Tonight: Fall Collection

Well, folks, the Battle Royal culminates tonight. I can't tell you how appreciative I am of your support (even if you supported my arch nemesis, Natasha). What you really did was support a wonderful cause, Resonance Center for Women, which works every day to make better the lives of women in Tulsa.

The other thing you did was give two tired old mommies much-needed makeovers. Yeah, I know, only the contest winner was supposed to get the makeover, but since you guys helped us RAISE $1,140 FOR RESONANCE, we figured we both deserved one.

And now, for the unveiling. I liken this moment to one of my son's favorite board books, called Yummy Yucky.

Mommy without makeup is YUCKY.

Mommy with her new makeover is YUMMY!

Thanks, all! And, if you'd like to see Natasha's makeover as well (the only photo I took of her was mid-rinse. See below), come to Ihloff Fall Collection tonight in the Assembly Hall of the Tulsa Convention Center, 100 Civic Center, at 7pm. Tickets are only $15 in advance at either Ihloff location or $20 at the door, and all proceeds go to Resonance. Not only will you see the results of Natasha's and my makeovers, you'll also see Resonance clients made over and strutting their stuff and about 50 local models, decked out in fairy tale garb, with hair designed by the Ihloff Creative Team.

Thanks again for your support, and I hope to see you tonight!


Battle Royal: Pick Your Princess

My friend Natasha is beautiful. She’s got this gorgeous, thick hair, virtually unblemished skin and pouty, full lips.

That’s why she’s going down.

There’s been some speculation that Tasha and I might very well be the same person. We’re both energetic gals about town with babies of similar age. We’re both writers, and we write mostly for the same publications. And we both like giving back to the community — especially when there’s a little competition involved.

Now would be a good time to assure you that Tasha and I are in fact very different people. But we want the same things: To raise lots and lots of money for Resonance Center for Women and to get a free makeover in the process. And I definitely need a makeover more than Natasha.

Resonance is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a support system for women facing life’s challenges. The organization was founded in 1977 by Eleanor Hill, who was suddenly widowed by her husband. She established Resonance in a house on the grounds of St. John’s Episcopal Church, and along with a group of volunteers, began offering services that included free listening sessions, on-going support groups and educational workshops.

Resonance provides counseling, substance abuse treatment, career and job services, resources and referrals. In total, Resonance has served more than 250,000 women and families. Each month Resonance receives 1,200 phone calls for information, appointments, or referrals, and serves an average of 350 clients.

Resonance is privately funded and receives no federal or state funding and is not a United Way agency. It is supported by individuals, foundations, corporations, churches, workshop fees and revenue generated by special events.

One of its top supporters is Marilyn Ihloff and Ihloff Salon and Day Spa. Annually, the Ihloff creative team hosts the Fall Collection, a high-energy fashion show that displays the team’s undeniable creativity when it comes to hair and makeup. The show, this year on Oct. 22 at the Tulsa Convention Center’s Assembly Hall, donates proceeds to Resonance and provides Resonance clients, as well as community members, with makeovers.

I want one of those makeovers.

And I’m willing to duke it out with my good friend and colleague in order to get one. But I need your help. (And so does Resonance.) We need you to donate money to Resonance in my name (or, if you like her better, Tasha’s name) between now and Oct. 14. The sassy lady who raises the most money for Resonance gets a makeover and to walk in the Ihloff Creative Team Fall Collection.

To find out the winner of the contest, buy a ticket to Fall Collection (more money for Resonance). The winner will be announced there. And, you’ll get to see whichever of us got the hot new makeover strut our stuff on the catwalk. And the other one crying alone in the corner.

You don’t have to donate a ton of money. $5, $10 or $20 helps. Everything helps. But if you want to give more, do it. Just do it under my name. You can donate via Resonance’s Facebook page here. Tell all your friends.

Follow @hwall, @tashadoestulsa and @ResonanceTulsa on Twitter and visit our Facebook pages to keep up with the competition. It’ll be good, I promise.


Everyone's a Winner!

Well, everyone who entered this contest is a winner, anyway.

Since five people entered, and I have five pairs of tickets to give away, you each get one! So, congrats to Jeff Martin, Matt Nightingale, Jeff Shaw, treygar and Lynda Clopp. And thanks so much for sharing your favorite fables! I hadn't heard any of those except one.

E-mail me at hollyx19 at yahoo.com to claim your prize. Thanks for playing, and enjoy the show!


Get Your Groove On: A Giveaway

When I got the assignment from the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Intermission magazine (that fantastic glossy book your program comes in when you attend events at the PAC) to cover GrooveLily’s concert on Friday, I had no idea what the heck a GrooveLily was.

I took the opportunity to peruse the band’s Web site and download some tunes, and I ended up spending all day listening to mp3s and watching their videos on YouTube.

The band combines Broadway-inspired tunes with jazz, folk and rock music to create a sound that is completely unlike anything I’ve heard before and is so magical, soothing and inspiring that I wanted to get on Amazon.com as quick as possible and snatch up all the CDs I could find.

GrooveLily is Valerie Vigoda, vocals and electric violin; Brendan Milburn, vocals, keyboard and, it just so happens, Valerie’s husband; and Gene Lewin, drums.

Vigoda is a classically trained violinist who, while pursuing a career as a folk singer, met Milburn in 1994 in a New York City coffee shop. They began to meet regularly, first to discuss music, then began writing music together and, eventually, dating. Later that year they met Lewin, whose background is in jazz and rock.

The really beautiful thing about GrooveLily’s music is that, though lovely melodies and rhythms, the band tells marvelous stories. A large portion of the band’s repertoire is its rock musicals, which turn age-old moral tales on their heads, giving them a new spin, to tell smart, humorous, creative stories.

And even those songs that aren’t part of the rock musicals seem to have a story to tell – an imaginative, intellectual story.

If what I’m writing can’t convey it well enough to convince you that this is a show you want to see, then listen for yourself.

GrooveLily plays the Williams Theater of the Tulsa PAC, 110 E. Second St., Friday, Sept. 25 at 7:30pm. Tickets are only $28, but five – FIVE – lucky winners will get a pair right here for free. Just leave a comment with your favorite fable or moral story, and I’ll select the winner at random tomorrow morning. You have until 8 a.m. tomorrow to enter. I’ll choose the winner tomorrow at 9 a.m.

Good luck, and happy listening!


Tonight: Next/Now

Tonight is Tulsa Young Professionals' fourth annual Next/Now art show, from 6-9 p.m. at Gilcrease Museum, 1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Road. Through the event, TYPros celebrates local artists between the ages of 21 and 40 and presents live music by Dead Sea Choir and improv performances by actors from Crayons Improv.

The event is free and open to the public. Light appetizers will be served, and there is a cash bar.

See you there!


