By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Local Oklahoma artists Dylan Bradway and Kristopher Kanaly will be starting on a new public art project in the Plaza District called “Plaza Walls.” The artists will begin working in conjunction with the Plaza District Festival, September 26.
Accomplished graphic designers and muralists, Bradway and Kanaly have exhibited
their work both locally and nationally.
“Myself, along with a slew of other local artists, have been craving for a permission-based area where local and traveling artists can spontaneously paint large murals,” said Kanaly. “Much like other cities, we are finally getting our own outdoor space to completely transform and provide a truly unique attraction for the public.”
In this “first-of-its-kind” effort in Oklahoma City, the two artists will curate the walls of the property located just west of the Lyric Theatre, which is near NW 16th and Gatewood Avenue.
Other artists are invited to participate in a rotating mural, which will be created on seven walls of the building – along the east, west, and north sides. The murals will routinely be replaced with new designs.
Criteria for artistic content will be considered based on aesthetics, positivity, and whether the imagery is “thought-provoking and inspirational.”
According to the pair of artists, the outdoor art exhibition will provide “an ongoing and changing attraction, elevating the artistic profile of the neighborhood and creating interactive opportunities to view artists in action.”
Bradway and Kanaly hope both visiting and OKC-based artists use the space to paint and showcase their creativity.
“Bringing this artistic energy to an area can completely transform it and inspire those who experience it,” said Bradway. “This opportunity can do both while providing an added cultural element to an important creative community in our city.”
Constructed in 1928, the building to be painted was originally constructed as a neighborhood shopping center. It is now home to several local retailers, restaurants and services.
Property owner Steve Mason currently is renovating the former Plaza Discount Store, at 1745 NW 16thSt., to include five new storefronts, as well as office space in the back.
“We are excited by the remodel of the former 10,000-square-foot C.R. Anthony, across from Empire Slice House, into five retail bays and five offices,” Mason said. “The remodel will add to the Plaza District’s vibrancy.”
This mural project will also transform the underused alley into an outdoor rotation of work from variety of artists. It will include the addition of an office space in the back as well as new entrances to the building.
In addition, a lighting study of the area is being done to ensure the safety of new tenants, as well as artists and visitors to the Plaza Alley.
“The Plaza Walls project will further activate and energize the district and be the most interesting alley in our urban core,” Mason added.
Working closely with Robbie Kienzle of the Oklahoma City Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, as well as the Arts Commission, the artists hope to set a precedent for this type of public art project.
“This will be a first and a very important project for the Oklahoma City Arts Commission and the Plaza District,” Kienzle said. “This project will be an experiment for Oklahoma City and will require high involvement from both the Arts Commission and the applicants to ensure its success.”
According to Kienzle, the Arts Commission will remain heavily involved for a year to ensure a successful outcome to the project.