More than 100 years ago, when the first settlers came to Oklahoma, a handful of pioneers had the forethought to bring culture and arts to the open plains. Those pioneers were the first to realize the importance of how fine art could help shape the barren prairie.
Now the work of those early Oklahomans is being featured in a new exhibit at Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum, 1400 Classen Drive. The First Fifty Years will open with a special reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the museum’s Tulsa World Gallery.
“The artists represented were the catalysts of fine art in Oklahoma, art education and the development of art museums,” said Shelley Rowan, director of marketing and communications for the Oklahoma Heritage Association and the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum. “The exhibition features just over 30 works of art, including works on loan from the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art and the Oklahoma State Art Collection courtesy of Oklahoma Arts Council.”
The exhibit is on display through April, and Rowan says she hopes visitors will take away a renewed appreciation for what those early Oklahomans did for the arts in the state.
“We hope to provide awareness of Oklahoma’s wonderful art past, sharing these early Oklahoma artists’ life ways, culture, art and traditions,” Rowan said. “Rich in variety, many artistic mediums are showcased within this exhibition, each artist conveying their own story.”
Rowan said the exhibition will be displayed chronologically and feature work from as early as 1907 (statehood), providing visitors with a story and understanding of Oklahoma’s roots within the artistic community.
The First Fifty Years will be on display through April 25. The January 15 reception is free and open to the public.
“This is such a wonderful exhibition to bring to the Tulsa World Gallery at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum,” Rowan said. “The artists featured in this exhibition launched Oklahoma into being a place where people from all over the world would come for a better life and a better future as an artist.”
The First Fifty Years reception
5:3-7:30 p.m. Thursday
Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum
1400 Classen Drive