Oklahoma Contemporary
A hand flips through a colorful, handmade book featuring abstract art

New Light

July 28, 2020

#StudioInPlace: Turning the Page

Virginia Sitzes wraps up her digital residency project with Oklahoma Contemporary
By Virginia Sitzes, Studio-in-Place artist
A person sits at a sewing machine, working on a colorful abstract panel
Virginia Sitzes' digital residency project with Oklahoma Contemporary incorporated contributions from 82 collaborators across the country.

My Studio-in-Place project, SHAKEN OUT OF THE SCREEN, has been an incredible journey. What started as an attempt to document and engage with contemporary art in my community has turned into an 82-person collaboration.

At the beginning of this project, I had no idea how the month would unfold. One of the scariest parts for me was being willing to trust others to contribute. Will there be participation? Will people see this project as important? Is it important? These were just a few of the questions that filled my mind in the beginning. Thankfully, as submissions came rolling in, these questions faded to the background.

A colorful, handmade art book sits upright with its pages open
"Will there be participation? Will people see this project as important? Is it important? These were just a few of the questions that filled my mind in the beginning." - Virginia Sitzes, Studio-in-Place artist

Poet Lily Greenberg and I treated the submissions we received as clay for sculpting, or ingredients for a soup. We followed an ethic of everything belongs and worked to incorporate something from everything given. But we did not expect such a high turnout! We had a total of 34 visual submissions and 48 written submissions. With this material, I created 12 books and Lily composed 12 poems.

One of the most powerful parts of this project for me was the ability to collaborate with the community during this particular moment of national unrest — given the pandemic, the uprising for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the upcoming election and more. I think all Americans will remember this time as an important moment, and it’s gratifying to imagine people looking back at this project and seeing it through the lens of 82 people who were in the midst of all of this.

A display of colorful, handmade art books spread out on a table
The result of Virginia Sitzes' SHAKEN OUT OF THE SCREEN is a mini-library of hand-bound collaged art books.

I am so thankful to call SHAKEN OUT OF THE SCREEN a success. I am grateful to Oklahoma Contemporary for the opportunity they provided, the 82 people who participated and Lily Greenberg for creating a wonderful set of collaborative poems. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

To see the full list of artists and learn more about this project, head to my website — and if you want to stay up-to-date on my artistic journey, feel free to follow me on Instagram at @virginiasitzes.


Virginia Sitzes is a printmaker, painter and muralist living in Oklahoma City. She is a Studio School instructor and has taught various workshops regionally. Her work has been featured in Art Focus magazine, Barnstorm Literary Journal, Oklahoma Gazette, the Tulsa Voice and the Inspiring Conversations OKC and Whatcha Makin’? podcasts. She has been the drawing and painting liaison for Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain and is also a printmaking mentor for Artspace at Untitled's high school mentorship program. Virginia is also an active arts organizer. She co-founded the emerging artist collective, Art Group OKC, in 2017 and is the operations coordinator for the Connect::Collect international print exchange. She has curated various pop-up shows and events in houses, alternative art galleries, and non-traditional venues.


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Studio-in-Place Virginia Sitzes printmaking fiber art poetry

Location

11 NW 11th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Phone: 405 951 0000
Fax: 405 951 0003
info@okcontemp.org

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