Park and Play

I've always suspected that I'm not (I can't be) the only Tulsa who doesn't think this city needs more parking lots. Two years ago, a local architecture firm came up with a concept of “providing temporary public open space... one parking spot at a time,” transforming concrete into an unusual combination of park and art.

PARK[ing] Day in Tulsa, hosted by AIA Eastern Oklahoma, IIDA, McFarland Davies Architects and Tepera Hood Design, is a non-commercial project intended to promote creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, social interaction, generosity and play.

Originally created by REBAR, a San Francisco art and design collective, PARK(ing) Day is an annual, one-day global event during which individuals and groups transform parking spaces, parking lots and other areas of the landscape built to store stationary motor vehicles into places for people to congregate, socialize and play – to the exclusion of motor vehicles.

Four installation projects are open throughout the day and feature special events in Brookside, the Brady District, Cherry Street and on Route 66 during the times shown.

The ballPARK: On the northeast corner of east Archer and north Boston in the Brady District, sponsored by AIA Eastern Oklahoma's Young Architects Forum.
Open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., guests can purchase hot dogs from downtown Tulsa's most recognizable food cart, the Dog House. Better yet, the first 50 guests to register online will receive a FREE hot dog.
At noon, Bob Jack with Manhattan Construction and a representative from the Tulsa Drillers will present a preview of ONEOK Field, scheduled to open in April 2010.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party: 5-6 p.m. at 3638 S. Peoria Ave. in the Brookside Design District, sponsored by IIDA (International Interior Design Association).
IIDA will transform Urban Furnishings' concrete patio into an inviting outdoor tea room. Enjoy unusual tea blends provided by Dragon Moon Tea Company and garden art supplied by Garden Deva while vying for great prizes.

Home Run Derby: 6-7 p.m. - back to the northeast corner of East Archer and north Boston in the Brady District, sponsored by AIA Eastern Oklahoma's YAF. Guests will compete in an old-fashioned Home Run Derby with prizes awarded to the best sluggers.

CHOCS: From 7-8 p.m. at 1502 E. 15th St. at Coffee House on Cherry Street, sponsored by AIA Eastern Oklahoma's Committee on the Environment and McFarland Davies Architects.
Located at the corner of east 15th Street and south Rockford Avenue, this installation features two 30-gallon trees on a Zoysia grass lawn and Cherry Street giveaways.

Route 66: From 8-11 p.m. at 1347 E. 11th St. on Route 66. The installation, sponsored by Tepera Hood Design, features a unique installation transforming a former gasoline island into an urban park setting complete with a "forest canopy."
Owners Shane Hood, Assoc. AIA and Mary Jones, Assoc. AIA invite you to celebrate the grand opening of their design studio on historic Route 66 with music and food served throughout the evening.

T-Town Trolley will carry passengers between downtown Tulsa, Cherry Street, Route 11, and Brookside from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

In 2007, Selser Schaefer Architects organized Tulsa’s first PARK(ing) Day installation in a single parking space in an uptown Tulsa parking lot.

In 2008, AIA Eastern Oklahoma’s Young Architects Forum and SR Hughes converted parking spaces in the Brookside Design District into an outdoor living environment. In 2009, the installations multiplied the number of temporary parks in Tulsa through the combined efforts of artists, activists, and citizens drawing attention to how the city’s urban space is allocated and used.


Tell Tale: A Conversation with Joe Andoe

I've been elated about Joe Andoe's return to Tulsa for some time. Not only is he exhibiting brand-new, commissioned work, but he's doing so for the benefit of Tulsa Girls Art School Project, a phenomenal non-profit organization that provides underprivileged young girls with an opportunity for arts education.

At Dwelling Spaces, 119 S. Detroit, tomorrow evening, from 6 to 8pm, Andoe will sell 100 hand-painted t-shirts for $100 each, and the girls of TGAS will sell 100 original flower paintings for $100 each. You can probably do the math on your own, but that provides an opportunity for TGAS to earn $20,000, which would be monumental for the school.

Read my story in Urban Tulsa Weekly here.

And below is a trsncript of most of the interview I did with Joe Andoe. He's a genuinely nice guy and surprisingly easy to talk to — so much so that we spent more than 40 minutes on the phone, chatting not only about the benefit exhibit but also about the possibility of Jubilee City, his autobiography, being made into a film and the past, present and future of Tulsa.

At the end of the post is additional information on how tomorrow night's exhibit will go. E-mail tulsaartblog@yahoo.com with any questions.

HW: How did you first hear about Tulsa Girls Art School Project?

Joe Andoe: When I showed up at the (Aberson’s Exhibits) show (on June 24), I was kind of late, and someone handed me a diploma-looking thing from the mayor that named June 24 “Joe Andoe Day.”

I took it to my mother’s house to show to her, and we took it to Ziegler to have it framed so she could hang it on her wall. Someone in there said we should go across the street and see Matt Moffett’s little girls school. It sounded cute, so my mother and I walked across the street.

My mother was so impressed with the girls; they were all so well-behaved, just sitting there painting, and so polite.

At the school they have this peg board, a gallery space, where the girls could sell their work. And half of the proceeds from the paintings went into a scholarship for them and the other half went to the school. So I was looking at it, and I picked out one, and said, “I’ll buy this one.” Then I looked at the painting next to that one and thought, “She’s going to feel bad if I buy this girl’s painting and not hers.” Then I looked at the next girl and said, “Matt, just sell me one of each.”

The girls were so cute, they brought them out to the trunk of my car. And they’re such good painters. They’re so unafraid. Matt’s a good teacher.

HW: So how did you arrive at the idea to do a benefit for the school?
JA: Later, the next day or that night, I talked to Mary Beth and she asked if I’d ever do a t-shirt or something for her space. And it just came to me: “How about we do this?” Just that quick. It’s just another example of my mouth writing a check my ass can’t cash. I thought I’d draw a little flower with a marker or something on each one and sign it. But I got wrapped up, carried away. Whoever buys these things for $100 apiece will certainly get their money’s worth. I sell things for $25,000 that I don’t put this much work into.

HW: Why flowers?
JA: Flowers reminded me of the little girls. They’re the right size to paint. It’s just one consistent thing that could be similar on each of the shirts.

HW: Who decided there’s be 100 of them?
JA: Oh, that was my big idea. You hang around me long enough I’ll make a mistake like that.

When I got back to the city, I was listening to the public radio station, and some guy was on who wrote a book about childhood development and the benefit of teaching children music at younger age. He said they grow up to be more sensitive adults, that it tanslates into human interaction later in life.

I got to thinking, I bet art is the same way. Anytime they’re sensitive to the fact that this color next to this color makes you feel certain way, then they can control things, the way they feel. Art is about empathy anyway. At the root of it all, people relating to art is something akin to, in nursery, when one baby cries and then they all cry. Or when one person yawns then it makes you yawn, too.

