SOS - Save Outdoor Sculpture is a community participation program which was started in 1989 by the National Endowment for the Arts - Art in Public Places Program and later became a joint project of Heritage Preservation and the Smithsonian American Art Museum is SOS! or Save Outdoor Sculpture. Save Outdoor Sculpture! was launched to document and improve the condition of outdoor sculpture in the United States. Through the survey and subsequent awareness and treatment campaigns, thousands of people of all ages across the United States have rediscovered or learned more about their local sculptures. As a result, many artworks have been saved and many more remain to be rescued.SOS! volunteers provided information and images to create a comprehensive database of the nation's outdoor sculpture and focus attention on preservation of public sculpture and monuments. All 31,833 survey reports received through the SOS! program have been entered in the online database.
In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Museums Association was the coordinating agency for the initial Oklahoma survey which began in 1994 and was completed in 1996. The NEA along with the Oklahoma Arts Council funded the survey in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, 326 outdoor sculptures were inventoried. The Oklahoma volunteers documented traditional statues and sculpture, contemporary works and folk art. Over 300 works of art were documented with such information as exact location, dimensions, markings, artist, materials and conditions. Surveyors noted the sculpture's environmental setting and condition including serious problems such as rust, staining, missing parts and evidence of vandalism. Surveyors photographed each art work and then conducted research at local libraries, museums and archives for background information on the artist and sculpture. Locating the background information and pinpointing owners of specific works of art was often difficult and time-consuming.
The initial survey files are still housed in the OMA office, although it is recommend accessing the files online at http://siris-artinventories.si.edu/
PowerPoint Presentation given at the SHPO Conference on June 4, 2008 on Identifying and Protecting Oklahoma's Outdoor Sculpture. There are links to many resources in the PowerPoint.