I'd like to tell you all about the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition and why you should join it. It's one of the best things I have ever done for my career. No joke. The Snowball Effect
I moved to Oklahoma in 2006. At the suggestion of a friend, I joined OVAC for their bargain-basement membership fee. One of the services they offer is the Virtual Gallery, online portfolios for member artists. I sent in my portfolio on cd, and a few days later, OVAC Director Julia Kirt called me to ask if I'd participate in a group show. Gosh, twist my arm.
Local gallery owner Ashley Griffith visited that group show, saw my work, and offered me a solo show at aka gallery in Oklahoma City's historic Paseo District. Ashley and I have had an ongoing professional relationship for over 2 years; she now represents my work at home and out of state.
I have learned about numerous group shows and other opportunities through the OVAC email newsletter. (The newsletter alone is worth the membership fee.) In the years since I joined OVAC my work has been shown in galleries almost constantly. The Virtual Gallery
This is an excellent tool for galleries and collectors to connect with Oklahoma artists. Here are some stats.
Thanks to my portfolio being in the Virtual Gallery, I've been invited to give demonstrations for several artist groups, commissioned for an ambitious book illustration project by a local independent publisher, and offered group and solo shows inside and outside of Oklahoma. It also refers people to this website (which I know because I use the StatPress plugin for WordPress.)
The Art 365 Opportunity
In 2007, OVAC put out an open call. An independent curator would choose six Oklahoma artists to get one year and $10,000 each to produce a body of work. I got in.
'y': for 'youthful exuberance...' and 'yeeee ha!' by Flickr user *toni.r. Click image to visit on Flickr.
I created Normal, OK for the Art 365 exhibit, which travelled to several venues during 2008. I also self-published a book to accompany the show. This body of work will give me a great foundation to apply for future grants and residencies. It also led directly to my next solo show, Back To Normal, this summer at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
The call is now open for the next Art 365 exhibit. OVAC has changed the show to include five artists who will each receive $12,000. You can't not enter!
Momentum and More
OVAC puts on a number of group shows each year, including Momentum OKC and Momentum Tulsa. These shows are for Oklahoma artists (and curators) under age 30, and is one of our state's premier showcases for young talent. Click here to read more about OVAC's annual events.
Other Resources, Including M-O-N-E-Y
OVAC offers grants to Oklahoma artists on an ongoing basis. You can apply for grant money to buy a camera, take a class, create a special project, and so much more. Learn how to apply here. I was recently awarded a Creative Projects grant to help produce my upcoming solo show.
Of course OVAC has a blog. It's an informative place where I can ask questions of my professional community, and learn about art events and opportunities. I've been interviewed for this blog. I have asked questions and seen them answered in the blog. The OVAC blog's blogroll sends traffic to my website. You can also find OVAC on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. They are all over this web thing.
If this wasn't enough information, you can always learn more by taking a workshop! I've been to several of these and I come away feeling energized and motivated.
If you're an artist in Oklahoma, OVAC is here to help you. Please join and take advantage of the services they offer. You won't regret it!
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