When you’re an artist, if you feel something and put it down on a canvas, there’s good chance you can make someone else feel the same way without words. I figured, if these girls could paint and they had this, the ripple effects would be real positive in their community.

HW: Did the fact that most of these girls hail from the same part of Tulsa where you’re from, the north side, increase your desire to hold this benefit for them?
JA: It didn’t hurt. The fact they’re underprivileged meant more to me than anything. They’re not getting it as easy as most kids in Tulsa do.

HW: What did you do with the 24 paintings you bought?
JA: I gave them to my family, all my nieces and nephews. I kept two for myself, gave my mother one, gave my brothers one.

In case you were wondering...here is how it's going to go down Thursday night at Dwelling Spaces

Joe Andoe Hand Painted T-shirt Art Exhibit 2009

Register at desk outside of shop to get a number if you want to purchase a t-shirt
Doors will open at 6pm
6:30 we will call #1, #2, etc.
You will have 1 minute to pick your t-shirt
PLEASE BE READY…you will only have 1 minute to choose
Once you have chosen your t-shirt
Pay at the counter
Keep your receipt to pick shirt up on Saturday or after
This is an Art Exhibit
$100 each 100% goes to Tulsa Girls Art School
Anytime during the event you can purchase the flower paintings by the girls at TGAS which will be on display on the back wall. The paintings by the girls are $100 each 100% to TGAS.
Donations are also accepted directly to TGAS.
Dwelling Spaces
119 S. Detroit Ave





Call to artists: Momentum Tulsa 2009

OK, so I'm super, duper excited about being on the planning committee for the 2009 Momentum Tulsa event. The event highlights the work of Oklahoma artists aged 30 and under and provides a wonderful example of the degree of talent we have in our state.

I can't tell you any details of the event yet, but I can tell you that artists will be involved in every aspect of the event, from its planning to its execution, in addition to being the stars of the show. So, go ahead and get to work. The call for entries is below.

Open to Oklahoma artists age 30 and under to exhibit their work in a fun and exciting atmosphere featuring interactive art and live bands. The sixth annual Momentum Tulsa will be Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Living Arts new location at 307 E. Brady, Tulsa.

Performance artists, filmmakers, 2D and 3D artists are encouraged to submit up to 3 entries. Submissions must have been created in the last two years and can not have been included in previous Momentum's.

Curators are Scott Perkins, curator of collections and exhibitions at the Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville, and Frank Wick, artist and Momentum Spotlight Emerging curator. More info at 405-879-2400 or www.MomentumOklahoma.org.

More than $1,000 in cash prizes will be awarded.

Deadline for entries is September 26 and 27.

Visit www.MomentumOklahoma.org for the full call for entries.


One Hot Night

Tulsa-based artist JP Morrison presents a preview party for her latest body of work “Beguiled: The Folklore of Women” before taking it to The Base Gallery in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday, July 29.

“Beguiled” is an exhibition of seven new mixed media works exploring the roles of female characters in fairy tales and allegory.

According to the artist, “The work deals in particular with personal empowerment, which is a novelty almost entirely overlooked in traditional tales. The women in my retellings understand that there are many ways to achieve ‘happily ever after’ without being rescued.”

The preview is at Pearl Gallery, 1201 E. Third St., from 5-8pm in conjunction with the closing of the gallery’s “The Long Hot Summer Show.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more, go to www.pearlgallerytulsa.com.


Call to artists: Next/Now Art Show

From the horse's mouth:

TYPros is looking for talented Tulsa artists ages 21-40 to participate in the fourth annual Next/Now art show. Selected artwork will be displayed at the Gilcrease Museum Sept. 18-28 with a special reception on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Below is information about artwork submissions. The deadline to enter is Friday, Aug. 7. For questions about the show or submissions, contact Chris Oden, executive director of TYPros, at 918-560-0286 or chrisoden@typros.org.


Artwork will be submitted via e-mail (only one piece of art per e-mail). All media is welcome for submission. To be considered, please provide artist name, phone number, e-mail, title, media and price (if applicable) with each submission. Artists may submit up to five pieces for the show.

Hanging pieces should be no larger than 4' X 4' with a weight restriction of 25 pounds. Sculptures should not exceed 3' in height with a maximum base dimension of 20" X 20" and a weight restriction of 25 pounds.

When artwork is delivered, each piece must be ready to hang with wire or d-rings and framed if appropriate. Any special equipment must be provided by the artist. Pieces should also be prepared for transport.

Submission Information
Please send an e-mail with information and picture of artwork (maximum file size: 1 MB) to chrisoden@typros.org.

Important Dates
Aug. 7 - Deadline for submissions
Aug. 18-20 - Jury will review
Aug. 24-26 - Notification of selected works (via email)
Sept. 9 - Selected art provided to TYPros, 5-7 p.m., at Walsh Branding, 300 East Brady
Sept. 22 - Reception, 6-9 p.m., Gilcrease Museum
Sept. 29 - Artists pick-up artwork, 5-7 p.m., Walsh Branding, 300 East Brady

TYPros and the Gilcrease Museum are not responsible at any time for the loss, damage or theft of artwork. Submission of artwork constitutes an agreement on the part of the artist to the conditions set forth in this prospectus and shall further include permission to reproduce work for publication. All art will be judged by a panel of experienced jurors.

Inclusion in the Next/Now art show does not constitute an endorsement of the artists' work by the Gilcrease Museum.

If someone is interested in purchasing your art piece, you will be contacted. The artist will be responsible for the sale including getting the artwork to the purchaser; however, artwork must be displayed at the museum for the duration (Sept. 18-29).

In order to enter, you must be 21 to 40 years of age and a member of TYPros. To sign up for free membership, visit www.TYPros.org.

Feel free to forward this call for entries to other YPs that might be interested.

Editor's Note: Local artist Grace Grothaus is involved in putting this on, and I know she's really trying to amp up the quality of the event. While I sometimes tend to disregard functions organized by TYPros, this one should be good. God, I sound like a jerk. Ha!


Wanna see my boobs? (A call to artists)

For some reason — I can't quite figure it out — Judi Grove, an amazing woman, breast cancer survivor and founder of Breast Impressions, thinks I'm a celebrity.

I think her judgment should be questioned, but whatever.

Her organization donates casting kits to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and face a mastectomy. By making a cast of their breasts before they're removed, the women are left with a memory of their bodies before they're altered by the effects of their cancer.

The idea was sparked when Grove found a lump on her nipple and learned she'd have to have a mastectomy. She made a cast of her own breasts before surgery.

Two years ago, Grove began hosting an annual event to raise money for Tulsa Project Woman, a nonprofit organization that provides no-cost mammography, diagnostic procedures and surgical services for women with no health insurance and limited financial resources.

Grove asks local "celebrities" (typically people much more famous than I am) to lend their bodies to a casting. The casts are then painted by local artists and auctioned off at the gala event. This year's annual gala and live auction is October 25 at Woodland Hills Mall. Grove would like to have the casts on display through the month of October.

