What's the deal with public art???

Beatriz Mayorca sits on her project “Nurture” which was finished in 2018 and located in Hightower Park, OKC.

Beatriz Mayorca sits on her project “Nurture” which was finished in 2018 and located in Hightower Park, OKC.

Why Public Art?

Public art is exactly what it’s name says: art in a public space. And it can be created in many shapes, forms, sizes, and lengths of time (temporary or permanent). Public art is an especially important form of artistic expression because, as it takes place in public spaces, it is free and accessible to the public. And in addition to making spaces more aesthetically exciting, public art can convey meaning in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it is sight-specific and offers interpretation on the history and culture of it’s location. It may also offer commentary on a social or environmental issue. For more information about the meaning and uses of public art, follow this link from Americans for the Arts (our national arts advocacy organization). Today, viewers often share their public art experiences as photos on social media.

The “Wilderness on Western” by Nick Bayer, James Clark, and Sam Douglas pictures the diverse animals of Oklahoma and highlights some or our endangered species. This mural, on NW 71st Street and N. Western Avenue, includes sculptural elements that give it a 3D vibe.

The “Wilderness on Western” by Nick Bayer, James Clark, and Sam Douglas pictures the diverse animals of Oklahoma and highlights some or our endangered species. This mural, on NW 71st Street and N. Western Avenue, includes sculptural elements that give it a 3D vibe.

Current Projects in Oklahoma

In the state of Oklahoma, we are lucky to have many historic, recently created, and current public art projects. Here are some exciting projects to plan to visit:

Public art is often located in parks. Tulsa's Gathering Place wants Oklahoma artists to create pieces they can display in the park. Check this link for more information about art at the Gathering Place.

  • Upcoming: Education is one good way to build support and recognition for public art projects, and the Ardmore Beautification Council recently held a presentation about public art. In Oklahoma City, the City Council just approved 4 new public art projects including one titled “Glacial Erratics” that will be created by the West River Trail. Additionally, Tulsa just won $1 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies to create “The Greenwood Art Project,” a public art project to commemorate Black Wall Street which was the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Also, sign up for the Oklahoma Public Art Network’s newsletter to stay updated on projects in Oklahoma.

This mural by Chris “Sker” Rogers and Donald “Scribe” Ross commemorates Black Wall St. in Tulsa. It was  completed in June, 2018  near the Greenwood Cultural Center. Photo from  TravelOK.com .

This mural by Chris “Sker” Rogers and Donald “Scribe” Ross commemorates Black Wall St. in Tulsa. It was completed in June, 2018 near the Greenwood Cultural Center. Photo from TravelOK.com.

Nominate Oklahoma Art!

Our national advocacy partner Americans for the Arts has a group called the Public Art Network (PAN). Every year PAN does a “Year in Review” to give national recognition to public art projects. In the past, only 3 pieces from Oklahoma have won, and you can find them in the PAN Year in Review Database. The 2019 PAN Year in Review application is open now, and will close on February 27. Pieces of public art that were created in 2018 are eligible. Nominate a piece from OK! Follow the link below to find instructions for the application process:

Recent OKC Mural Photos from Andy Moore:

“Fortune Favors the Brave” by Julie Robertson; “Steven Adams” by Graham Hoete; “Life in the Light” by Denis Duong; “Greetings” by unknown artist; “The Nature of Things” by Kristopher Kanaly, Dustin Gilpin and Jerrod Smith; and “Oklahoma Aiukli” by Erin Cooper, Amanda Bradway and Lauren Miller. Check this blog post for more great mural photos in OKC.

Kristen Swartley