Cox Business Center Shines with Dedication of Public Art ‘Highlight’

Courtesy photo
ENJOYING CITY ART: Enjoying the opening of “Highlight” at the Cox Business Center are, from left, “Highlight” artist Andrew Ramiro Tirado, Chair of the Tulsa Arts Commission Holbrook Lawson, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, and Tulsa City Councilors Kara Joy McKee, Vanessa Hall Harper and Lori Dector Wright.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and District 4 City Councilor Kara Joy McKee hosted a dedication May 7 for the new public art “Highlight” on the plaza at the Cox Business Convention Center, 100 Civic Center. Other speakers at the event were Holbrook Lawson of the Tulsa Arts Commission and the artist, Andrew Ramiro Tirado. 
“Tulsans love public art, and this piece is a really unique addition to the new entrance of the Cox Business Convention Center,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “‘Highlight’ is unlike any other piece of public art you’re going to see around town, and I’m excited for Tulsans to see it for themselves.” 
Installation of this artwork completes the Vision Tulsa renovation of the Cox Business Convention Center. A ribbon-cutting and tours were held last summer to show off the new entrance, Grand Hall ballroom, and major upgrades to the kitchen and catering facilities. 
The sculpture “Highlight” consists of three elements – a plug, an electrical cord and a light bulb – representing Tulsa’s past, present and future. The artist Tirado explains his intent for the meaning of the piece:
The two-prong plug represents Tulsa’s periods of rapid transformation. Its blue dome symbolizes both Tulsa’s Blue Dome Station as well as the city’s early stake in the exploration of the vast, blue dome of sky and space.
The electrical cord symbolizes the present as the link from past to future – a strand of historical interconnectedness and social interdependency.
Finally, as the universal icon for invention, resolute problem solving, energy, enlightenment, and understanding, the light bulb is the ideal symbol for the future – both Tulsa’s and for all who share the city’s high aspirations and vision.
“The light bulb is the piece’s focal point, intentionally so,” Tirado said. “It speaks of a bright and shining future for Tulsa. Of an inventive, innovative one.”
Tirado created the light bulb and plug in his studio in Colorado Springs, Colo. The electrical cord has been fabricated in Tulsa at American Pipe Bending. The budget for this artwork was $430,000 from the Vision Tulsa sales tax.
The $54.5 million renovation completed in summer 2020 improved the Cox Business Convention Center east entrance with a three-story glass entryway and replaced the plaza bridge with an accessible, landscaped public plaza gathering area. Replacing the former arena, the 42,000 square-foot Grand Hall makes Tulsa the home of the two largest ballrooms in Oklahoma, both in the Cox Business Convention Center: the Tulsa Ballroom completed in a Vision 2025 project, and the new Grand Hall.
Other features of the 2020 renovation include a new 27,000-square-foot kitchen, box office, greatly increased natural light, green room, tasting room, and finishing kitchen on the event level. This renovation allows the Cox Business Convention Center to accommodate top quality conventions and business events on a larger scale than before.
About Vision Tulsa
Vision Tulsa, an $884 million sales tax renewal package approved by voters in 2016, is making substantial investments in economic development, education, public safety, streets and transportation needs citywide. With citizen priorities providing the driving force behind the creation of Vision Tulsa, transformative projects and enhancements are setting the stage for a bright future for Tulsa.