I am more than thrilled to be a part of this event and to lend myself to two organizations who do so much for women's health. My aunt and my grandmother, both on my mother's side, are breast cancer survivors, and I find them and all of the other women who've beat the disease, awe-inspiring.

Grove is still looking for five or six artists who are interested in painting/decorating casts to be auctioned off. It is a great way to have your work seen in an unusual setting and to do something really wonderful for the community as well. Grove said she'd especially like to have the involvement of some younger, burgeoning artists who could stand to benefit from the exposure.

Plus, no one's signed on to paint my cast yet. And I want someone really, really good.

Finished casts are due September 1, so we need to find artists quickly. If you're interested, please e-mail me at tulsaartblog at yahoo.com or contact Judi at breastimpressions at cox.net or 691-3874.


Line by Line: Drawing Exhibits at Philbrook

Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road, opens two fascinating exhibits this weekend: Peggy Preheim: Little Black Book and From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci: A Century of Italian Drawings from the Prado.

Preheim is a contemporary living artist whose drawings, while small and delicate, are fierce in their meticulous detail. The exhibit includes 75 of her drawings, along with sculptures and photographs, all created between 1984 and 2007, and is curated by Harry Philbrick, director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn.

Rand Suffolk, Philbrook’s CEO, curated the exhibit’s assembly within Helmerich Gallery and gave me a sneak peak. The drawings are astounding and will require some time and devotion from their viewers. The sculptures were not yet on display, but, according to a release from the museum, they too are meticulous, often featuring white clay and found objects, like furniture, dolls’ clothes and Victorian glass.

Of the title of the exhibit, Preheim said, “I think Little Black Book can serve as a provocative end enigmatic summing up of the work in the exhibition. This concept can refer to many things. For me, it refers to the closing of one chapter and the opening of another; the acquisition of language; the ‘book’ which appears in some of my allegorical drawings points to the book of Revelation.”

A full color book titled Peggy Preheim, published in conjunction with the exhibit, will be available for purchase in the museum bookstore.

On the opposite side of the gallery is the Prado exhibit, which features 70 superb 16th century Italian drawings. The Museo del Prado is acclaimed as one of the world’s premier art institutions, and this tour marks the first time many of the works will have appeared outside of Madrid.

The works range from quick sketches to elaborate commissions and help trace the lineage of the drawing art form. I suggest starting with the Preheim exhibit to experience how a contemporary artist utilizes her pencil, and then move over to the Prado survey, delving into the history of the medium.

Both exhibitions open Sunday, and museum hours that day are 10am to 5pm. Philbrook is closed Monday, and on Thursday the museum is open until 8pm. The exhibits will hang until July 26. For more, visit www.philbrook.org.

A Little Perspective

Christopher Westfall was driving his wife Cheryl to the doctor last August when, all of a sudden, his eyes went dark. He couldn’t see.

Westfall is an artist best known for his renderings of Tulsa cityscapes, but when a stroke left him unable to see well enough to paint the detail necessary for an accurate portrait of the town, he changed his perspective.

Cheryl’s appointment became Chris’s, and after a battery of tests, visits to specialists and a couple of guesses, his doctors finally decided he had had a small stroke that killed the nerves behind his eyes. He was left with double vision and vertigo, both of which made it impossible for him to paint the cityscapes he had pained for the past 22 years, the ones his fans and patrons loved so much.

Not one to put down the paint brush, though, Westfall began to do something he had never done before – he painted abstracts.

“What I found out about abstracts is that they’re the same as any painting: They involve color and composition. But, you can eliminate a lot of the details,” he said.

Westfall said he found painting abstracts “freeing.” When he’s painting landscapes or cityscapes, especially for a client, they have to look like what they represent.

“These don’t have to look like anything in particular,” he said. “There are no set rules. I love that.”

Westfall regained his sight gradually over the course of about three months, and he has returned to his cityscapes, but he still paints the abstracts when he can.

And even though they’re different, looking at one of his abstracts next to a painting of downtown, you can see the similarities between the works. You can still see Westfall’s style in the abstracts, in the color palettes and brush strokes.

His abstract work isn’t on display now, but you can see traditional Westfall paintings at Mayfest this weekend in the Invitational Gallery and at M.A. Doran Gallery, 3509 S. Peoria, as part of the "National Contemporary Realism" show, through the end of the month.


A New Home for Contemporary Arts

Last night, I got to help make history.

Living Arts announced that it will open in its new space, Living Arts Contemporary Space, at 307 E. Brady, on August 15. George Kaiser Family Foundation owns the building and is leasing the first floor to Living Arts for what I’m guessing is a nominal fee.

The second floor will house 13 apartments, occupied by recent college grads who will be infiltrating Tulsa Public Schools’ most underserved schools as members of the service corps Teach for America. Since the teachers have to be in place in the fall, the whole building is set to open Aug. 15. Architecture firm Kinslow, Keith and Todd will handle the design and build of the outside walls, as well as those that connect the two floors, and the stairway, elevator and lobby.

The remaining portion of Living Arts will be built as funds are available by architects and builders of the organization’s choosing, which is why, last night, a group of architects, artists and designers gathered at the space to flesh out ideas.

The building, with 12,000 square feet of usable space (twice what LA is working with now) will be totally dedicated to contemporary arts. There will be two galleries, one for visual arts and one for performance arts, as well as three education spaces, a lounge, bar and kitchen and office space.

As we toured the facility and began thinking about how we wanted to design and build walls, windows, entrances, signage, lights, sound, etc., etc., we were encouraged to think creatively about solutions, and to think of every solution as a temporary one, so that LA can continue to grow, change and develop.

We were divided into committees, each one (hopefully) comprised of a blend of professionals: architects, designers, artists and “other” (me, for example).

I joined Linda Clark, LA’s new administrative director, on the bathroom committee, along with Chris Ganong. Because I’m not an artist or designer, and because I have virtually no technical skill – but I want to be a part of designing the new space – I chose a small project, where virtually all of the technical work (plumbing, etc.) will be handled by KKT, and I can think about paint, art… you know, the fun stuff.

But, Linda and I really need the help of artists! We want to tear out the existing stalls and have artists design new ones out of material of their choosing – the more unlikely, the better. In my mind, I’d love for it to be some kind of found or reclaimed material, but I’ll by no means limit an artist to that. We will probably limit them in budget, though, but I don’t know yet what that will be. I’m guessing it will be small, though, so we need artists who will either donate their talent or be willing to work with us on a fee.

We’re also thinking about incorporating sculptures and other art into the bathrooms, but we need artists’ help! I know it sounds like an unusual project, and it is, but it’s also an exciting one, and I hope that some local, and even student, artists will want to participate. We’re meeting at Living Arts (current address: 308 S. Kenosha) at 5:30 on Tuesday, May 19. I encourage anyone who wants to participate to please, please come! I’ll have photos of the bathroom so you can get an idea of what we’re working with, and maybe we can even take a field trip to the site.

