October Proclaimed as Arts & Humanities Month in Norman

Norman Arts Council plans to install street flags brandishing the Walker Arts District name in the near future. 

Norman Arts Council plans to install street flags brandishing the Walker Arts District name in the near future. 

Norman City Council proclaimed October to be Arts & Humanities Month in the City of Norman. This is in tandem with the designation of October as National Arts & Humanities Month, a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America, encouraging participation in the arts and raising public awareness of the importance the arts have in our communities.

October includes an array of fun and exciting arts and humanities events and more, locally. That includes another 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, October 13 in the downtown Norman area now known as The Walker Arts District — as decreed by city council earlier this year — that just recently debuted branding from Norman graphic designer J.D. Reeves.

This month’s art walk includes the Cultural Connections: Clermont-Ferrand in Norman — a sister-city art exchange — along with a free concert from Oklahoma hip-hop artist Josh Sallee at Opolis and a variety of other free arts events, concerts and more across The Walker Arts District.

On Thursday, October 19, Norman Arts Council will debut the latest and final We Art Lindsey Street project: A projection mapped visual installation on the Goodwill Donation Center located at 1404 W. Lindsey.

The projection —created by motion designer and digital artist Kyle Edward Van Osdol — will run from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. each night, bringing the building to life with animation evoking science, technology and art. Van Osdol’s work has worked with the likes of Coachella, Flying Lotus, Clams Casino and Norman Music Festival.

On Friday, October 27, the 5th Annual Downtown Norman Fall Fest will bring thousands to The Walker Arts District to enjoy trick-or-treating, performances, inflatables and lots of other family-friendly fun.

This year’s event will be proceeded by the installation of decorative street lighting on the 200 East Block of Main Street — sponsored by Norman Downtowners and a variety of Downtown Norman businesses, organizations and events — that will cross over and back across the block and be lit up year round. That lighting will expand into surrounding Main Street blocks in the years ahead.


During the week of Monday, October 30, Norman Forward’s first Percent for Art project will be installed and dedicated, as well. Splash — created by Mark Aeling — will be installed at the Westwood Family Aquatic Center.

“As Norman Forward’s first percent for art project nears completion, we are looking forward to it becoming an important piece of Norman’s culture,” said Debby Williams, Percent for Art Project Manager. “Splash is a colorful sculpture of a tennis ball as it hits the water and will serve as a dynamic gateway to the Westwood Family Aquatic Center. Norman’s public art is created to engage the spirit and spark dialogue and Splash will certainly accomplish that and much more.”

A firm date for the dedication of the public art work will be set soon.  

Sooner Theatre will host a weekend’s worth of productions of Oliver! on Friday, October 20 through Sunday, October 22. The Depot will host Winter Wind Concerts from Terri Hendrix & Lloyd Maines and Beppe Gambetta on Sunday, October 15 and Sunday, October 22, respectively. There’s lots more happening across Norman during Arts & Humanities Month, as well.

View all upcoming normanarts.org/calendar


Speakeasy Event on Oct. 20 to Benefit OU Art Museum’s School Bus Fund


Tickets are now on sale for the annual Silver Soirée fundraiser for the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The soirée is scheduled from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 at the Railhouse Event Center, 102 W. Eufaula St., in Norman.

During this 1920s speakeasy-themed evening, attendees will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Live entertainment during the evening will include big band jazz performances by University of Oklahoma School of Music students as well as vaudeville acts and vocal numbers by students in the Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre. During the later hours of the evening, swing guitar and jazzy blues will be provided by Kyle Reid and the Low Swingin’ Chariots.

Blackjack, craps and roulette, for entertainment purposes only, plus a 1920s-themed photo booth to commemorate the evening and raffle prizes all are planned for the event. The Silver Soirée: Speakeasy is made possible through the support of Republic Bank and Trust, the event’s Presenting Diamond Sponsor.

Proceeds from the event will benefit a school bus fund, which helps Oklahoma schools offset transportation costs related to educational field trips to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

This event is open to those who are age 21 and above with valid identification. Tickets are $75 for Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Association members, $100 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased online at bit.ly/SilverSpeakeasy, or over the phone at (405) 325-5990.

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located in the OU Arts District on the corner of Elm Avenue and Boyd Street, at 555 Elm Ave., on the OU Norman campus. Admission to the museum is complimentary to all visitors, thanks to a generous gift from the OU Athletics Department. Information and accommodations are available by calling (405) 325-4938 or visiting www.ou.edu/fjjma.

