OK Contemporary grand opening drawing nearer
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center is working through a phased opening plan so guests can have their first chance to visit the new museum.
On March 12, the day before its scheduled grand opening, Oklahoma Contemporary’s management closed its doors to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As Oklahoma City businesses and organizations grapple with out to best open while coronavirus cases climb, the arts center is working double-time to bring the museum to the public in the safest way possible.
“We have spent the weeks following the public health emergency consulting with medical professionals, civic officials and peer organizations. We have developed a data-based, phased plan to support our local arts community, expand our digital programming and, eventually, open our doors to the public,” said Eddie Walker, Oklahoma Contemporary executive director.
The arts center’s new 4.6-acre campus is located at 11 NW 11th St. The 54,000-square-foot building is home to galleries, classroom studios, performance spaces, community lounge, café and outdoor spaces.
“We are eager to share our incredible exhibitions, engaging art classes and new programs. But the wellbeing of our community comes first. In light of the continuing threat, we decided to cancel all programs and remain closed through at least mid-July,” Walker said.
If conditions allow, late in the summer, Oklahoma Contemporary will begin offering free timed ticketing to inaugural exhibitions Bright Golden Haze and Shadow on the Glare. The exhibitions have been extended through the fall to allow more time for visitors to experience the blockbuster shows.
In the interim, the ramping up of creative digital content and programs has increased through Contemporary’s blog, New Light, and on social media, according to Lori Brooks, director of communications. Through biweekly interviews, livestreamed videos and other engaging content, readers get an inside glimpse into the creative working processes of contemporary artists at home and in Oklahoma Contemporary’s studio facilities.
“Our staff is now returning to our facilities, which will allow us to share even more virtual exhibition tours and workshops, projects with local artists and other programs,” Brooks said. “This creative content will allow our visitors to engage even more deeply with the new arts center and the artists.”
The arts center retained all of its full-time staff and has no plans at this time to reduce the talented team in place making the journey to reopen possible.
“We will get through this. And when we do, Oklahoma Contemporary will be there to connect you with the kinds of arts experiences that will help us heal and to celebrate art’s unique power to bring people together,” Walker said.
This story originally appeared in the July 2020 edition of The Point.