And stay tuned for more updates on Living Arts’ progress. After an itinerant 40 years, in which the gallery had 10 different homes, it’ll finally have a permanent residency. It’s an exciting time for art and downtown Tulsa, and I encourage you to be a part of it.

And the winners are...

Yesterday, I had a contest allowing two lucky winners to cash in on some free goodies at this weekend's Blue Dome Arts Festival.

First, the winner of two free gyros, selected at random, is:

Comment No. 2 came from joei. Congrats!

Next, the winner of a gift certificate for $10 worth of make-and-take art courtesy of Tulsa Stained Glass (this amounts to two mosaic tiles), is:

Comment No. 1 came from Christine Crowe, of Weather&Noise. Congrats! Christine also won big yesterday on www.tashadoestulsa.com. Lucky girl!
Hope you both have a great time at Blue Dome and enjoy your goodies. Send an e-mail to tulsaartblog[at]yahoo.com to claim your prize!


Giveaway: Goodies at Blue Dome Arts Festival

As seen in today's Urban Tulsa Weekly... (Photos by Don Emrick, courtesy www.bluedomeartsfestival.com)

In 2001, a group of 20 artists gathered in the courtyard of fellow artist Virginia Harrison's Owen Park home for the First International Clayfest. Little did they know that, eight years later, their little gathering would grow into a major arts event, attracting hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors.

The Blue Dome Arts Festival, which occupies First and Second Streets at Elgin and Detroit of the Blue Dome District this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, began because local artists wanted to devise a way to be part of Mayfest, a 37-year-old arts and music festival that infiltrates downtown Tulsa each spring.

Mayfest attracts hundreds of artists from all over the country. They're selected by a jury to show work at the festival. In 1982, Mayfest incorporated the Invitational Gallery in order to accommodate more local artists in the festival. Those artists are juried as well, and with about 100 spots available, admission into the gallery is competitive.

"Local artists were frustrated that they couldn't get into the gallery because of the competition," said Harrison, who works in ceramics and glass. "There are so many artists in Tulsa, and they needed to be able to show their work. We realized that people really want to see local artists' work."

Those artists decided to hold their festival at the same time as Mayfest because, Harrison said, people were excited about art during Mayfest. They encouraged people to stop by their festival once they'd left downtown.

In only two years, Clayfest outgrew Harrison's back yard, so she approached developer Michael Sager, who owns much of the property in downtown's Blue Dome District, about having their event in that area. He loved it, and since 2003, the Blue Dome Arts Festival has steadily grown, both in number of participants and patrons.

Harrison said she's learned something about hosting the festival every year, and she understands how Mayfest started out as a small celebration of artists and grew into a massive event.

In fact, her hope for the future is that Blue Dome Arts Festival and Mayfest meld into one large, arts-lovin' event. Whether that will happen or not remains to be seen, but the two festivals' organizers work in tandem with one another to ensure that both festivals are well-attended and achieve their missions of celebrating and proliferating art.

More than 100 artists will set up booths at this year's Blue Dome Arts Festival, and an additional 30 or so can set up in the festival's space for Emerging Artists. The Emerging Artists area is dedicated to young artists who've perhaps never participated in a festival before and aren't quite sure how. They can set up for free, learn a bit from veteran Blue Dome artists, and then perhaps set up their own booths next year.

In addition to the Emerging Artists area, the festival has added an Emerging Musicians element to the festival, allowing young, burgeoning musicians to set up and play on Blue Dome's stage in between scheduled musical acts.

Tulsa's own Hanson will make a stop at the Blue Dome district at 11am on Sat., May 16. The band will conduct a mile-long segment of its "The Walk Tour," which supports the new album, The Walk. The tour is fighting poverty and AIDS in Africa.

For a complete list of artists and musicians who'll be at the festival, visit www.bluedomeartsfestival.com.

Though the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa sponsors the Blue Dome Arts Festival and area restaurants and business contribute to its success, it's still very much a grassroots event, organized entirely by volunteers.

And while Mayfest still attracts more artists and seems to earn artists more money for their work, many of the artists exhibiting in Mayfest's Invitational Gallery will also have booths at Blue Dome Festival, including Harrison. The artists at Blue Dome Festival are generally younger, emerging artists, giving the entire festival a more bohemian feel.

The festival is open Friday, from 12-9pm; Saturday, from 10am to 8pm; and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Virginia Harrison gave me a certificate for two free gyros and two free pieces of make-and-take art from Tulsa Stained Glass Co. to give away to two readers. One reader will win the gyros and one will win the stained glass art. To win, leave a comment telling me your favorite aspect of the Blue Dome Arts Festival. The winners will be chosen at random at 9am Thursday, May 14. Good luck!


Oklahoma arts receive national recognition (and a good amount of money)

The Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust announced today that it has received a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the largest single grant ever awarded by the NEA to an Oklahoma organization.

The grant falls under the category “American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius” in the discipline “Presenting” to acquaint Americans with the best of the nation’s cultural and artistic heritage.

The PAC Trust will share the $40,000 with Gilcrease Museum and the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers for a collaborative project called “Oklahoma Landscapes: A Plains State of Mind.”

The PAC Trust, in partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, will use the grant to present an eight-performance run of Oklahoma native Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County, from Jan 26-31, 2020. GKFF will underwrite the presentation up to $250,000 and assist with marketing, said Stanton Doyle, GKFF senior officer for arts and culture.

The title of the entire program, “Oklahoma Landscapes: A Plains State of Mind” is borrowed from a line in Letts’ play and speaks to Oklahoma’s unique geographic location.

Billie Letts, award-winning Oklahoma author and mother to Tracy Letts, described her son’s play, saying it “reveals old secrets and opens old wounds.”

“He asked me if it bothered me that he more or less told all of my family’s secrets,” Billie Letts said. “I told him it bothered me a little bit, but he’s still in the family will.”

Gilcrease Museum will present an exhibition of and lecture featuring works “strongly connected to Oklahoma,” evocative of the “uniqueness of our state’s landscape and heritage.”

The exact content of the exhibit and lecture is yet to be determined, but it will likely be presented November of this year to March 2010.

The OCPW will use its portion of the funds to present “Oklahoma Landscapes: A Literary Tableau” on January 21, 2010 at 7pm in the Oklahoma State University-Tulsa auditorium. The event will feature readings by some of Oklahoma’s most noted authors, including N. Scott Momaday, Joyce Carol Thomas, Billie Letts, Michael Wallis and Rilla Askew.

In addition, the Center will kick off a reading campaign, marketed specifically to Oklahoma English teachers.

“Writers play an important role in Oklahoma landscapes,” said Teresa Miller, OCPW executive director.

She said John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath continues to be the literary definition of Oklahoma, but contemporary Oklahoma authors are rewriting that definition.

