Contemporary Connections

Anita Martinez Mariachi Festival (Photo credit Manuel Lozano)

Oklahoma Contemporary celebrates creativity in all forms, through its own interdisciplinary programming as well as through its support of arts programs throughout the community. Twelve organizations use our fairgrounds facility as a home base for their arts programming, and we partnered with more than 30 other organizations and institutions in the last year alone.  

“Contemporary Connections,” our programming plan for 2018, is designed to focus on, strengthen and expand our reach into different communities as well as break down boundaries between disciplines and expanding the definition of art.

At the Fairgrounds

Rose State: Images of Community | May 3-13

Oklahoma Contemporary is working with students in Rose State Community College’s art history program to curate an exhibition of photos sourced from their communities, to be viewed in the galleries in May. We’ll introduce the students to the process of curating an exhibition and perhaps encourage them to consider a career in the arts and connect with communities outside of Oklahoma City, which may be underserved by the arts.


Chiyoko Myose: Sojourning | June 1 - Aug. 12

From June to August, Oklahoma Contemporary will host a solo exhibition of fiber installations by Chiyoko Myose, a Japanese artist who has been living in Wichita, Kan., for the past 20 years. With her works, Chiyoko expresses her experiences of living in a foreign country, considering herself as a sojourner, a person who stays in one place temporarily, like a traveler. The works explore cultural, social, philosophical and spiritual themes. Four installation pieces will have a common theme of “relationship,” from relationships between individuals to world peace.  The exhibition will also include a piece that invites members of the community to contribute to the artwork by tying knots with threads. Each new knot is a reminder that we are all connected and we should treasure that connection. The exhibition will feature a new work, created especially for this show at Oklahoma Contemporary.

Additionally, Daniel Racer, a composer and professor at Friends University, has composed a chamber music piece in response to Chiyoko’s installations, and his music will be performed in the galleries during the exhibition.


Inclusion in Art: Artist Mentoring Artist | Oct. 4-27

Inclusion in Art is an organization dedicated to promoting racial and cultural diversity in Oklahoma’s visual arts community. The Artist Mentoring Artist program is an opportunity for a student/emerging artist of color to expand their professionalism and body of work by working with the Inclusion in Art committee. After artists are selected through an open call, the art committee works with them to develop a theme for the exhibition, strategies for promotion and plans to create/expand an exhibition ready body of work. The committee -- Amena Butler, Suzanne Thomas, Randall Barnes and Bryon Perdue – wants to provide selected artists with the tools and resources to be successful and take part in diversifying the art community.


Latino Cultural Center Festival | Oct. 18-28

In October, we will expand the programming for the Latino Cultural Center into a two-week-long festival celebrating all aspects of creativity in Latino culture in Oklahoma: dance, music, visual arts and more.


Additional Programming at the Fairgrounds

Women in Performance

Oklahoma Contemporary is launching a new series for 2018, Women in Performance. Beginning in March, the arts center will present three major performances created and performed by women. With three unique shows, the series highlights the incredible creative contributions made by women in the performing arts. The following three projects are planned: The Other Mozart by Silva Milo, March 2-3; Honey, a world premiere by Fresh Paint Performance Lab, June 14-16 and June 21-23; and One Woman Sex and the City by Kerry Ipema and TJ Dawe, Oct. 18-20.


Ignition Arts Residency

Ignition Arts is a performance company dedicated to investigating, incubating and igniting new work. Started at Emerson College in 2001, the company has toured productions around the world. Led by two theater professors at Oklahoma City University, the company launched its work in Oklahoma in 2017 with Silhouettes of Service at Oklahoma Contemporary. The company is in residence at the arts center for 2018. In March, they will host a workshop of a new experimental musical, Alien8. The weeklong workshop will include educational programming and a public concert reading. Ignition Arts will also hold workshops at Oklahoma Contemporary in the fall.


At NW 11th and Broadway

The Experimental Geography Studio at Oklahoma Contemporary Showroom | May 11-19

In May, in collaboration with University of Oklahoma professor Nicholas Bauch and his Digital Geo-Humanities class, the Showroom will be a site for a transdisciplinary exhibition that combines new media art with scholarship in geography.

The Experimental Geography Studio at OU, run by Professor Bauch, focuses on generating and expressing novel geographic concepts through visual media, including photography, video and interactive web design.  Oklahoma Contemporary Curator Jennifer Scanlan will visit the class, made up of both graduate students in art and undergraduates in geography, to present art possibilities and to discuss and later give feedback on the students’ projects. At the end of the semester in May, student work will be exhibited at the Showroom, together with some of Professor Bauch’s own work.


Guerrilla Art Park | Summer 2018

Oklahoma Contemporary is inviting artists to participate in our third installment of Guerrilla Art Park — an outdoor sculpture exhibition on the grounds of our Showroom and home to our future arts campus.

Entries are due March 16. Installation begins at the end of May, and the exhibition will remain on view until Labor Day. 


Whiteout at Campbell Art Park | October 2018 - March 2019

From October 2018 to March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary will partner with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of hundreds of transparent white spheres, each embedded with a discrete, white LED light and suspended from a square grid of steel poles and cabling. The orbs are not fixed and can move with the wind currents from their positions of one foot above the ground plane. The white LEDs are animated in large-scale patterns, superimposing a virtual movement on top of the kinetic movement of the spheres. The sequence of light is an incandescent treatment of urban public space across the dark seasons of the late fall and winter.


Previous Programming

COMIX OK | April 9-22

Following the success of Not For Sale: Graffiti Culture in Oklahoma, this exhibition will explore another art form not often seen in art galleries: comics. The exhibition will include well-established Oklahoma comic artists as well as emerging artists selected through an open call. It will display the wide range of work encompassed by comics, from long-form graphic novels to superhero comic books to handmade zines. The final weekend will be a two-day comic convention, with artist and publisher booths, workshops, classes for kids and adults, panel discussions and other events for families, artists and fans of the genre.


Wake by Grace Grothaus and Rena Dextrihe | Jan. 12 - March 31

For Oklahoma Contemporary’s third edition of Showroom | Showcase, Grace Grothaus and Rena Detrixhe have collaborated on Wake, a multisensory installation. A shallow body of water encompasses the Showroom’s second-floor shipping container gallery. As viewers enter the space, the surface of the water comes alive.

The water is animated by wave disturbances created via recorded audio played through submerged speakers. The water’s movement is reflected onto the interior walls, rendering the soundscape in shadow and light throughout the space. Wake is an immersive experience about water and its presence in our lives, in Oklahoma and on the planet.


OK Collects: The Art of Collecting Art | March 15-24

In March, Oklahoma Contemporary will present OK Collects, highlighting works by contemporary art collectors in Oklahoma. As the exhibition explores how each collection reflects the personal stories and interests of the collectors, visitors will have the exclusive opportunity to see artwork usually not available to the public. Featured works will include a wide range of media, from paintings and sculpture to ceramics, fiber and glass.


Oklahoma Latino Cultural Center Launch | Feb. 1-10

Oklahoma Contemporary is proud to partner with the newly formed Oklahoma Latino Cultural Center. The launch event will be the second annual Anita Martinez Mariachi Festival, the first weekend in February. Along with workshops and events, Oklahoma Contemporary will host a 10-day exhibition of art by students and teachers in the Latino community and a mariachi-themed Make + Take family art project.