Mathews Warehouse Renovation to Enhance Area Art

INNOVATIVE DESIGN: Arts education will be the main goal for the renovations of the Mathews Warehouse in the Brady District.

Tulsans will be able to enjoy an artistic center and have more access to arts education after renovations of the Mathews Warehouse are completed. Construction is underway on the warehouse in the Brady District, spanning the city block between Boston and Cincinnati Avenues.

Through the generosity of George Kaiser Family Foundation and a partnership with Philbrook Museum of Art and The University of Tulsa, the Mathews Warehouse will be transformed into an artistic center featuring Philbrook’s Eugene B. Adkins Collection and Study Center, as well as The University of Tulsa’s Zarrow Center for Arts and Education.

“Today we stand in a raw space that will transform significantly over many months to come. When completed, Oklahomans will relish this arts center landmark, enjoying collections, exhibits, art studios and learning opportunities that will be available here,” said Ken Levit, executive director of George Kaiser Family Foundation. “Our partnership with Philbrook and TU is vested not only in the renovation of this magnificent warehouse, but also in the shared interest of economic development, enhanced artistic appreciation and engaged citizens to ensure the Brady District’s promising future.”

The Philbrook Museum of Art will occupy the two buildings in the center of the complex, which will be combined into a two-story space with basement containing 30,000 square feet.

The first floor will be dedicated to the Philbrook: Modern Art & Design space which was conceived as a dynamic platform for the fusion of Philbrook’s growing commitment to modern and contemporary art, the recently pledged George R. Kravis II Industrial Design Collection, and a consistent presentation of leading-edge programming.

The second floor will house the Eugene B. Adkins Collection & Study Center whose primary focus will be the exhibition and study of Native American art. The Center will also highlight important and related examples of Southwestern American and Taos Society artists from each collection.

Gluckman Mayner Architects, a New York City-based firm that specializes in designing arts-related facilities, will create the spaces that will showcase the Philbrook collections. The Philbrook portion of the project is estimated to cost $6 million, with an expected completion date of spring 2012.

“We are determined to use this opportunity to distinctively contribute to the cultural fabric of our community and region, and to add momentum to Tulsa’s evolution as a major urban center for art and culture,” says Rand Suffolk, director of Philbrook Museum of Art.

Plans for the Zarrow Center span the Mathews Warehouse’s three stories and 18,000 square feet. The first floor will feature gallery space and a supporting wine and cheese bar, where members of the public can come together to enjoy exhibits in a social setting.

The second floor will include four classrooms, where TU instructors, Gilcrease Museum educational staff and guest teachers will provide arts education.
The third floor will feature studio space to serve TU’s Master of Fine Arts program, making the site a living laboratory of artistic expression for resident talents and visiting professionals.

The Zarrow Center for Art and Education is expected to open in the first half of 2012.

“This center will be a place of creativity, learning and community – values that are central to artistry and to citizenship alike,” says TU President Steadman Upham. “We are truly excited to be part of this cultural anchor in one of downtown Tulsa’s most exciting locations.”

Attendees at the launch party viewed plans and renderings of the renovation project. The launch was followed by a reception at Hey Mambo.

George Kaiser Family Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services and civic enhancement. Based in Tulsa, works primarily on initiatives developed in collaboration with Tulsa-based direct service organizations. For more information about George Kaiser Family Foundation, visit

Updated 05-09-2011

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