By Darla Shelden
City Arts Center in Oklahoma City will present Art Now 2013, an annual exhibition celebrating the work of Oklahoma’s top contemporary artists. City Arts Center’s premier fundraising event will be held on Friday, Jan. 25 from 7 to 11 p.m. at State Fair Park, 3000 General Pershing Boulevard.
In its 22nd year, proceeds from the fundraiser allow year-round visual arts exhibitions in the Eleanor Kirkpatrick Gallery to remain free of charge to the public. Participating artists will donate 50 percent of their art sales to benefit City Arts Center.
Allowing guests to interact with Oklahoma’s most respected artists and purchase their newest works, Art Now 2013 will feature live music by Oklahoma recording artists, food from local restaurants, an open bar and artist Romy Owens will again present her popular photobooth. The exhibition continues from Jan. 21 through Feb. 8.
“Art Now is special because of the atmosphere and the people,” said Director Margaret Creighton. “Rarely in Oklahoma can an opportunity like this be found. The City Arts Center is making it happen.”
Art Now 2013 featured artists includeSarah Atlee, Marc Barker, Jennifer Barron, Jeff Beekman, Pete Froslie, Bryan Boone, Glenn Herbert Davis, Michael Elizondo, Sarah Hearn, Heather Clark Hilliard, E. K. Jeong, Michelle Junkin, Mark Lewis, Harolyn Long, Donald Longcrier, Cedar Marie, Lori Oden, Romy Owens, Angie Piehl, Morgan Robinson, Audrey Schmitz, Byron Shen, Crystal Walters, Tom Wester, and Eric Wright.
“Having a venue that recognizes new work by emerging and established Oklahoma artists is encouraging and exciting,” said Hilliard. “I am pleased that two of my works are included in an exhibit that demonstrates a diverse range of mediums and ideas. This offers an enticing visual experience for the public.”
This year’s guest curator is Louise Siddons, Assistant Professor and Curator of Collections at Oklahoma State University. Siddons is an art historian specializing in American art and the visual culture of modernity. After receiving her Ph.D. in Art History from Stanford University, she joined the OSU faculty in 2009. Siddons is currently involved in the planning process for OSU’s new museum of art.
“I was honored to be invited to curate Art Now,” said Siddons. “City Arts Center has really been raising the bar for exhibitions of contemporary art.”
“As a curator, I often see collectors going out of state to buy art, even though there’s so much rich work being made on their doorsteps,” said Siddons. “My vision for Art Now came from that idea of paying attention to where we are—literally and metaphorically.”
Siddons said, “I hope that the show helps people recognize the talent and remarkable accessibility of local artists across the state.”
Event sponsors include The Chickasaw Nation, ghost, Rand and Jeanette Elliott, Better Days Foundation, Mary Ellen and Bill Gumerson, Heritage Press, Bill and Ann Johnstone, Christian K. Keesee, David Leader and Scott Davis, Joan and Mac Maguire, Smith & Pickel Construction, Spectrum Paint Company, Lori and Ty Tyler, United Mechanical, and VIKASA Capital.
“My work has always been concerned with the spiritual side of being,” said artist Byron Shen. “I feel fortunate to have been selected by Louise Siddons, who chose work of mine that was a return to my more purely intuitive approach towards painting. The works are less about ‘getting it’ – they are more about connecting with the viewer on an emotional level.
Tickets for the VIP First Look Reception, from 6 – 7 p.m. are $100. Main event tickets are $75. This is a 21 and over event. Suggested attire includes shades of white. Siddons will present a Curator Talk on Monday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.
Artist Tom Wester said, “So many artist coming together with new never seen before work – It’s exciting and I’m glad I’m part of it.”