The arts scene is flourishing in Oklahoma’s second largest city, Tulsa. From amazing non-profit organisations in the Brady Arts District and top-notch galleries in Brookside to world-renowned museums, local and regional artists are able to shine along side internationally renowned talent. With many disciplines on display at any given time, we explore ten of the best contemporary art venues in Tulsa.
Exhibit by Aberson is a contemporary gallery that showcases works by emerging and mid-career artists many of whom have ties to Oklahoma. A beautiful and modern space, the gallery exhibits a varity of media including painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed-media works. A couple of extraordinary talents represented at Exhibit include Kimber Berry, an abstract expressionist who creates colourful organic paintings, and John Paul Philippe, a painter and sculptor, who works with a variety of materials.
108 Contemporary — formerly known as the Brady Craft Alliance — is a non-profit organisation that has dedicated itself to promoting and featuring contemporary fine craft in its establishment. Housed in the 1922 restored Mathews Building in the Brady Arts District, this state-of-the-art gallery holds exhibitions, featuring both local and international talent, that highlight a variety of craft media, including glass, paper, and fibre works to name but a few, plus there is a shop where Oklahoma artists, who are members, can sell their artworks. The gallery also welcomes installations and performance pieces as well as offering numerous educational opportunities for both adults and children.
Established in 1969, Living Arts is a non-profit organisation in the Brady Arts District that develops and highlights contemporary art in Tulsa. Housed in a large old warehouse, this institution has ample space for exhibitions, performance pieces, and educational demonstrations and classes for the public. This gallery showcases both local and national artists in all stages of their careers and features an artist-in-residence programme.
TAC Gallery is the exhibition space for the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition. A non-profit and volunteer-run space in the Brady Arts District, the coalition was established in 1986 to help local and regional contemporary talent in their artistic endeavours. Realising that the best way to help artists was to give them a space for exhibitions, they opened the gallery in 1996. Each year they showcase 10 month-long exhibitions — solo or group shows — featuring emerging and established artists representing a variety of media. Many artists have been featured at this gallery, including abstract painters Libby Williams and Deanna Chafin and photographer M.J. Alexander to name but a few.
The Philbrook Museum — housed in a Italian Renaissance-style villa with acres of beautiful gardens — is a renowned art museum specialising in a variety of art genres from antiquities to Modern and contemporary art. Wanting a space to showcase its growing collections of Modern and contemporary art and Native American art, the satellite facility, Philbrook Downtown, opened in 2013. Located in the Brady Arts District in an historic warehouse, the gallery features two floors of exhibition space, which highlight the works of world-renowned artists, such as Jean Dubuffet, Arturo Herrera, Allan Houser, and Maria Martinez to name but a few. With plenty of natural light and wooden floors, artworks can really shine in this modern space.
The Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa Hardesty Arts Center, better known as its acronym AHHA, is a non-profit organisation that promotes arts and culture throughout the Tulsa region. While the council was established in 1961, the centre opened in 2012 providing exhibition galleries on two floors, classrooms, studios and more. The AHHA showcases changing exhibitions of varying media throughout the year, which are often in collaboration with local and regional artists and organisations.
The Gilcrease Museum is a partnership between the city of Tulsa and University of Tulsa. Founded in 1949, the museum specialises in the art and artifacts of the American West from colonial times to the present, plus they have an extensive collection of Native American art. Each year they hold two exhibitions that showcase contemporary Western art: Rendezvous Artists’ Retrospective and Art Sale, and Collectors’ Reserve: Small Works Exhibition and Sale. Two contemporary artists currently featured in the Retrospective show include painter Greg Beecham and sculptor Ross Matteson. The beautiful artwork flows outside as well with the museum’s 23 acres of exquisite theme gardens in which art lovers can stroll.
Joseph Gierek Fine Art — located on the historic Route 66 — has been a staple in the Tulsa arts community for many years and is constantly voted as one of the best galleries in Oklahoma. Seeking to educate anyone who visits his gallery, Gierek has been helping art collectors start or expand their collections for over 30 years. A variety of media is represented, including painting, glass, and sculpture, by an impressive list of mid-career and established artists, such as painter Gregory Horndeski, Harriette Joffe, who works in a variety of media, and famed photographer Annie Leibovitz to name but a few. The gallery also hosts several exhibitions each year.
Mary Ann Doran opened her gallery in 1979, and it has been at its current location in the Brookside neighbourhood since 1988. A popular gallery featuring local and national contemporary art, with popular choices being contemporary realism and abstract works, M. A. Doran Gallery highlights a wide-range of artists and disciplines, including painting, sculpture, and American crafts. Solo and group exhibitions are held several times each year on the ground floor of the gallery and feature represented artists, such as mixed media artist Jeanie Gooden, glass artist Kreg Kallenberger, and painter Marjorie Atwood. The second floor contains a more regular display of artworks from a wider selection of artists giving art patrons many options.
Wanting to create a space that could host events and showcase the artworks of local talent, local artist and tattooist Daniel Gulick opened Colour in 2013. This eclectic space is part gallery where solo and group exhibitions and other events, like fashion shows, are held while the other part is a boutique where locals can sell their handmade goods, such as jewellery and clothing. Art exhibited represents a variety of media including painting and glasswork. Past artists featured at Colour include printmaker May Yang and illustrator and painter Jeff Brame, and a future show set for this summer, Feral Heart, will showcase paintings by local artists Erin Owen and Ashlyn Metcalf. Colour is a unique gallery that art lovers will not want to miss.