Tulsan Uses Art Gallery to Nurture Talent
By EMILY RAMSEY
ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR: In August, Rachel Wimpey opened Willowbrush studio and gallery in Tulsa. The large facility will offer a fine art gallery, classes, workshops and drawing nights specifically for area high school students.
Tulsan Rachel Wimpey already had much to be proud of before she turned 25 years old. She studied with accomplished painters throughout the country, earned a degree, created art work for her alma mater and for a congressional campaign, and was the youngest artist to exhibit last year at the Collector’s Reserve Show at Gilcrease Museum.
However, Wimpey wasn’t finished. Add to that list business owner and art teacher.
In August, Wimpey opened her own studio and fine art gallery, Willowbrush, 8545 E. 41 St.
The 4,000-square-foot facility contains an art gallery, two classrooms, a framing area and Wimpey’s private art studio.
The gallery currently displays work by 15 local and national artists with plans to add international artists in the future.
Classes for all skill levels will begin in November; areas of study will include painting and drawing, calligraphy, fused glass jewelry making, and flower arranging. A package of four classes starts at $85. Kids’ classes and team-building events for corporations and schools will also be available; and Wimpey hopes to make some of the building space available for event rental.
Wimpey’s art skills took shape early in her life. She began art lessons at seven years old and took art classes through high school. “I had a great art teacher in high school who brought out the artistic ability and creativity of her students,” she says. That artistic encouragement Wimpey received moved her to want to take her art to the next level.
At 17 years old, she began studying with professional artists around the country, approaching them at shows or through e-mail to request to train with them. Wimpey continued this practice through college, perfecting the classical style method that she works in.
“I want to provide that same type of instruction here in Tulsa,” she says, “I want to create a place where students can come and learn the classical method of drawing and painting.
“Most art schools focus almost entirely on a more modern art style that is less based on skill and more about feeling,” she says. “A more classical, impressionistic approach hinges more on skill to draw accurately.”
Wimpey is particularly interested in nurturing high school art students because that was the time in her life when she realized her passion for art. Willowbrush will offer drawing nights for public and private high school students. Wimpey hopes this will help to bring local art students together.
There will also be regular workshops held featuring national, professional artists.
“This whole business idea started as a vision of a place for people to come and hang out and for individuals to learn about the classical method,” Wimpey says. “I started thinking about it as an educational space, and it turned into both that and a fine art gallery.”
Wimpey is excited about Tulsa’s growing art scene and looks forward to seeing it spread into new areas in town.
“Tulsa already has a great arts scene and a contemporary art presence,” she says. “I didn’t want to take away from that but instead have a classical focus. And the studio’s located in an accessible location, especially for those who don’t want to drive downtown.”
Willowbrush hours are Tues.-Fri., 10:30-4:30 p.m., with extended holiday hours.
Visit willowbrush.com to learn more, or call 918-301-2718.