State of the Art: Oklahoma
Set in the state of the same name, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Oklahoma! depicts the vast tallgrass Prairie Plains, golden wheat fields and overarching natural beauty.
Equally as vibrant is Oklahoma’s diverse arts and culture community. With more than 25 Native languages spoken, the Sooner State carries on the history of Native American tribes and the Old West while celebrating its future with a plethora of history and art museums, galleries and cultural festivals—many of which can be found in the Tulsa Arts District.
Tulsa’s riverfront park, Gathering Place— which opened last summer—is a hotspot for awe-inspiring art installations with its
Art in the Park series. The park’s most recent exhibitions include Cabinet of Wonder created by internationally renowned artist Mark Dion;
Canoe Art, featuring canoes wrapped by artwork from a local artist, which guests can enjoy on Peggy’s Pond; and murals by Tulsabased artists May Yang and Sarah Sullivan.
Since 2007, Tulsa Arts District has hosted a monthly First Friday Art Crawl. During the community building event, all of the area’s galleries, studios and museums open their doors to the public for extended hours, from 6 to 9 p.m. Many museums also offer free or reduced admission during the event.
Also offering a monthly First Friday Gallery Walk is historic Paseo Arts District, which was founded in 1929 and is home to more than 20 galleries and more than 80 artist studios. Paseo’s biggest event, the Paseo Arts Festival, takes place annually over Memorial Day weekend, drawing in thousands of art lovers for featured artwork in a variety of fields, shopping, musical performances and a bounty of local culinary treats.
In June, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum hosts its annual Prix de West in Oklahoma City, bringing in more than 300 works from emerging and established Western artists. It is one of the most anticipated gatherings of Western artists for the entire year, as well as a great place to purchase and view the newest works from the top artists.
From Western and Native American art to contemporary works, Oklahoma has something for everyone.
Throughout this special section, readers will gain insight into some of the leading artists, galleries, arts organizations and festivals across the state including Gilcrease Museum, Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve, Cherokee Art Market, Burneta Venosdel, Paul Walsh and Carolyn Mock.
A sculpture of Buffalo Bill on the grounds of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Courtesy Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau.