Each season brings a major community event to Utica Square for its patrons to enjoy. The conclusion of summer ended the Square's highly popular Summer's Fifth Night concert series, and now with the cooler weather comes the 16th annual Art in the Square on Saturday, Oct. 2 from 10am-5pm. This year, 95 artists from Tulsa and the surrounding areas will be showing their work along the sidewalks encompassing Utica Square for shoppers, diners and art lovers to pursue and purchase.
Of the 95 artists featured in this year's event, 20 are participating for the first time. Once selected for Art in the Square, artists receive an automatic invitation to return each year. Prospective artists hoping to show their work at the event were required to complete a selection process during the summer in which they brought a sampling of their work to the square, where it was judged by a committee of the square's merchants. This process ensures that local favorites will return every year and affords new faces the chance to show their work and gain exposure.
Utica Square provides a number of exciting events throughout the year, such as "Spring in the Square," a gardening event that takes place in May and "Lights On," the annual Christmas kick-off event that takes place on Thanksgiving. Art in the Square is among these events of which the square is most proud.
"Art in the Square is a chance for us to give back to our customers and provide them with an interesting event," said Utica Square property manager, Jessica Barr. "The event also provides artists a chance to sell their work and be apart of the community."
While meandering through the art-lined sidewalks, visitors will enjoy the sounds of acoustic violinists from the Tulsa Symphony contributing to the square's delightful atmosphere. The artwork and subject matter will be as diverse as one can expect from a local arts fair, ranging from oil paintings and watercolors to pottery and wood carvings.
The success of this event throughout the years is yet another indicator of Tulsans' desire to support local artists and keep talent in their city. When the event began 16 years ago, there were only 10 artists represented. Today, that number has expanded to nearly 100. Utica Square hopes the event will continue to grow in the future and is glad to take a part in supporting local artists through a classy and fun event.
More information is available at uticasquare.com.
Tulsa artist Nancy Carlson defines herself as an experimental artist.
"No two of my shows are alike," she said. Her most current body of work, titled, Energy: Stream of Consciousness will be displayed at the Tulsa Artists' Coalition (TAC) Gallery from Oct. 1-30. An opening reception will take place at the gallery on Friday, Oct. 1 from 6-9pm as part of the Brady District's First Friday Art Walk.
Carlson is an artist of all mediums and her work in this show ranges from paintings to ceramics to mixed-media sculptures. Her sculptures are a synthesis of her own wheel-thrown pieces and found objects that hold special significance in representing the feeling or message she is hoping to convey.
In a piece titled Venus and Mars, Carlson built and glazed two standing sculptures, one representing man and the other woman. She incorporated found objects into and around the sculptures that subtly represented the differences between the masculine and the feminine.
Her paintings, which reflect a minimalist approach to composition, are a nod in the other direction from her detailed sculptures. In a series of color field paintings, Carlson pushes the color to the perimeter of the painting in an effort to conceptualize her belief that the United States's momentum as a growing, prosperous country is quickly fading, particularly in comparison with rapidly developing nations such as China.
As the show's title would indicate, all of her work holds true to the theme of energy and what it looks like today. In a three-part painting series titled Carbon Brothers, Carlson creates abstract interpretations of three forms of energy -- oil, gas and coal. She complements this series with another titled Purity Sisters in which she creates an artistic interpretation of thermal, wind and solar energy.
Among a number of teaching jobs Carlson has held across the country, the 20 years she spent teaching art to middle school students in Owasso has left a substantial impact on her continued career as an artist.
"I grew the most as an artist by teaching because you have to know what you are talking about," Carlson said. As a teacher she attended a number of conferences and workshops across the country in which she learned a variety of techniques that she has been able to incorporate into her own work.
"Beauty and interest are the motivating force in my life," said Carlson, who considers herself to be half artist and half gardener, the latter being a passion she has cultivated from a very young age taking care of her parents' rose garden. Her garden was recently a part of the Living Arts Art and Garden Tour 2010, in which Tulsans had the opportunity to tour seven private gardens around the city and observe what some of the Tulsa's most dedicated gardeners have been growing in their backyards.
More information about Energy: Stream of Consciousness is available at tacgallery.com.
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