Oklahoma Contemporary
A person with their back to the camera looks at illuminated works on a wall

New Light

July 15, 2021

Intimidation-Free Zone

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The Art Garden supplies raw materials for Studio School's Natural Fiber Dyeing class.
No matter your skill level, Oklahoma Contemporary’s got you covered with Studio School

Emily Reynolds understands that art can be intimidating. That’s why her four-week Studio School class, Art Collecting for Everyone, fits so well into Oklahoma Contemporary’s mission. From cultivating wildflowers in Rachel Denbow’s four-week Natural Fiber Dyeing to working with reclaimed wood in Gabriel Friedman’s Creative Carpentry class, Studio School works to demystify art and make it accessible to everybody.

“I'm going to talk to the people in the class just about how I choose the pieces that I choose and what I've learned about collecting,” says Reynolds, who owns and curates Anonyma Fine Art in Oklahoma City’s Midtown district. “You know, how to build a collection that you love and that is sort of harmonious, and then how to display it in your home an how to take care of artwork once you do buy it.”

Like Reynolds’ class, all of Studio School’s four-week August offerings are designed to be user-friendly for students who want to hit the ground running. For people who read David Sedaris or listen to podcasts and wonder how to start a similar path, Jezy Gray’s class, Crafting the Personal Essay, introduces storytelling and expression as entry points for new writers.

In Natural Fiber Dyeing, Denbow focuses on techniques used for literally thousands of years, extracting naturally occurring colors from plants grown in Oklahoma Contemporary’s Art Garden. In Creative Carpentry, Friedman — an artist who also teaches kids how to build their own skateboards — will teach adults how to create three-dimensional art based on designs created by children. And in Portrait Painting, Andrea Duran-Cason teaches paint mixing to achieve perfect skin tones and, as a finale, students will create self-portraits.

A man wearing a hat, a mask and an apron observes an art project.
Johnny Antonelli

If a four-week class feels like too much commitment, Studio School has you covered with one-day workshops. Johnny Antonelli, one of the skilled preparators trusted with hanging Oklahoma Contemporary’s exhibitions, will rescue art lovers from pencil marks and stray nail holes on their walls by teaching them to Hang Art Like a Pro.

“I think that a lot of people are scared of failure — they don't want to like break the piece,” Antonelli said. “So that's where the intimidation for a lot of people comes in. I think that I'll be able to convey to these folks that they shouldn’t be intimidated and just kind of inspire them.”

New skills and knowledge can take many forms at Studio School. In the cheekily named "My Kid Could Do That," Virginia Sitzes will help students who might think abstract art looks like spills or stains discover how to appreciate, discuss and make their own abstractions. Other great workshops include Snack Attack, for those who want to eat or drink from their own works of art, and Pet Portraits in Acrylic for animal lovers looking to memorialize that special cat or corgi.

So, if art feels out of reach, Studio School is here to help.

“It's kind of an intimidating thing for a lot of people, and I just want to help people feel more comfortable talking about it and expressing themselves,” Reynolds says. “Hopefully we can get them to see that it doesn't have to be scary and everyone isn't snooty.”

Registration for four-week classes closes July 25, so register for your art adventure today.

Images: A visitor views works by Emily Chase during ArtNow 2018. Photo by Brandon Seekins.

Oklahoma Contemporary's Art Garden.

Johnny Antonelli in the Outdoor Studio. Photo by Stephanie Montelongo.

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Wednesday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

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Visit us at 11 NW 11th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Phone: 405 951 0000
Fax: 405 951 0003

Oklahoma Contemporary
P.O. Box 3062
Oklahoma City, OK 73101

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