OU Art Museum to Open Contemporary Painter Robert Taylor Exhibition With Public Reception on Oct. 5

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Tulsa-based artist Robert Taylor combines significant symbolism with traditional and contemporary Native American themes in his evocative paintings. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma opens a new exhibition of works by the artist spanning three decades with a public lecture and reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5. The exhibition officially opens to museum visitors the following day at 10 a.m.

The opening events, as well as valet parking, are complimentary.

Taylor serves as the sixth guest artist in the university’s Jerome M. Westheimer, Sr. and Wanda Otey Westheimer Distinguished Visiting Artist Chair program. Past visiting artists have included James Surls, Christine Nofchissey McHorse and Hung Liu.

“The Jerome M. Westheimer, Sr. and Wanda Otey Westheimer Distinguished Visiting Artist program provides the opportunity for the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art to exhibit the work of a contemporary artist of significant merit,” said Mark White, the museum’s Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director.

“This year, we are extremely pleased to host Robert Taylor as the sixth guest artist,” he said. “In addition to the exhibition, Taylor will work with the students of the OU School of Visual Arts. This important program would not be possible without the generosity of Mrs. Wanda Otey Westheimer and her family and, on behalf of the Board of Visitors of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the OU Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, I would like to express our utmost appreciation for their continued support.”

Taylor was born in Tulsa in 1951, and is of Blackfeet, Cherokee, Osage, Crow, Scottish and Black Dutch descent. Largely self-taught, Taylor borrows from multiple styles and genres such as Surrealism and Magic Realism to create mystical and often enigmatic images of nature, Native American tribal life and spiritual rituals. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Paul Pletka, John Biggers and Salvador Dali, Taylor tends toward a naturalistic representation, though he often exaggerates bodily proportions as a symbolic device to acknowledge the human connection to the earth and sky.

Butterflies, feathers, skulls and rainbows are just a few of the recurring images in Taylor’s work. Taylor says these images are part of his artistic lexicon.

“It helps with the vocabulary in your paintings and gives you another symbol of sorts to guide [viewers] around to what you’re trying to talk about,” Taylor said.

Taylor warns, however, not to take symbols at face value.

“I can only speak personally for myself but, for me, the symbology that I use changes once I label something,” he said. “As an artist, if you’re trying to convey a thought or a meaning, you have to have people understand your vocabulary, and that’s my vocabulary. What you almost want to do is put a legend at the bottom of each painting: an egg represents this and the cross actually represents this.”

Taylor’s paintings often depict figures from Native American life at the end of the reservation era, around the turn of the 20th century, but his interest in mysticism often gives the work an enigmatic tone. He describes his deeply symbolic works as a response to a variety of religious traditions.

Taylor attended Central Missouri State and the University of Tulsa, though he never completed a formal education. He was drafted into the Navy, where he served from 1970 to 1972. Taylor has exhibited and received awards from the Trail of Tears exhibition at the Cherokee National Museum in Tahlequah, the Five Civilized Tribes Museum, the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial, the Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair, the Red Earth Festival and the Smithsonian Institution. In 2005, he was commissioned by the State of Oklahoma to create a triptych commemorating the U.S. marshals who served in Indian Territory.

In addition to works on display inside the museum, multiple works are on display inside the OU Health Sciences Center’s Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library and several locations on the OU Norman campus.

Distinguished Visiting Artist: Robert Taylor is on display through Dec. 30 in the museum’s Nancy Johnston Records Gallery. A hands-on space included in the exhibition allows children and families to further explore Taylor’s artwork through an art activity and gallery guide with prompts about symbolism in his works. A gallery talk presented by the artist is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6. A Family Day event with an art activity for all ages is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, and a community event celebrating Native American Heritage Month with food, dance and a collaborative art activity is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2.

Opening on the same evening in the adjacent Ellen and Richard L. Sandor Gallery is a small exhibition of works by contemporary videographer/photographer Janne Höltermann. Three series of works examine the human perspective and conception of space through architecture and airplane flight trajectories. The exhibition also is on display through Dec. 30.

More information about these exhibitions and related programs is available on the museum’s website at www.ou.edu/fjjma.

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located in the OU Arts District on the corner of Elm Avenue and Boyd Street, at 555 Elm Ave., on the OU Norman campus. Admission to the museum is complimentary to all visitors, thanks to the generosity of the OU Office of the President and the OU Athletics Department. The museum is closed on Mondays. Information and accommodations are available by calling (405) 325-4938 or visiting www.ou.edu/fjjma.