PAC Trust Program Director Shirley Elliott said the NEA grant will have at least a $5 million economic impact on the city and through the attendance of its programs, will reach roughly 600,000 people.

Susan Neal, director of community development and education initiatives for the City of Tulsa, said the hallmark of a community is its arts endeavor, and that Tulsa’s recognition through this grant signals to the rest of the country its major contributions to the arts world.


"Bonny Goon"

Harrod Blank is a product of his environment. He grew up in the Redwood forest of the Bonny Doon mountains, just outside of Santa Cruz, Calif., without the influence of TV and pop culture.
“Growing up, I raised chickens and ran through the forest,” he said.
His family didn’t own a television set, so rather than basing his values on what he saw on TV, he developed them on his own.
When he was 16, he got his first car, a 1965 white Volkswagon Beetle, what he called “probably the most boring car someone could own.”
To differentiate himself and his automobile, Blank painted a rooster on the driver’s side door, and that single act became the catalyst of his long career in art cars.
“I wanted to show people (at his high school) that I didn’t look like they did and I didn’t have the same values they did. I was different,” Blank said.
He was surprised, though, at how much attention the painted rooster got him. The kids at his school began to refer to him as “Rooster Man” or “Chicken Man,” and the notoriety earned him invitations to parties and an identity.
He added objects to the car, including a television, which he shot and mounted to the top. In it he placed symbols of what he saw on TV: A Barbie doll to represent sex, Jell-O to represent commercial advertising.
He worked on the car through high school and college, and he sill has it and adds items to it. And as he constructed his art car, thinking he must be the only person in the world with a car like his, he began to hear snippets of information, stories of other people across the country and their own art cars.

Beginning in 1986, Blank began seeking out and photographing art cars all over the country, and he compiled his findings into a documentary called Wild Wheels, released in 1992, which he promoted by driving his first art car “Oh My God” (named after the response people frequently gave to seeing the car) across the country.

In 1993, Blank had a dream about a car covered in cameras, and he spent that year collecting more than 2,700 cameras, which, in 1994 and 1995, he mounted to a 1972 minivan. Camera Van, in addition to being a piece of art, was also a solution to a problem. Blank wanted to be able to photograph the public’s reactions to his art cars without them being tainted by the presence of a camera.
Nestled in with the thousands of non-working cameras were 10 that were rigged to snap photos at random intervals, thereby capturing the public’s honest, immediate reaction to his creation.
Blank will exhibit the photos produced by the Camera Van and his photographs of art cars in an exhibit at Liggett Studio, 314 S. Kenosha, opening tomorrow at 6pm.
Blank has also produced another film about art cars, called Automorphosis, which the Circle Cinema will show Sunday, May 17 as part of Art Car Weekend. The film and Blank’s book, Art Cars, will be available for purchase during the exhibit and Art Car Weekend. His exhibit at Liggett will hand through May 23.

Blank talked about using automobiles as a medium, saying, “Cars are already a powerful object because of their mobility. They’re seen by a lot of people. I think they reach people similar to radio and TV because of the number of people who see them.”
The art car cult craze is still proliferating, Blank said.
“The whole point is saying, ‘It’s OK to do this to your car.’ A lot of people see a minivan and they think it’s supposed to look like that,” Blank said, pointing to a car parked across the street from Liggett Studio. “But once they do it and see how much joy it brings to themselves and to other people, they realize it’s OK.”


Cinco por Cinco

Every year, the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery hosts its annual 5x5 Fundraiser, and the event has become one of the gallery's most popular.

The exhibit and fundraiser, now in its 10th year, opens tonight, May 5, at 5:55pm. All of the artwork displayed was donated by local artists and created on five-inch-by-five-inch canvases. It sells for $55 each. The gallery requests a $5 donation at the door.

The small works represent a wonderfully creative variety of subjects in painting, ceramic, photography, paper, metal, wood, cloth and other mediums.

According to a release, "Whether it is representational or abstract, whimsical or profound, you are bound to find it at this art event. These small works can easily find a niche in your home. Both the artists and the public are eager to participate. The art patrons line up well in advance of the opening of the doors at 5:55pm."

The event generates a large portion of the gallery's operating revenue, allowing it to keep exhibition costs low for artists. It also provides the public with an opportunity to purchase original, local art at a low price.

The Tulsa Artists' Coalition is an artist-run, non-profit 501C(3)organization of artists and art supporters formed to encourage and support emerging and established contemporary artists and to foster the development of new forms and multi-disciplinary works in Tulsa and surrounding communities.

The 5x5 Fundraiser continues through May 23, and work will be available for purchase until that date. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday, 6-9pm and by appointment.


Call to artists: Jenks Art on Main

(Taken from a press release.)

The Jenks Historic Downtown District will be transformed into a cultural arts experience on Saturday, October 10 from 10am to 6pm as thousands of participants gather to appreciate Oklahoma’s creative talent at Art on Main.

The art show seeks to create access to a broad array of art experiences, nurture the development and understanding of diverse art forms and cultures and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in Oklahoma. This event recently was awarded Oklahoma Community Institute’s “Outstanding Community Improvement Initiative.” Featured entertainment will be Tulsa’s Salsa Rhythm Project.

Artist applications for a variety of mediums, such as drawings, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture, wood carvings and other art forms are being accepted for consideration into this juried show. Artists may showcase and sell their artwork.

This event is sponsored by the Jenks Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation. To request information, contact Brittany Sawyer with the Jenks Chamber at (918) 299-5005 or info@jenkschamber.com. The deadline for submissions is June 30. To access applications online, visit the events calendar at www.jenkschamber.com.


Why I Love Tulsa (Hint: Because of its filmmakers)

As if he didn’t have enough to do, local actor, director and producer Starr Hardgrove is embarking on yet another endeavor, this one with the mission of uniting local film artists around their love of Tulsa.

Enchanted Grove Films PLP, Tiroma Films and Evandrake Productions (code names for Hardgrove, Rob Harris and Titus Jackson) are banding together to create on feature-length film, comprised of about 20 short films, centered around the theme “why I love Tulsa.” Why I Love Tulsa will also be the name of the film.

The three were involved in the feature film Jesus Fish (of which I’ll have a review soon; Harris sent me a copy of the film last week), and realized how “easy” it is to make a feature-length movie, Hardgrove said. They decided to bring all the folks in town who’ve been involved in making various short films together for one long one.

So far, about 15 directors are on board, including the three aforementioned partners, and they’re holding auditions for actors and technical support this Saturday, May 2 at 2pm at Tulsa Community College’s Metro Campus, 909 S. Boston, in room MSU 202.

Auditions will be cold readings of scenes for the camera and will be made available to the actor via online video after the taping. Each audition will take no more than five minutes. No further preparation is required.

