In January, Oklahoma Contemporary will open a spectacular new arts center on a 4.6-acre campus at NW 11th and Broadway in Oklahoma City. The 6,000 sq main gallery, classroom studios, performance spaces, community lounge, café and outdoor spaces ensure that there will always be something new to see and experience.
Thanks to the generosity of more than 150 donors to date, Oklahoma Contemporary has raised more than $21.5 million toward a $30 million Capital Campaign. Funds will support construction and opening-year programs – ensuring that admission to exhibitions remains free for all ages.
When the new center, designed by architect Rand Elliott and being built by Smith & Pickel Construction, opens in January 2020, it will become a spectacular new cultural resource for Oklahoma City. In addition to providing a world-class facility for exhibitions, performance and education and a breathtaking addition to the OKC skyline, it will become a “creative commons,” a place for our community to gather, create and experience art. Our arts education programs will encourage youth and adults to find their own creativity and learn new skills through classes and camps across multiple disciplines. Incorporating programming from our community partners, Oklahoma Contemporary will be a hub for artistic experiences of all kinds and offer the city an event space like no other.
In its new home in a more-accessible location, Oklahoma Contemporary will more than triple program and class offerings for diverse audiences of all ages to meet the growing demand for arts and culture — and grow its audiences from 22,000 to about 100,000 by 2022.
When the center opens in 2020, three major visual arts exhibitions will anchor annual programming – inspiring workshops, conversations and classes to connect diverse audiences to innovative ideas and creative experiences. These shows will feature the works of world-renowned artists from Oklahoma and beyond. Admission to exhibitions – and much of the new public programming – will remain free. And the art will continue outdoors. A sculpture garden will feature rotating works, and Campbell Art Park will host large-scale sculptural installations year round.
The new building’s third floor, dedicated to performing arts, will serve as a creative home for local resident companies in dance, theater, music, film and culture. Building on Oklahoma Contemporary’s tradition of supporting local artists and attracting the world’s best and brightest, the flexible performance space will also feature touring performances and unique collaborations.
Oklahoma Contemporary’s new Studio School will offer an expanded suite of classes for youth and adults. In addition to courses in visual arts, digital media, performance and literature, Oklahoma Contemporary’s flagship programs in ceramics and fiber arts will expand their impact with cutting-edge facilities in The Studios building. Located in an historic renovated warehouse space adjacent to the 50,000 sq foot Folding Light building, The Studios will house the center’s industrial arts programs (ceramics, fiber, metal, wood, glass and more).
From its founding in 1989 as City Arts Center by Christian Keesee and the late Marilyn Myers, Oklahoma Contemporary has been dedicated to keeping art accessible with free exhibitions and public programs, outreach to underserved communities and scholarships for youth in arts classes and camps. The new arts center will continue and grow these programs to become a cultural resource for our city, state and beyond.