Contemporary Tulsa-based painter Robert Taylor is the subject of a new exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. Distinguished Visiting Artist: Robert Taylor opens Thursday evening, Oct. 5, and includes paintings such as this 1998 work, In the Mourning of the Night They Come to Me.

Robert Lee Taylor (U.S., b. 1951)
In the Mourning of the Night They Come to Me, 1998
Acrylic, 20 x 16 in.
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. R.E. Mansfield, 2003

Reboot Your Creativity with International Artist Skip Hill

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Everyone has an artist lurking within. Undercover Artists is a series of art workshops — led by some of Norman's finest artists — debuting in 2017 that celebrates the creativity of amateurs and practiced artists, alike. The workshops, inviting all skill levels and a variety of ages, are equal parts fun and informative, a collaborative community experience that will let that inner artist come to the forefront for a spell (or maybe unleash a new, long love affair).

The next workshop in the series is Asking Your Creativity to Dance: A Creative Reboot with Skip Hill from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 7 at MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main. The beloved international artist will share his story and advice for getting back up on the horse after a long break away from art and other creative work.

"If there is one phrase I hear more than any other from creatives it's, 'I wish I could get back to making my art again,'" Hill said. "My first question is usually 'Why did you stop?' followed by 'What will it take to get you making Art again? How do you make space in your life for an art practice? How do you re-engage the creative activity that at one point brought you so much joy, expression and challenge?'"

Rebooting your inner artist, uncovering your internal creative blocks to making art, and learning exercises and strategies to overcome those creative blocks is the purpose of this two hour workshop facilitated by artist Skip Hill.


Skip Hill creates lyrical collage paintings and drawings that blend High and Low aesthetics through a tapestry of styles rooted in cultures around the world. Hill's images and forms are drawn from such diverse sources as comic books, Folk art, tribal textiles, Ukiyo prints, Asian calligraphy, and Western Art History to produce Art that engages the viewer in a visually meditative experience. His artwork is found in private and public collections in the US, the UK, France, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and the Netherlands.

Norman Arts Council Announces RFQ for Central Norman Library Public Art Project

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APPLY AT: https://www.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=4704

Norman Arts Council on behalf of The City of Norman and Norman Forward Percent for Art, for Norman Public Library Central, is seeking an artist (or team of artists) to create a significant work of art for the new Norman Public Library Central Branch to be located at 103 West Acres Street, Norman, Oklahoma.

Norman is a growing, progressive city located 20 miles south of downtown Oklahoma City and is the third-largest city in Oklahoma. The citizens of Norman initiated NORMAN FORWARD, a proposal to renovate, expand, construct and fund Quality of Life projects, such as multiple recreational facilities, libraries, parks, athletic venues, public art, trails, swim complexes and other quality of life projects throughout Norman.  The initiative went to the City Council from community groups, stakeholders and Norman residents, who prepared an initial package using analysis and information from recreational planning professionals and research firms. In 2015, the City Council placed NORMAN FORWARD on a ballot that was overwhelmingly supported by Norman voters. For more information about Norman, please see http://www.normanok.gov/cm/norman-forward and www.visitnorman.com.

The Norman Public Library Central Branch is part of the Pioneer Library System whose mission is to inspire innovation, engagement and learning in our communities. This mission is realized through cutting edge technologies and 21st century customer service strategies. The oldest of eight multi-county library systems in Oklahoma, Pioneer began in 1958 and serves Cleveland, McClain and Pottawatomie counties with branch libraries in ten communities including Norman.

The library will be in a located in an area that is historically significant and in the heart of Norman. There are historic homes in the neighborhoods to the East and to the South sits Andrew’s Park, established in the late 1890s and improved during the New Deal, between 1935 and 1937, which is a verdant and beloved space. This area is also the hub for Legacy Trail that creates links across town -- connecting the library and downtown to the University of Oklahoma (further south) and Ruby Grant Park in the far northwest part of Norman.

The new library will also be near City Hall, the city’s administrative services offices, and a very vibrant downtown including the designated Walker Arts District.

The Library

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Norman Public Library Central Branch will provide its users with 21st century services with new models of information access, digital/physical collections and spaces that support active and participatory learning.

The first floor of the building is parallel and at the same elevation as the regional rail tracks that follow Legacy Trails and James Garner Ave. By rotating the upper two floors, the amount of daylight and visual integration of the interior spaces with the natural surroundings of gardens, a small reading grove, public plaza, and Andrews Park is enhanced.

