Oklahoma Contemporary already taking full advantage of its new art space


Oklahoma City’s art scene has blossomed over the last decade, so much so that it has received national attention in various print and online publications. Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center is one place visitors and residents alike to can get an in-person sense of how Oklahoma City continues to shine brightly in the art world.

Since its opening, Oklahoma Contemporary has helped people develop their creative, artistic side through various exhibitions, performances art education and programs. And now in its new and unique downtown home on the north end of Automobile Alley, designed by Architect Rand Elliott and featuring 54,000 square feet of gallery, classroom and performance space as well as a café and community lounge, Oklahoma Contemporary continues its role as a place for the community to gather, create and experience art.

Current exhibitions on display at Oklahoma Contemporary include artwork from 27 Oklahoma artists who represent Oklahoma’s increasingly diverse population, as well as art from two Black artists who have deep roots in the state.

The ArtNow 2023 exhibition opened to the public on July 30 and will continue to be on view in the Eleanor Kirkpatrick Main Gallery through Sept. 13. On display during this almost two-month run will be various pieces of art and artwork, including everything from paining to video and ceramics to jewelry design. The more than two dozen artists being featured during ArtNow 2023 will be led by 2023 Focus Award honoree Bert Seabourn.

Although the We Believed in the Sun art exhibition has been a full swing since May 6, there is still plenty of time to view this exhibition as it is set to end on Sept. 20. Featuring the works by Oklahoma born Ron Tarver and emerging Oklahoma City artist Ebony Iman Dallas, the title for this exhibition comes from a quote by Civil Rights icon Clara Luper who once said, “I came from a family of believers. We believed in the sun when it didn’t shine. We believed in the rain when it wasn’t raining. My parents taught me to believe in a God I couldn’t see.” The exhibition honors the legacies of Oklahoma City’s Civil Rights Movement and the evolving history of the Black experience.

Tarver is a nationally acclaimed photographer who shares a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for a series documenting school violence in the Philadelphia public school system. He spent 32 years as a photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and many of his photographs have been exhibited in museums across the nation and around the world. Dallas is a fifth-generation Oklahoman and second-generation Somali-American whose multimedia works have been exhibited in both public and private galleries and collections. She is currently a participating artist for the Greenwood Art Project, which commemorates the centennial anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

To learn more about these and other upcoming art exhibitions, as well as how to enroll in the numerous camps, art classes and workshops available to community members, please visit oklahomacontemporary.org.