Artists Selected for BOK Events Center

The Arts Commission of the City of Tulsa announced the artists to fulfill the One Percent for Public Art Program of the City of Tulsa for the new BOK Events Center. Linda Frazier, Chair of the Arts Commission, presented the artists at a meeting of the Arts Commission today.

The art selection process has encompassed more than a year, from announcing the call for artists, to a review of more than 280 applications, to the final selection of six artists approved by the Arts Commission and presented as a recommendation to Mayor Kathy Taylor. The Mayor welcomed the recommendation and accepted it without reservation. “The members of the Arts Commission have done a commendable job bringing forth the very best artists whose work enhances the exciting BOK Events Center designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli,” said Mayor Kathy Taylor. “I am especially pleased that a majority of the artists have ties to Tulsa.”

Artists for the new BOK Events Center are: Former Tulsan, Joe Andoe; Washington, D.C. artist, Kendall Buster; Locust Grove, Oklahoma artists Bill and Demos Glass; New
York artist, Jenny Holzer; and Tulsa artist, Mark Lewis. Among the artists selected, four
are originally from Oklahoma, three are Native American, and two are women. Linda Frazier noted in presenting the artists that, “we have made every effort to select artists of the highest caliber, whose sense of time and place allows them to really embrace who we are as Tulsans. Like the building itself, the art captures our past and looks forward to a bright future. Each artist was interviewed at Cesar Pelli’s offices in New Haven, Connecticut, by a committee of Arts Commissioners and members of Pelli Clarke Pelli’s team.

The artists selected for the new BOK Events Center have strong backgrounds in public art. They are highly recognized and have won numerous awards and commissions that make a real statement about the importance of quality art in Tulsa. Bill and Demos Glass are members of the Cherokee Artist Association. Joe Andoe’s work can be found in museums across the county including Gilcrease and Philbrook here in Tulsa. Jenny Holzer is world-renowned for the implementation of words electronically. Kendall Buster brings an international flavor by utilizing materials in her sculpture that are only manufactured in South Africa. And Mark Lewis is a university professor that lectures widely and produces artwork that reflects the Oklahoma landscape/cityscape.

The artworks for the new BOK Events Center will be incorporated into the construction of the building. Bart Boatright of Tulsa Vision Builders noted that making the artwork part of the construction is a challenge, “but,” he added, “it will also make this one of the strongest art programs in any public building in the region.” This is the largest amount of money for any one project in the history of the Arts Commission. It is also the first time that there have been sufficient resources to create an actual art program, where there is a Public Art Master Plan that creates a much stronger aesthetic experience than simply placing one piece of art in a new building, and that allows the opportunity to add artworks in the future, both at the BOK Events Center and at the Convention Center.

Pelli Clarke Pelli was engaged to develop an art program for the new BOK Events Center and renovated Convention Center. This is the halfway point for the Events Center. Work
on the art program for the Convention Center will begin in January. For the new BOK Events Center, site selections for possible artworks were presented to each of the artists chosen for this project. “Each artist was given the opportunity to select potential spaces with which they would like to work,” said Mitchell Hirsch of Pelli Clarke Pelli. “We asked the artists to narrow their site selection to two potential spaces. When we received that information, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the artists had embraced the entire Events Center, allowing us to have wonderful art located throughout the building.”

The total budget for artwork for the new BOK Events Center is approximately $1.35 Million.

Installation of artwork will be completed in time for the BOK Events Center grand opening in the fall of 2008.

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