Oklahoma City University | Artist receives Distinguished Alumni award Skip to content

Artist receives Distinguished Alumni award

Prominent contemporary artist Brent Greenwood was named this year’s recipient of the Oklahoma City University Petree College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni award.

Greenwood is the fine arts director for the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. He has won several awards for his work, much of which features acrylic and mixed media to highlight Native American history. He is known for his use of layers of paint, washes, drips and splatters to create depth and emotion, incorporating early tribal history with contemporary design elements.

“Brent is an amazing artist whose dedication to his craft is beyond reproach,” said Arts & Sciences Dean Amy Cataldi. “OCU and the Petree College of Arts & Sciences are grateful to Brent as he continuously gives back to the university with his time, talents and advocacy.”

Greenwood’s painting “Alikchi” (Chickasaw for “healer”) was unveiled in 2013 to celebrate the completion of OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing east building. His paintings have been featured in publications such as Southwest Art and Oklahoma Today. His artistic career is included in the book “Unconquered and Unconquerable, Indian Tribes of Oklahoma.”

Greenwood’s work has been commissioned for private collections and as public art works, including a large mural in downtown Sulphur, Oklahoma, completed in 2021 that champions the Define Your Direction campaign for area youth. His art has been exhibited across North America and abroad as one of the 11 Native American artists to participate in the 2011 “Art En Capital” in Paris. His art was selected for the cover of the Oklahoma Native Tourism Guide in 2010.

Greenwood earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Oklahoma City University in 1997. He also holds a degree in two-dimensional art from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Greenwood, of Chickasaw and Ponca heritage, expresses pride in his tribal heritage beyond his paintings — he enjoys singing Ponca songs at local dances and at his church.

Chemistry professor Stephen Prilliman, the faculty advisor for OCU’s Native American Society student group, nominated Greenwood for the alumni award.

“Brent Greenwood is a great role model for our Native American Society students because, as a practicing Chickasaw artist, he demonstrates that Indigenous culture is not something just in the past, it's a real, living, evolving thing. Native peoples value and honor the past, but Native culture is not something in a museum, it's something living and vital,” Prilliman said.

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