Each of the films will be shot in 20 days at some recognizable Tulsa landmark or location. They’ll all be fictional, narrative films, incorporating love, Tulsa and loving Tulsa.

The finished film, which will likely resemble something like Paris, Je T’aime (and Hardgrove says New York, I Love You will hit theaters soon), will do three things, according to Hardgrove: It will showcase directors in Tulsa and their work, it will showcase Tulsa actors (of which they’ll need about 100) and it’ll showcase landmarks and filming opportunities in Tulsa, hopefully drawing outsiders in.

Hardgrove isn’t just involving film directors; visual artists, musicians and even a body paint artist will direct films.

Directors will begin shooting their films after May 17, and the project’s organizers will edit them as they come in, fusing them together with photographic and musical interludes. They hope to have the entire thing finished by October 31. They’ll show the rough cut to various local musicians and commission music inspired by the film for a CD to accompany the film.

The public will see Why I Love Tulsa on February 14, 2010.

Hardgrove said he’s still looking for directors, investors and local businesses to get involved in the film. Head to auditions Saturday or visit www.whyilovetulsa.com to get in on the action.

Point Blank

Tomorrow night, artist and graphic designer (Point Blank Design) Sara Bowersock opens an exhibit of new work at Ida Red, 3346 S. Peoria. Bowersock's new collection celebrates legendary Oklahoma musicians (that's Leon Russell above). Her style, heavily steeped in her design background, is like a blend of dark, moody rock 'n roll and colorful pop music.

The exhibit opens with a reception (read: party) Saturday, May 2 at 7pm. The Electric Rag Band, in which Bowersock is a musician, goes on at 8pm, and there'll be plenty of snacks and free booze.


40 years and counting

In September, Living Arts of Tulsa will celebrate 40 years of presenting new, contemporary art forms to Tulsa. To celebrate, Walt Kosty is helping organize a publication that will offer an introspective view of the gallery's history, told mostly through the eyes, words and photos of its patrons. I'm excited to be a part of the project as well.

Kosty has started a blog, at livingartshistory.blogspot.com for patrons, past and present, to post their memories and photos of the gallery. You can e-mail Kosty at walt.kosty.livingarts[at]blogger.com to submit your memories.

The subject of your e-mail will be the titles of your post, and the body of the e-mail will be the post itself.
Always include your name at the end of the post so it can be attributed to a person. To include an image in your post, you can attach an image to you your e-mail.

Sometimes email programs append text to the bottom of each sent message;
to make sure this cruft doesn't get posted to your blog, put "#end" at the end of your post.

The project will be revealed at the gallery's 40th anniversary exhibition, which opens September 3.

Head over to the blog to submit your favorite memory and read those of others. They're really quite fascinating.


First Friday in the Brady Arts District

I just called Janice McCormick at the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery to get information about TAC's presence at the Brady Arts District's First Friday Art Crawl for the May 7 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.

"Um, isn't May 1 the first Friday of the month?" she politely asked me, while probably silently reeling at my idiocy.

That's what I would have done, anyway.

So, since I, for some reason, though that May 8 was the first Friday of the month, I didn't include information about the First Friday Art Crawl or about the Visual Arts Center's Baywalk in this week's UTW column.

I apologize.

For about a year now, galleries in the Brady Arts District have been joining forces to collectively open their doors on the first Friday of each month. Greg Gray, owner of Club 209, organizes the event, which involves the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, Club 209, CFC Chocolatier, the Tulsa Glassblowing Studio and Donna Prigmore's pottery gallery holding exhibit openings and other art-related events all on the same night, at the same time.

In addition, at the May and June events, the Visual Arts Center will host a Baywalk, wherein artists will set up shop just inside the garage doors of the Mathews Warehouse, the future site of the center at Brady and Boston. About 20 or so artists will be there with wine and work, exhibiting and selling to passersby.

The entire event is free and open to the public, and it's a great time. I took Isaac last month and he was fascinated by the glassblowing at the Glassblowing Studio. I mean, really. He stared at it forever. I think he sensed that he could break it, and that intrigued him.

And I love seeing so many bodies in downtown Tulsa at once, all gathered for the purpose of celebrating and supporting local artists. Awesome.

First Friday starts at about 5:30 or so on Friday, May 1. At each gallery there will be a sheet of paper with information on participating galleries, their addresses and the times of their openings. Because TAC won't open until Tuesday, May 5 (its annual 5x5 show; read more about that later), the gallery won't be open, but they'll have a table at the Baywalk with a sneak preview of a couple of the 5x5 pieces and some info about coming attractions.

A Little Bit Wicked

This summer, Celebrity Attractions presents Wicked, a musical retelling of The Wizard of Oz from the Wicked Witch's point of view. While it's Celebrity Attraction's mission to bring Broadway performances to Tulsa year after year (and the organization does a great job of doing so; thanks to it locals can see major blockbuster performances without have to leave our cozy little city), it seems each season has one really stand-out production, and this year it's Wicked.

Tickets go on sale May 9 for an engagement beginning July 15, but by clicking the link below, you can buy yours early. And you might wanna. I have a feeling they're going to sell out fast.


Opera for the Rest of Us

I wrote the following post for my good friend Tasha at Tasha Does Tulsa. We attended Tulsa Opera's production of Gaetano Donizetti's L'Elisir D'Amore last weekend, and Tasha scored two tickets to give away to one lucky reader. Check out the post below and then head over to www.tashadoestulsa.com to enter.

Every time I attend a Tulsa Opera production, I forget for a little while that I’m in Tulsa. TO presents magnanimous works, attracting the best singers, directors and conductors that the industry has to offer. And as I watch (and hear) these amazing voices, performing in front of such elaborate sets and in such exquisite costumes, I imagine that I’m in someplace much larger and more cosmopolitan than Tulsa.

(For some reason, I sometimes still think of Tulsa as being a much smaller city than it actually is, even though I know better.)

For those who are opera fans, Tulsa Opera never disappoints, and its final production of the 2008-2009 season is no exception. For those who’ve never attended an opera before, this weekend is a perfect time to start, as Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore is a wonderful first-time opera.

In it, Nemorino (Gregory Schmidt) is a shy, na├»ve peasant living in the Italian countryside. He’s in love with Adina (Mari Moriya), a stubborn landowner who toys with his emotions and mocks his affection. Desperate to win her heart, Nemorino purchases an elixir of love from a traveling doctor (read: quack) named Dulcamara (Terry Hodges). The elixir is nothing but wine, but it fills Nemorino with a confidence he’s never known, and is he able to act aloof and unconcerned around Adina, sure that she will fall in love with him soon.

Adina, insulted that Nemorino has taken his attention from her, agrees to marry the sergeant of a military regimen that’s made a stop in their town. Belcore (Christopher Feigum) is a conceited, philandering fool, but Adina agrees to the wedding only to get a reaction out of Nemorino. It works.

