By JULIE WENGER WATSON
On Friday, Dec. 2, 108 Contemporary in the Brady Arts District premiered Syncretic, an exhibit showcasing the works of the inaugural class of recipients of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship (). Established in 2015 by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, was created to retain and recruit artists from across the U.S. Fellows receive a stipend, housing and studio space to allow them to work on their craft. The initial group of 12 visual artists moved to Tulsa in 2016. This exhibit is a celebration of the fellowship’s first year.
According to Program Manager Julia White, the fellowships not only benefit the participating artists but also Tulsa’s broader art community.
“Our overall goal is to recruit and retain national artists to Tulsa, as well as to retain local artists,” White explains. “Because of our location in the country and our growing art community and just the overall quality of life in Tulsa, we’re really hoping to see the impact of long-term relationships being built.”
While the fellowship doesn’t require the artists to participate in community events, many of them have become involved with local organizations through teaching, lecturing or exhibiting their work.
“We don’t have a requirement for participation in the community, but we strongly encourage them to get involved, whether it’s through Philbrook or Gilcrease or TU or ,” White says. “Whether it’s public art talks or open studio visits with art communities, it’s at their discretion how they would like to participate, but we do provide them the tools.”
There is no set requirement for how or what each artist must produce during the year.
“We really just want to provide them the time and the space and stipend money so they can just focus on their work at the moment, rather then having to have an end-of-the-year project due,” White notes.
White is pleased with how the first year has gone.
“We’ve seen a lot of collaboration in this Brady Arts District as a whole,” she says. “Although we don’t put any requirement or pressure on their involvement in the community, it seems as if that’s the natural habit of an artist. They want to be involved in their surroundings, so having the artists participate at some level has been a great success, and having art shown throughout the community has also proven to be a success this year.”
For more information on , visit TulsaArtistFellowship.org. For more information on Syncretic, visit www.108contemporary.corg.