Trip to France, Chicago Conference Made Possible for Two Oklahoma Artists Through O. Gail Poole Memorial Travel Fund

Oklahoma artists Beatriz Mayorca and Eric Piper will have their travels to Chicago and France, respectively, to further their artistic practices funded in part through the Norman Arts Council-administered O. Gail Poole Memorial Travel Fund. 

The award began in 2014 as a means to honor the late Norman painter O. Gail Poole, a longtime proponent of seeing the world to inform artists and their artistic pursuits and careers. Since 2014, Oklahoma artists Marwin Begaye, Douglas Shaw Elder, Sarah Engel-Barnett, Skip Hill, Debby Kaspari, Mayumi Kiefer, Solomon Mahlatini, Liz Roth, Craig Swan and Holly Wilson have been able to travel to conferences, retreats and journeys of inspiration across the world because of awards from the fund, spreading Oklahoma’s creativity to others in the process. 

Benches by Beatriz Mayorca

Benches by Beatriz Mayorca

This year’s Oklahoma Artist award was presented to Beatriz Mayorca. Mayorca is a Venezuelan-born artist and interior designer has lived in Oklahoma City since 2005. She graduated with a degree in Social Communication from the Central University of Venezuela, but her passion for the arts and design made her seek a Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the University of Central Oklahoma. 

As an individual studio artist, she has obtained many awards and recognition for outstanding development, such as her recent 2017-Artist Invitational Award granted for Downtown OKC Partnership (DOKC), giving her the opportunity to create functional-public artistic pieces installed in the heart of Downtown OKC. Additionally, she has been awarded the Most Outstanding Hispanic Artist 2014 Award and 2016 AHAS Awards in Wood Category from the Academy of Handmade - LA California. Beatriz is also a member of Oklahoma City's Pre-Qualified Artist Pool 2017-2020 in Mosaic Art, Functional Art, and 3D Art categories.

Mayorca will use the award to attend an assortment of educational lectures offered at the Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA) Fair this fall in Chicago, IL. SOFA combines her personal balance between form and function and interest in melding sculpture and functional artistic-pieces through hands-on demonstrations, lectures, networking with likeminded artists from across the globe and a wellspring of inspiration in the form of new perspectives and techniques.

Mirror Image  by Eric Piper

Mirror Image by Eric Piper

This year’s Norman Artist Awards was presented to Eric Piper. Piper is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on social interaction. Piper’s artwork digs for common symbols and psychological narrative in the human experience in effort to bridge the ever-evolving barriers between social classes and cultures. The physical works are shared as an act of performance. Exhibitions and happenings are experimental research, learning new ways to connect artists and audiences together through artwork.

After graduating with a BFA in Sculpture/Printmaking from The University of Oklahoma in 2013, Piper operated a DIY gallery/venue/studio space for two years bringing hundreds of local, national, and global artists and bands together in Norman between 2014 and 2016. This energy was redirected into co-founding the non-profit art space Resonator Institute in 2016 through 2018.  

Currently, Piper operates under Oscillator, an experimental, fine-art silk screen press and performance collective. They work collaboratively with a variety of entities to host art festivals, happenings, lectures, exhibitions and workshops.

Piper’s award helped offset some of the costs of a trip to France where he engaged in a number of collaborations and journeys for inspiration. He underwent a collaborative project with old studio-mate Gaetan Larant and Good Morning Toulouse (a local university radio station) to broadcast a series of strange storytelling and soundscape radio dramas in Toulouse, France. 

He then journeyed to Friche la Belle de Mai, a 45,000 square meter experimental cultural center housing 70 arts & culture organizations, workshops, skateparks and exhibition spaces.

Finally, he visited printmaking collective Le Dernier Cri, with plans to create an exhibition for display in Norman at a later date. Piper also plans to showcase the work created with Larant in a form of exhibition and digital release locally, as well. 

The O. Gail Poole Memorial Travel Fund will open up for applications for artists seeking a travel award again in Spring 2020.  

Painters Ellen Moershel, Michael Fischerkeller Debut Solo Exhibitions at MAINSITE

MAINSITE Contemporary Arts hosts two solo exhibitions from from artists and painters Ellen Moershel and Michael Fischerkeller from Friday, August 9 through Friday, September 13. 

The exhibitions debut with an opening reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, August 9 and ends with a closing reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, September 13 at MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main, Norman. Fischerkeller will give an artist talk on his process, ideas, techniques and inspiration at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 8. Both receptions and the artist talk are free and open to the public. 

Primal by Ellen Moershel

Primal by Ellen Moershel

Moershel is an abstract painter who works in many mediums including gouache, acrylic and oil paint. As an admirer of the anti-form artists of the late 60s, she uses aspects of automatic drawing and abstract sculpture to create depth in her pieces while retaining ambiguity when it comes to defining background and subject. Ellen’s work uses the principles of both minimalism and maximalism by juxtaposing sumptuous amounts of bare canvas with concentrated spots of highly detailed imagery. She often examines Post-Impressionist painting techniques and Japanese Edo period work for ideas on composition.

Ellen moved to Colorado in 2015 and currently keeps a studio in Boulder. Previously, she lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. Louis, Missouri and her home state, Oklahoma. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where she studied Fine Art. Her work is available through Walker Fine Art in Denver, JRB Art in Oklahoma City and Visual Voice Fine Art in Nova Scotia.In addition to creating work for galleries, Ellen is a muralist and live music painter.