Nemorino, desperate for money and more elixir, joins Belcore’s army for a stipend, which he quickly spends on a bottle of elixir the size of his torso. Meanwhile, the ladies of the village get word that Nemorino’s rich uncle has died and left him a millionaire, and they flock after him, leaving Nemorino and Dulcamara to believe that the love potion has worked.

In the end, Adina buys back Nemorino’s contract, saving him from war, and declares her love for them. The two marry, and everything ends happily ever after – which is so unlike and opera.

But that’s why it’s a fantastic show for those who think they don’t like opera or have no interest in the art form.

This is a comedy, written in the bel canto (“beautiful singing”) style, and it is sweet, sincere and amusing. The music and the singing are absolutely beautiful, and the singers are not only wonderful singers but actors as well. The show is rife with nuanced comedy, with every expression and gesture perfectly timed for a genuine laugh. At the same time, the show is sincere and poignant. It is a wonderful, feel-good show that makes for a perfect date night.

It’s also fast-paced and, for an opera, really short. The two hours you spend in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Chapman Music Hall, fly by.

And if it sounds like a good time to you, you’re in luck. TO presents L’Elisir D’Amore this Friday, May 1 at 7:30pm and Sunday, May 3, at 2:30pm. And the company has given Tasha Does Tulsa two tickets for Friday evening’s performance. Enter to win at www.tashadoestulsa.com.


Reviews: Dollar$ to Diamond$ and Mealer/Cleaver

Ugh. I am such a loser.

I peeped Living Arts' and Liggett Studio's April exhibits weeks ago and just haven't had the time to blog about them. My real job(s) have been keeping me way too busy, and now you only have two days to get your little hineys over to Kenosha before they come down on Thursday. I'll try to keep this short and sweet, then, with few words and lots of photos.

At Living Arts is "From Dollar$ to Diamond$," presented and curated by Swami Tourism, basically a fictitious organization invented by Jason Zaloudik. The exhibit consists of 20 works crafted by Oklahoma artists from materials found at the dollar store. No artist was allowed to spend more than $20 on his or her supplies. The variety of work included in the show is striking, showing off each artist's inventiveness and creativity. All of the work is for sale via a silent auction to benefit Living Arts. You can still swing by the gallery and bid on a piece until Thursday.

Artists whose work is included in the exhibit are: Kelli Adlan, Zoe Allen, Tommy Ball, Dustin Boise, Allison Dale, JOse Diaz, Joy Frangiosa, Adella Isle, Neal Janosek, Don Janzen, Ellen Jones, Dillon Klaod, Dean Lane, Jon Lindel, Sean Nelson, Tom Pershall, Eric Saak, Zac Sidle, Joe Sizlak and Jason Zaloudik.

Dustin Boise's multi-media project. The "Invisible Man" is crafted out of packing tape, his insides made from balloons.

Arguably the most popular piece in the exhibit was Jason Zaloudik's Skittles Pope. This one had the most bids when I saw it. Pretty remarkable.

Eric Saak's sculpture was probably the second most bid upon item. It's carefully constructed and quite inventive. I enjoyed just trying to determine what objects he used to make the piece.

Obviously there are 17 other works I left out, but a lot of my photos ended up blurry and ugly. Sorry. Go see it for yourself. The gallery is open from 5-8pm on Thursday.

Next door at Liggett Studio is J.D McPherson's video project "Mealer/Cleaver." The work consists of two videos projected on large, white walls. In one, McPherson is breaking apart boulders with a sledgehammer, and in the other, he's chopping wood with an axe.

The video begins with McPherson entering the space (in the wood-chopping video he arrives via tractor), picking up his tool and very systematically setting out to work, exhibiting the kind of toil, drudgery and determination associated, not only with manual labor, but with any kind of labor.

I found myself asking, as I watched him toil, "What is his purpose?" And then, "What is my purpose when I work? Why do I do it?"

Good questions, eh?

McPherson eventually puts his tools to rest and leaves his work, but then the video begins its loop, and he starts all over again. The project is insightful and thought-provoking.

I also loved the simplicity of his artist's statement, below. I was too lazy to copy it, so you'll just have to squint your eyes.

Liggett Studio is also open Thursday from 5-8pm. Stop by and check out this exhibit. Try to do it after dark. It's easier to see that way.


Call to furniture artisans from IAO

Calling all Furniture Artisans!

Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO) announces a call for entries to design and build the new reception desk for the organization’s future home at 708 W. Sheridan.

Attached are two dimension options for the needs of the space (note: The dimensions are not attached. Call the gallery for details). Please use these dimensions as a guideline for your design, but not as specific requirements for the piece. Other needs for the piece are to have ample storage and a hidden workspace area. The L-shaped version will need some way to pass through to the West side of the gallery and the piece must stay at 4-feet from the South wall and no more than 6-feet, 6-inches out into the gallery space. The workspace area must be 30” to 32” above finish floor; other heights may vary.

The dark black line on the outer part of the dimensions signifies the need for IAO’s mission statement and a way to conceal the office door.

The winning piece will be selected based on aesthetics/creativity, function, materials used (specific materials must be submitted with entry) and the total cost of the project, including the design and build fees.

Submissions must be made on one 24" x 36" board presentation to include the design and specified materials. The name of the artist should be placed on the back (not the front) as the judges will be considering the submissions without knowledge of whose piece it is.

Submissions must be delivered to IAO’s gallery at 811 N. Broadway by 5 p.m. Friday, May 22. The winning piece will be announced June 1 and the piece must be finished and delivered to IAO’s new location by Thursday, August 1.

IAO members will be allowed to submit one entry for free; non-members may submit one entry for $20.

Special thanks to Chip Fudge for donating the funds to IAO for the competition.

Gallery hours to drop off submissions are Noon – 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; Noon to 8 p.m. Friday. The gallery is located at 811 N. Broadway.

For more information, please call IAO at (405) 232-6060.

Call to artists: Cranked

This from Live4This/Loose Leaf Co.:

We're having a group show coming up during the Tulsa Tough bike race. The show is called Cranked and will feature all bike themed art.

If you are interested in submitting work the guidelines are as follows -

+ All art must be bicycle themed / related.

+ One piece per artist not to exceed 18x24.

+ If you are submitting a print you can submit as many as you would like to sell but at least one needs to be framed for display.

+ All work MUST be in by May 22 at the very latest and ready to hang.

+ The gallery takes 30% of sales.

+ Artist pays for shipping (if applicable). If any work is unsold we will cover return shipping.

+ Send work to 1402 S Quincy Ave. Tulsa, OK 74120 along with the following info - your name, title, medium, website, and the total price of the piece (including the 30% commission). Or drop off work at 328 E 1st Street, Tulsa, OK 74120, Mon-Turs 11-3.

+ If you plan on participating in the show please send an email to aaron at looseleafco dot com with your name, website and a few samples of work.

Thanks for your interest!!