Entrances to the first floor are easily accessible to vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle traffic and bring the visitor into the information marketplace of the library and children’s collections. Digital literacy will be supported in the library with a digital classroom, maker space, and lending services. Computer stations, adult collections, study rooms and meeting rooms will be located on the upper two floors. An outdoor terrace will overlook the plaza and Andrews Park.

The Artwork

The Project Team has determined that the most effective artwork will be a monumental,  exterior piece located in either of the two spaces indicated on the attached site plan. Because the library is one story where the plaza is located, (the circle on the attached plan), a component of the artwork could be located on the roof of that story which would make it very visible from the other two stories when viewed from inside the library. (The limit weight load of the roof would have to be determined and taken into consideration.)

Since the work of art will be outside, it should complement the natural beauty of the site and the architecture of the building as well as welcome all visitors to the library. The artwork should also express qualities inherent in all libraries, e.g. a sense of wonderment, curiosity, learning and inclusiveness. Visitors, staff, and customers should be able to interact with the chosen artwork by listening to it or observing it reacting to changes in light, seasons or weather.

It is the desire of the Project Team for this work of art be a very visible addition to the cultural fabric of Norman relating to its history, but also its current importance to the state and country, as well as its future. Because the library and this art will be located in the heart and administrative center of the city, it is hoped that it will become an iconic symbol of the spirit of Norman.

The Project Team is open to any media or material that is appropriate to the site as long as it is durable, safe, low maintenance and vandalism resistant.


The total artist's fee for the project is $230,000.00. This amount must cover all associated costs including design, materials, fabrication, lighting, travel, insurance coverage, shipping and installation.

Artist Eligibility

Open to professional artists with experience working on public art projects of this scale and creating site-specific works.


  • RFQ Deadline: Friday, October 27, 2017 at 11:00pm (CST)

The following dates are subject to change:

  • Notify Artists:  By Wednesday, December 20, 2017
  • Finalists’ Site Visit: By Friday, January 12, 2018
  • Finalists’ Presentation of Proposals: By Friday, March 2, 2018
  • Selection of Artist: By Thursday, March  16, 2018
  • Opening of Norman Public Library Central: June 15, 2019

Application Guidelines

Submissions for this project must contain the following materials:

  • A one page maximum typed letter of interest outlining your qualifications for and interest in the project, as well as the general idea for your approach.  Please consider the following questions when developing your letter of interest:
    • Why do you want to work on this project?
    • How would you approach this project? 
    • What materials do you work with that would be appropriate for outdoor use?
    • Have you worked on similar projects? If not, what relevant experiences do you have?
    • How does the project relate to your current work?
  • Resume (not to exceed three pages)
  • 10 to 15 digital high resolution images of previous work you feel would support your ability to carry out this project
  • Annotated image list in desired priority of viewing that corresponds with the names of the digital files and includes the following information:
    • Artist’s name, Title of artwork, medium, size, date of artwork completion, location and project details (i.e. Budget commissioning agency, etc., if public art).
    • The list should be sorted in desired priority of viewing.
    • A list of three references with whom you have worked on a public art project, including current telephone number and/or email address.

Questions or for more information, contact:
Debby Williams, Norman Arts Council, Percent for Art Project Manager

Committee and Selection Criteria

The artist will be selected based on the materials submitted---please see the Application Guidelines above. Selection for this project will be made by a panel including stakeholders, design professionals, a City representative, a member of the Norman Public Art board and members of the arts community. The panel will be looking at the merit of the artist’s work, past experience at completing projects on time and within budget, and appropriateness and maintenance requirements of the proposed concept. The Panel will also consider artists who can demonstrate sensitivity to the site and surroundings. Artists must be able to commit and effectively work within the project timeline and collaborate with the Library administration.

Selection Process

The Selection Panel will review applicants’ submissions and then select three finalists who will come to Norman for a mandatory site visit to meet with the Project Team and others. They will be paid a $750.00 allowance to cover transportation, hotel and per diem expenses for the site visit. After the site visit, they will be asked to create a site specific design proposal that will include:

  • a scale model, maquette, or computer generated design
  • an itemized budget
  • a project timeline
  • project narrative
  • maintenance plan

The finalists selected will each be awarded an honorarium of $1,250.00 for their proposal. Finalists will be required to present their proposals in person to the Selection Panel. Artists will receive a $750.00 allowance for transportation, hotel and per diem expenses for the proposal presentations. The Selection Panel will make the final decision on the artist awarded the project.

Commissioning of artists is implemented without preference to racial or ethnic origins, sex, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability or age.