 recipient of the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Award; and was named a Distinguished Alumni by Oklahoma State University in 2005. He was elected to the Cowboy Artists of America organization in 2012.
Others who will be inducted this evening include Wanda Jackson, Maud; Neal McCaleb, Oklahoma City; Thomas H. McCasland, Duncan; Blake Shelton, Ada; Peggy Clark Stephenson, Antlers; and Alfre Woodard, Tulsa.