By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Paseo Arts Association has announced its 2019 Awards recipients who will be celebrated at the 13th Annual Paseo Arts Awards Dinner. The event will be held Thursday, November 14 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel, 1 Park Avenue, in downtown Oklahoma City.
A cocktail reception with silent auction and raffle will take place from 6 – 7 p.m. followed by the dinner and program.
This year’s award recipients are Denise Duong, Artist of the Year Award; Benjamin Harjo Jr., Lifetime Achievement Award; Ken Fergeson, Volunteer Service Award; John Wolfe, Michi Susan Award; and Lucas Simmons, Emerging Artist Award.
The 2019 Paseo Artist of the Year is Denise Duong, a Vietnamese-American artist and muralist from Oklahoma City. Inspired by travel, adventure and the emotions of life, her work consists of a mixed media of paper, acrylic, water color, and ink. Her murals can be found on the West Village parking garage overlooking Film Row and outside Lyric Theatre in the Plaza District. Duong created the featured artwork for the 2019 Paseo Arts Festival and owns Little D Gallery in the Paseo Arts District.
Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Benjamin Harjo Jr. is one of the nation’s preeminent American Indian artists, often referred to as the “Picasso of Native American art.” A member of Seminole and Absentee Shawnee tribes, Harjo studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts and Oklahoma State University, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. With a career spanning more than 40 years, his work can be viewed at the Fred E. Brown Collection at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Red Earth Center, Gilcrease Museum, Wheelright Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian.
Volunteer Service Award recipient Ken Fergeson, is a community banker and Chairman of NBC Oklahoma. He received the Oklahoma Governor’s 1994 and 2000 Arts Awards and was selected as a 2019 Oklahoma Creativity Ambassador. Fergeson has served as chairman of the American Bankers Association and the Oklahoma Bankers Association. Ken created the NBC Oklahoma Artist Series, a program that commissions Oklahoma artists to create an original piece of art, which is used to make prints, posters and postcards for bank customers as gifts. Ken has also been responsible for large-scale commissions of public art. Ken serves on several boards including the Oklahoma Humanities Council, Oklahoma Arts Institute, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and Oklahomans for the Arts.
Born in Vernon, Texas, John Wolfe will be honored with the Michi Susan Award. He attended public school in Davidson, Oklahoma, and graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a degree in Art Education. He completed his M.Ed. at the University of Central Oklahoma and taught art in the Midwest City-Del City School System for 35 years. He was an adjunct art faculty member at Rose State College, and Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. John’s work has been exhibited at venues including the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, the Oklahoma State Capitol, and The National Weather Center Biennale. John’s most recent series of acrylic paintings were architectural in nature and his current focus is a new group of figurative mixed-media sculptures.
The 2019 Emerging Artist is Oklahoma native, Lucas Simmons. Lucas graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a bachelor’s degree in art and received an M.F.A. from the University of Oklahoma. During graduate school, Lucas began creating narrative paintings that explore the relationships between man, nature and technology. With an interest in the mythologies, plus a contemporary edge, Lucas’s paintings “contemplate the role of the human species as the sole arbiters of fire…whose beings are charged with lighting the hearth without burning everything to the ground.”
Amanda Bleakley, Paseo Arts Association executive director said, “We are thrilled with this year’s five awardees, two of which are from other parts of the state, which I believe shows how the Paseo Arts Association’s reach has grown.”
Emcee for the evening will be DeadCenter’s executive director Lance McDaniel.
The Paseo Arts Association, a 501 c3 non-profit, began the Paseo Arts Awards in 2011 as a way to recognize artists and art supporters who have made a strong contribution to the arts in Oklahoma.
Proceeds from the awards dinner and silent auction will go to support the Paseo Arts Association’s events and programs, such as First Friday events, kickstarters for artists such as Paseo FEAST, the Paseo Arts Festival in May, and the Fairy Ball and Magic Lantern events.
Individual tickets for $75 and sponsorship opportunities are available online at thepaseo.org or by calling 405-525-2688.