Glimmer of Hope (Criminal Justice Reform) by Michael Fischerkeller

Glimmer of Hope (Criminal Justice Reform) by Michael Fischerkeller

Following a meditation-induced heart opening in the Summer of 2013, Michael Fischerkeller was inspired to elucidate through art the truths of disruptive social issues of our time. Having acquired a Ph.D. in political science in 1996, Michael leverages his academic background to offer concise, often poignant compositions and accompanying narratives to provide deep understanding and coherence of complex issues. 

“Through a street art aesthetic I strive to capture a shared social conscience and offer truths of increasingly complex and significant political, economic and social issues of our time; where light shines, shadows fall, “Fischerkeller said in his artist statement. “Candor and social justice drive my creative process resulting in stark yet elegant artwork that encourages an audience to critically view their world, focus on what is habitually overlooked, face what may be uncomfortable truths, and act to improve their lives and those of others. My narratives are transcribed through acrylic spray paint – a street artist’s instrument – as the “street” is most often and most severely deprived of social justice.”

His starting point is always a black canvas, symbolic of the black light referenced in Sufi mystical prose from which the light of our universe emanates, light that seeks to overcome the darkness in our lives. Through on-going meditative practice Michael receives guidance on issues upon which he should focus and imagery to support their understanding. His artwork has been shown in dozens of juried exhibitions, nationally and internationally, with a particular emphasis on exhibitions focusing on art’s role in promoting social change. He strives to ensure that his art educates, inspires, and offers opportunities for personal healing. Michael lives and creates in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Norman Arts Council Now Accepting Fall 2019 Arts Education Scholarship Applications

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Scholarship Program Mission:  The Norman Arts Council Arts Education Scholarships are intended to provide Norman children with the opportunity to attend arts programming that is offered outside of schools.  


For FALL 2019 Programs – Monday, August 26, 2019 @ 11:59pm CST

Note: Please read application guidelines thoroughly to ensure timely completion of all requirements!

ELIGIBILITY: The Norman Arts Council invites students in grades K-8 who live or go to school in Norman, Oklahoma to apply for a scholarship to offset the cost of an arts education experience provided by an established arts organization or educator.

APPLICATIONS: The NAC has recently restructured their scholarship criteria, so there is new information. Only Applications submitted through the on-line process will be considered for funding. Applications must be 100% completed for consideration. "I don't know" or "unsure" answers will deem an incomplete application.

SELECTION CRITERIA:  The NAC is seeking applications for scholarships from students who:

  • express a strong desire to enhance their arts education experience beyond what is offered at schools

  • demonstrate a past commitment to visual or performing arts

  • have the ability to commit to the completion of the program

  • have a financial need that prevents them from funding the tuition themselves

  • priority will be given to new applicants, low income applicants, and applicants seeking funds for visual arts programs

  • $500 is the maximum award a single student will be granted

  • Applications must be 100% completed

Applicants will not be turned down for not meeting all of the criteria. It is encouraged, however, to try to meet as many as possible and to address the criteria directly in the proposal.

Coming Soon in Norman Arts: August 2019

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We’re in the dog days of summer with the start of another school year just around the corner. Keep cool and stay current on all the wonderful happenings in the Norman Arts world this month with lots of fun concerts, workshops, musicals, exhibits and more to enjoy with friends and family this August!

Here are just some of the highlights! Check out our Norman Arts Calendar for that much more!


All Shook Up
Thursday, August 1 through Sunday, August 4 at Sooner Theatre

S. Reidy: A Party / A Mixtape Release Show
Saturday, August 3 at Resonator

Summer Breeze: Levi Parham (rescheduled from June)
Sunday, August 4 at Lions Park

Artist Talk: Michael Fischerkeller
Thursday, August 8 at MAINSITE Contemporary Art

Museo Aero Solar Launch
Friday, August 9 at corner of Peters & Comanche

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Opening Reception: Ellen Moershel // Michael Fischerkeller
Friday, August 9 at MAINSITE Contemporary Art

2nd Friday Norman Art Walk
Friday, August 9 in Downtown Norman

Summer Breeze: Greyhounds
Sunday, August 11 at Lions Park

Don’t Tell Dena with Grand Commander
Wednesday, August 14 at Red Brick Bar

Arkansauce with The Indigos
Thursday, August 15 at The Deli


Thread Painting Workshop with Darci Lenker
Thursday, August 22 at MAINSITE Contemporary Art

Flock of Pigs with The Fey
Friday, August 23 at Opolis

Mad Honey with Burl and Swim Fan
Saturday, August 24 at The Deli

Summer Breeze: Homegrown Volume 1
Sunday, August 25 at Lions Park

Summer Daze 2.0 featuring Sports, Hovvdy, Lomelda & more
Friday, August 30 through Saturday, August 31 at Opolis


Learn Thread Painting with Oklahoma Fiber Artist Darci Lenker

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Darci Lenker | Painting With Threads Workshop
6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 22, 2019
MAINSITE Contemporary Art | 122 E. Main, Norman


Embroider Darci Lenker — an Oklahoma fiber artist best known for her miniature works made of thread — will teach workshop attendees how to embroider, specifically the style known as thread painting or needle painting, where colors are mixed while stitching to give a painterly effect. Darci will teach from 6-8 pm and this will leave an hour for attendees to work and visit with Lenker.

Darci is a working artist using embroidery in this style daily. She's completed several long term projects using thread painting and knows enough about her art that she is excited to teach others.

“Embroidery combines my love for drawing and fiber art. For me, the process of creating art is just as important as the end result. I enjoy extended projects that grow little by little over time.”

She currently has an exhibit at The Vault Art Space and Gathering Place in Pauls Valley, June 13th through July 29th.

The $45 fee includes all supplies needed to create your personal embroidery work with Lenker, all of which will go home with participants after so they can continue to practice and learn at home.

Limited slots remain, so register now!