By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – EMBARK and the Oklahoma City Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs are partnering to bring a six-level art installation to the new Oklahoma City Omni Convention Center parking garage this fall. The installation was designed glass artist Martin Donlin.
The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority Board of Trustees, EMBARK’s governing board, approved the final contract for the 1% for Art project at their May 1 meeting.
Donlin’s work will cover three walls of the parking garage currently under construction in the new Park Union District at 15 SW 4th street in downtown Oklahoma City.
The garage is located near the Omni Convention Center Hotel, MAPS3 Convention Center, Scissortail Park, and Chesapeake Arena.
Commissioned in 2020, this new project marks another milestone in EMBARK’s partnership with the OKC Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. The 1% for Arts Ordinance began in 2009 with the purpose of funding public art projects that showcase the community and beautify the city.
“What Is The City But The People” is EMBARK’s third collaboration with the 1% for Art program.
“From our first collaboration, we quickly saw how public art humanizes our buildings,” said Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK director. “Through art, we can help support the cultural identity of our community while connecting our visitors with the tenacious spirit of Oklahoma City. This facility will serve as a gateway into downtown Oklahoma City, and Martin’s art helps tell our beautiful story.”
“What Is The City But The People,” hails from William Shakespeare’s play Coriolanus and speaks to the heart of EMBARK’s mission to move Oklahoma City forward, together,” Ferbrache said. “Donlin’s concept utilizes multiple layers of pattern and imagery exhibited through the placement of polycarbonate tiles and fastened to steel cables spanning from the second to the sixth floor of the parking garage.
“The result of Donlin’s design weaves together an eclectic mix of cultural and natural elements, with inspiration drawn from both the ancient and modern worlds. Ancient Greek sculpture, the Oklahoma sky,” Ferbrache added. “Oklahoma City architecture and traditional Native American textile patterns all contribute to the final design, an ode to Oklahoma City and the modern public square.
“I was really excited to be selected for such a monumental and ground-breaking art commission,” said Donlin. “The techniques to create the artwork have never been used before. I have visited Oklahoma City on several occasions, and I am so enthusiastic to contribute to such a wonderful collection of public art.”
Donlin currently resides in Brighton, England, and has commissioned work across various locations including health care, transportation and education in America, the UK and Europe. Additional works and more information about Donlin can be found at martindonlin.com.
Installation of ‘What Is The City But The People’ is expected to begin in mid-September, and is scheduled for completion in November.
To learn more about the project, visit parkingokc.com.