Local artist Duane Fernandez is sending everyone he knows--and a lot of people he doesn't--on a wild goose chase.
His summer project, "SEEK," involves hiding 23 hand-painted wooden jewelry boxes, encasing a stainless steel handmade cuff by local jewelry designer Spexton, across the U.S. and in four other countries for fans and followers on Twitter to find.
It's a social experiment, Fernandez said, and also a celebration of art.
"The project unites the most random people," Fernandez said. "But when it's all said and done, it's all about art. There's no other purpose besides the experience and art."
Fernandez originally thought about hiding large pieces of art and then had a dream he did so, before deciding on the small boxes and Spexton cuff. These items are similar to the ones he and Spexton were asked to design for Billy Joel, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen when they played at downtown's BOK Center and also what they'll design for artists such as Taylor Swift, Aerosmith, Jamie Foxx, ZZ Top, Dave Matthews and Willie Nelson.
The project works like this: Fernandez and about eight others spread all across the country will hide one box at a time. The clues will be made available on Twitter (follow @duanefernandez or go to www.twitter.com/duanefernandez) and will be linked to Fernandez's Twitter account and his blog found at www.duanefernandez.com.
The clues will first alert seekers to the box's general location--what city it's in--and then another series of clues will lead seekers to its exact location.
Each box is painted with a legendary American icon, and so far, Jimi Hendrix has been found in Seattle and Woody Guthrie in Tulsa (behind some books at Vintage 1740). At the time of this writing, Fernandez was on the verge of hiding Frank Sinatra someplace in New York City.
Also inside the box, along with the cuff, is a three-page questionnaire for the retriever to fill out and mail back to Fernandez. Upon the project's completion, which will be in about three months from now, Fernandez will publish a small zine, similar to his Left Field Project. The zine will contain interviews with each of the individuals who found a box, those who hid one and the businesses unknowingly involved in the project.
He's also asking each person who finds a box to send him something completely random to be included in the zine project and in next year's "SEEK" event (Fernandez anticipates this to be an annual happening).
When discussing the project, Fernandez repeatedly used the word "random."
"I feel like people get too caught up in the routine of their everyday lives," he said. "Sometimes it's about being spur-of-the-moment."
Using friends in different cities to help him hide the boxes adds to the randomness of the project, Fernandez said.
"I'm not in control of where they're all hidden," he said.
Each host receives a care package with a letter explaining the project, a t-shirt and other random goodies.
The first individual to collect five boxes will receive a prize comprised of an assortment of goodies, including a portrait by Fernandez, seven "awesome" beer koozies, two handwritten letters and a birthday card, a $100 gift certificate to McDonald's, a box of crayons (the kind with the built-in sharpener), a box of records, $250 to Moosejaw.com, $250 to Spexton Jewelers, a mix tape and about nine magazine subscriptions.
Fernandez said he's interested to see how people across the country team up to find five boxes and how these boxes are divided amongst the winners, along with the grand prize.
He said he thinks, after about 10 boxes are hidden and found, communication on the project will go viral. Halfway through the project, he said, the clues will get more complicated and seekers will have to be on their toes.
Because the project is ongoing and the clues are interconnected, it doesn't stop once a seeker finds a box.
"Once you open that box," he said, "your summer will change."
Visit the aforementioned links to get in on the fun.
While Urban Tulsa Weekly has been privy to Living ArtSpace's plans to change locations, the organization officially announced its impending move last week.
Thanks in large part to the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Living Arts will move into the former Bed Check building at 307 E. Brady, to be called Living Arts Contemporary Space. Living Arts will occupy the first floor, with two galleries, three educational spaces, a lounge, kitchen and office, and the second floor will house Teach for America teachers in 13 apartments.
The building will officially open Aug. 15.
Architecture firm Kinslow, Keith and Todd will handle the design and build of the outside walls, as well as the parts that connect the two floors, and the stairway, elevator and lobby.
Architects and builders of the organization's choosing will build the remaining portion of Living Arts as funds are available.
The building, with 12,000 square feet of usable space (twice what LA has now), will be dedicated to contemporary arts. One of the galleries will be devoted to visual art and the other to performance. There will also be designated space for video and installation artworks. In addition to the presentation of new and contemporary works, the facility will allow Living Arts to better achieve its main mission: developing new works.
Plans for Living Arts' current site at 308 S. Kenosha are still undecided.
The opening of the new space will coincide with Living Arts' 40th anniversary exhibition on Sept. 3. Along with the exhibit, Living Arts will celebrate its anniversary with the publishing of a book dedicated to the organization's history, co-written by yours truly.
For more on the organization and to stay abreast of progress on the new space, go to www.livingarts.org.
SummerStage continues this weekend at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Second St., with performances by Light Opera Oklahoma.
The season includes My Fair Lady, The Gondoliers and A Little Night Music.
Based upon George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, directed by Eric Gibson, My Fair Lady stars Andrea Leap as Eliza Doolittle, Ron Loyd as Henry Higgins, Patrick Jacobs as Alfred P. Doolittle (Elza's lush father) and Patrick Howie as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, the nobleman who falls in love with the changed Eliza.
My Fair Lady plays June 18-July 5 in the John H. Williams Theatre of the PAC.
The Gondoliers continues through July 1 in the PAC's Norman Theatre and is a comedic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, which explores the social classes and noble pretensions.
Gibson directs April Golliver as Tessa, Howle as Giuseppe, John Bernard as Marco and Claire Connelly as Gianetta.
A Little Night Music, June 25-July 3 in the Williams Theatre, is a Tony Award-winning musical by Stephen Sondheim about the romantic lives of several couples and is set to waltz music.
John Bowen directs Jenna Harris, Judith MacDonald, Andrea Leap and Ron Loyd.
All tickets are $15. For a complete schedule of dates and times, visit www.lightoperaok.org. For more of the weekend's SummerStage offerings, go to http://www.tulsapac.com.
On Saturday June 20, EA&1 Designs, 411 W. Broadway Ave. in Broken Arrow, presents Stage Left Art Festival from 10am to 5pm.
The festival contains work by area visual artists on display and for sale. Visitors will vote for their three favorite artists, and winning artists will receive a prize at the end of the day.
All media and genre will be on display.
For more information, call 251-7600.
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