Kelly Haney is an internationally recognized artist who has exhibited throughout the United States, England, Austria, and Asia. He works primarily in both small and monumental scale, commission-based sculpture. His art has received many awards and recognition. He has received the title of Master Artist of the Five Civilized Tribes. In addition to decades of success as a painter, Kelly became the highly esteemed creator of the 22-foot, bronze sculpture entitled, The Guardian that was chosen to top the Oklahoma State Capitol Dome.
Native American Artist
In addition to The Guardian sculpture atop the Capitol dome, Kelly has seven, seven-foot replicas of The Guardian at various businesses and college campuses throughout the State of Oklahoma. He was also commissioned to create the Chickasaw Warrior at the Chickasaw Nation Headquarters in Ada, Oklahoma and the Standing His Ground sculpture in the Enoch Kelly Haney Center foyer at Seminole State College in Seminole, Oklahoma. Kelly has also created roundels for the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center and the State House of Representatives and State Senate Chambers at the Oklahoma State Capitol. His latest monumental sculpture is a 12-foot bronze of a “Chickasaw Horse and Warrior.” It was installed during spring of 2013 at the Regional Horse Race Track at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, OK. These pieces form an extraordinary repertoire of sculptures from an artist who was never formally trained in sculpting and started at age six using the red clay from his front yard to create a bust of Abraham Lincoln.
He was professionally trained in painting by Dr. Dick West at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Kelly was the recipient of a Rockefeller Scholarship to the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and graduated with a Minor in Religion from Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with a degree in Fine Arts. When Kelly was merely two years old, his mother noticed Kelly recreating with crayons what he saw.
Kelly had a humble beginning in rural Seminole County, and his modest life has guided his perspective of life which has made the way for his accomplishments in politics. Kelly was a State Senator in the Oklahoma Legislature from 1986 to 2002 and was a State Representative from 1980 to 1986.
Kelly is the only full blood American Indian to serve in the Oklahoma Legislature. He is Seminole/Creek and enrolled in the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. He became the Vice Chair of Appropriations his second term in the House before ultimately becoming the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the Oklahoma State Senate. In addition to this significant accomplishment, he was also the chief architect of legislation designed to develop and implement education programs for at-risk students (Alternative Education) and provided legislative leadership for the development of the $180 million American Indian Cultural Center in Oklahoma City. On the national level, Kelly was one of 20 legislators chosen to serve on the Executive Committee of the Nation Conference of State Legislators.
Kelly was selected twice as an official state delegate to the national democratic convention. As chairman of the Appropriation Committee, he represented Oklahoma in numerous countries, including Cuba, England, Mexico, Europe and several Asian countries. His goal was to establish business opportunities for Oklahoma businesses.
In 2005, after two decades of accomplishments in the State Legislature, Kelly Haney was sworn into the office of Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. This was not Kelly’s first involvement with the Nation, as he also served as a Councilman, Band Chief, Business Consultant, and Planner in the 1970’s. Kelly has been involved in tribal and state leadership and politics for the majority of his life.
According to Kelly, though, “we get to where we are by standing on the shoulders of those who came before us.” Since before statehood, the Haney family has been involved in tribal and state politics. In 1903, Samuel Haney, Kelly’s Great Uncle, was Vice Chief of the Seminole Nation, Grandfather Willie Haney was Chief in the 1940’s and provided leadership to the Democratic Party of Seminole County in the 1930’s, and Uncle Jerry Haney was Principal Chief in the 1990’s. Kelly was elected Chief of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma in 2005 and served a four-year term.