POSTED ON NOVEMBER 16, 2011:
An intoxicating opportunity to support local arts
Living Arts Annual Gala, Chocolate and Champagne is upon us. What started as a holiday art auction and sale back in 1993, has now morphed into a swanky shindig that celebrates all things delightful and indulgent.
Chocolate will be supplied from seven local chocolatiers and hors d'ouevres and champagne will be provided by local merchants. It has the makings of a fabulous affair.
"This is a way for the public to show that they support what we're doing," said Steve Liggett, Living Arts artistic director.
So what exactly are they doing? And besides the promise of a good time, why should we all care?
Living Arts mission is to present and develop contemporary art forms in Tulsa. Since its organizational inception in 1969, Living Arts has provided support, a community, guidance and, perhaps most importantly, an outlet of expression for numerous contemporary artists. The focus of the organization is on newly evolving ideas and concepts. That's right, they're here to make us pause, consider and contemplate.
"Any individual who looks beyond himself will inevitably begin to see things in life that he or she finds meaningful. We begin to seek out things that we identify with. We look at art and find an understanding of our own lives through the personal expressions of others. Real art always causes us to question our own reality and causes us to become more conscious of that reality...The word 'art' wasn't even invented until the Middle Ages. Those objects and images that were being created on cave walls, well it was just life. The act of creation is just living life," Liggett said.
Ever adapting and expanding, Living Arts has grown to host eleven programs: Video/New Media Program, the Myers Gallery, Spoken Word Series, Contemporary Dance Program, Performance Network, New Music, Education Program, Dance, Dia de Los Muertos Arts Festival, African Drumming Program, Tulsa ArtCar Weekend and The New Genre Festival.
Gavin Elliott/Daniel Gulick
Since moving to its current location on 307 E. Brady, Living Arts has had the opportunity (not to mention the interior space) to flourish exponentially. It has become a community hub of workshops, exhibitions, film and video screenings, performances, demonstrations, lectures and other events -- all purposed to serve as a catalyst for thought, cultural cooperation and creative exploration.
"Tulsa is on the verge of becoming more known for our arts community. Now we're proactively reaching out to the nation and the rest of the world. It only takes a few people who are saying, 'This is what we should do' to really make a difference," he said.
But art isn't free and any kind of growth inevitably involves a bit of capital and a great deal of vision to propel it. "I don't like to think about money. I like to think about art. But it takes a lot of resources to keep it all running," Liggett said. That's not to say that Living Arts is asking for a hand out. Quite the contrary -- their intent is that you take away something of tremendous value.
Attendees of Chocolate and Champagne are supporting community art as a whole, local artists themselves and a larger cause of increased social consciousness. Plus, there's the added perk of the food and bubbly.
Should you wish to do some purchasing either for yourself or as holiday gifts, you will leave with something much more personal and unique than what you'd find at local shopping malls.
Instead, you'll have your choice of handmade one of a kind pieces made by someone from this community. The piece that you might choose to purchase will not only be made by the human hand, it will be crafted by a hand that you actually get to reach out and shake. It's a very intimate exchange. The artist's vision becomes a part of your space, and thus, a part of your day-to-day life. It's a connection between the artists and the community, something that has become "lost in our fast paced multiple production kind of world."
Eighty-six local artists will be represented in the exhibition. You can anticipate pieces at multiple price points and in multiple mediums include ceramics, wood sculpture, beading, wire painting, metal work, jewelry, wearable art, paintings and photography, to name a few.
To be a patron of the arts, one need only purchase a piece of art. Chocolate and Champagne provides the opportunity Nov. 19-20 at Living ArtSpace, 307 E. Brady. Tickets are available at livingarts.org for $25 or can be purchased at the door for $35.
Send all comments and feedback regarding Arts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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