Webster's New World Dictionary defines the word momentum as "the impetus of a moving object," or a "strength or force that keeps growing."
This force is what the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) strives to capture and display with its annual Momentum art exhibits. Taking place in OKC and Tulsa, OVAC's Momentum 2008 is on a mission to highlight Oklahoma artists ages 30 and under.
It's no secret that we live in a society that is obsessed with youth. Momentum is exciting because of the opportunity to see works created by the young, the fresh and the new.
You know, the forces that keep art from standing still.
So it's no surprise that the exhibit's official title is "Momentum Tulsa: Art Doesn't Stand Still." Momentum Tulsa opens Saturday, June 21, at 8pm. All the action takes place at Living Arts and Liggett Studio, located at 308 & 314 S. Kenosha Ave., respectively.
The force is strong with "Momentum Tulsa" this year, and because of this, more exhibition space was needed. "Momentum Tulsa" will also utilize space at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, 621 E. 4th Ave., for the show.
In addition with a stage for outdoor band performances (more info on that later) and an after-party at Tiny Lounge, this year's Momentum Tulsa should amount to a pretty bitchin' block party in the East Village.
In the Spotlight
Momentum is a monumental event, and you will see probably the largest array of art offered by emergent artists in the state.
I am excited to attend my first "Momentum Tulsa" because I am looking to meet local artists. (If you see me there, please don't hesitate to holler at me. I would like to meet you.)
OVAC expects a crowd of 800. I have attended "Momentum OKC" and was overwhelmed then by the size of the show and the masses that turned out to support the event
Momentum Tulsa will feature artists working in a variety of media, including painting, photography, sculpture, film, performance, and large-scale installations with an emphasis on the interactive.
This final category is for those of you who can't go to a gallery or museum without fighting the strong urge to touch something.
It will be okay to obey that voice in your head for once.
Guest curators select the art and awards that will be given away. This year's curators are Sunni Mercer and Jennifer Baron.
Sunni Mercer is an artist and National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellow. Jennifer Barron is also an artist, and this year's Momentum Spotlight Emerging Curator.
When I first read the term "Emerging Curator," I was a bit dumbfounded. I had never heard of such a thing.
OVAC is trying something new this year. Momentum Spotlight is a special addition to this year's events, and it seems to have emerged from the same primordial base as the organization's Art 365.
Jennifer Barron was selected from a pool of applicants to participate as an emerging curator through the Momentum Spotlight program. This is a great idea and allows students who feel the urge to work in the curatorial field a shot at their dreams.
In addition to emerging curator, Momentum Spotlight has given three selected artists $1,500 and three months of interaction with the curators of the show.
In effect, this is like a mini Art 365, and more accessible to Oklahoma artists should OVAC continue to offer Momentum Spotlight. I spoke with Kelsey Karper, Marketing and Publications Manager for OVAC, about the details of Momentum Spotlight.
OVAC received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) that made Momentum Spotlight possible this year. The artists selected were Liz Rodda of Norman, Tunde Darvay of Norman and Jordan Vinyard of Oklahoma City. All three have created new works to be shown at "Momentum Tulsa" for the first time.
Liz Rodda has created a video installation, while Tunde Darvay created a series of paintings for the show. Jordan Vinyard has also created an installation, but his is based on drawings made on transparent vellum.
Now in addition to Momentum Spotlight, there will be prizes and awards to be obtained opening night. More than $1,000 in awards will be given to artists based on selections made by the curators.
The Viewer's Choice award for both Visual Artist and Performing Artist will be selected by you, the "Momentum Tulsa" attendees.
Music is an integral part of the Momentum experience. In addition to highlighting the best art offered by young Oklahomans, "Momentum Tulsa" features awesome sounds to accompany the visuals. I really enjoy this multi-sensory stimulation, and I know the bands will not disappoint.
Local bands GHOSTS, Recorder and Guardant perform on an outdoor stage. With Living Arts, Liggett Studio and the Equality Center participating, this will create quite the environment for a miniature artwalk.
Once Momentum Tulsa shuts down at midnight, the crowd will make its way toward the official Momentum after-party, held right around the corner at Tiny Lounge, 818 E. 3rd St.
I am so excited about my first "Momentum Tulsa!" If any of you attended the Pride events two weekends ago, then you know the potential that the area of 3rd and Kenosha has for a fun-filled night of alfresco art, music and imbibing.
Some of my fellow writers here at Urban Tulsa Weekly have recently sung the praises of outdoor festivals in downtown Tulsa. I could not agree more! There's something about being outside with fellow citizens that creates a sense of community. Not only that, but we need more life downtown after hours. Is it a coincidence that most of these great, outdoor events revolve around the world of art?
I think not.
"Momentum Tulsa" is made possible with the generous support of Bank of Oklahoma, Urban Tulsa Weekly, Tiny Lounge, NONzine, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Opening night is Saturday, June 21. Tickets are $7 in advance, and $10 at the door. You can get tickets online at MomentumOklahoma.org, by calling (405)232-6991 or at Dwelling Spaces, 119 S. Detroit, Under the Mooch, 1423 S. Harvard, or Blue 7, 7518 N. May in OKC.
See you Saturday.
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