Art Stars

7 minutes

Some of the places I’ve found myself missing most among the many COVID-19-induced closures have been art museums and galleries. Exhibit previews and research projects that allow me to learn from curators at places like The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and The Oklahoma History Center are some of my favorite Oklahoma Today job perks. Fortunately, even in the midst of their closures, our state’s museums are dishing up virtual programming that’s well worth a gander. Below are just a few Oklahoma museums and galleries to check out. If you’re financially able, please consider donating to your favorite arts and museum organizations.

Inside ahha's "The Experience" in Tulsa. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Inside ahha's "The Experience" in Tulsa. Photo by Lori Duckworth

You’ll find some particularly fun and children-friendly project ideas in ahha’s Social Distance Studio. Stained glass necklaces, bubble painting, plastic fusing, and shadow tracing are a few of the instructional videos you’ll find here. The site also includes a fairly extensive section that connects to distance learning art education sources across the web. The selection includes everything from music history lessons from Carnegie Hall to hip-hop dance sessions.

108 Contemporary, a crafts-focused gallery in the heart of the Tulsa Arts District, provides a variety of online content to sate visitors’ cultural cravings. Inspired by the gallery’s own exhibits, a Craft Kit series on its website provides instruction on how to create works of art ranging from keychains and collages to vases and origami. #108CraftingPositivity videos feature interviews with Oklahoma artists discussing what they’re doing to stay busy. Find links and more at 108contemporary.org, on Instagram, and Facebook.

The Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa may be closed for now, but its virtual offerings are a vast and entertaining consolation. Bored? Write a letter to the famous Philbrook Garden cats Cleome and Perilla. They’ll even write you back. Daily livestreams on YouTube include curator talks, walks through the museum’s formal gardens, performances from local musicians, art and craft instruction, and more. Being a food-motivated person, the Sunday Supper videos are my favorite. Here, you can watch as local chefs like Justin Thompson show you how to make meals such as mustard-crusted pork tenderloin with Brussels sprouts and apple salad. Or if a latke eggs benedict strikes your fancy, Rabbi Dain Kaiman of B’nai Emunah will lead the way in that kitchen creation. Along with virtual tours of art, architecture, and gardens, viewers will have plenty to keep them entertained until Philbrook’s projected reopening in June.

Philbrook's cats are waiting for your letters. Photo courtesy Philbrook Museum of Art

Philbrook's cats are waiting for your letters. Photo courtesy Philbrook Museum of Art

If you miss the magic of Factory Obscura’s experiential exhibits, consider downloading some of their Zoom backgrounds. Your telecommuting colleagues will be awed, or at least puzzled, by the psychedelic scenes of the Mix-Tape installation behind you. You can also download coloring pages with pictures of huge pizza slices and anthropomorphic roller skates and clouds. If you need a little screen time, Factory Obscura’s Facebook Live regularly features dancers and mini concerts from local musicians.

Oklahoma Contemporary’s incredible new downtown Oklahoma City location is not slated to open until July, but its New Light digital program gives you a preview of what’s to come with art tutorials and essays and articles about its new galleries, film, artists, arts advocacy, and other topics. You also can download high-quality photos of the new building to use for Zoom meetings or computer desktops. Be sure to check out Oklahoma Contemporary’s social media feeds, as well, for updates, studio visits with artists, and all sorts of other fun stuff from the contemporary art world.

Megan Rossman enters the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Megan Rossman enters the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Like everyone else, Oklahoma City Museum of Art is adapting its content for the pandemic era. The museum’s Noble Theater long has been a go-to local stop for independent film, and you can now purchase passes to virtual film screenings that range from $3.99 to $12. From May 22-28, viewers can watch the drama Fourteen and documentaries Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy, The Painter and the Thief, and Life Itself, which looks at the life of film critic Roger Ebert. The museum’s blog offers insight into works from the art collections, instructions on how to make creative greeting cards, paint like abstract artist Gene Davis, or make your own family portraits. Visit okcmoa.com to learn more.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to jive or foxtrot like the stars of yesterday, you may want to check out the Goddard Center’s Youtube channel. Since April 16, this Ardmore arts institution has been posting tutorials that range from dance instruction to drawing and painting. When the day comes to finally re-emerge at social gatherings of ten or more, you can wow bystanders as you Charleston your way back into good times.

Written By
Megan Rossman

Megan Rossman is Oklahoma Today's photography editor.

Megan Rossman
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