In town: Kaye leaves the Visual Arts Coalition

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Lillie-Beth Brinkman

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition said hello to a new director and new Momentum artists while saying goodbye to its executive director at a Spotlight Preview reception Wednesday at the 21c Museum Hotel in Oklahoma City.

Khystle Kaye, director of OVAC for five years, has resigned. At the artists’ reception last week, OVAC announced that Danielle Ezell will serve as interim director and lead the search committee for the next one.

Ezell has owned several businesses, served on the management team of a multinational corporation and led several nonprofits, OVAC noted on social media. She is a senior certified human resources professional with a public relations credential.

During the pandemic, Kaye has pivoted programs to meet emerging community needs. Programs include the new 2020 OK Art Crawl, a statewide self-guided arts festival crawl that won a Pivot Award from the Paseo Arts Association. The organization also distributed $80,000 in pandemic relief funds to artists through a partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation.

“Krystle has been a significant leader who has brought insightful and sustainable growth to OVAC while expanding our statewide support for Oklahoma’s growing arts community,” said Douglas Sorocco, Chairman of the Board of OVAC. “Krystle leaves OVAC ready to engage Oklahoma’s arts community in a transformational way.”

Work from OVAC’s three current Momentum artists was also on display, including sculpture by Carrie Kouts, which included a concrete cast of organic materials; paintings by Shyanne Dickey, who explore her family’s heritage as black farmers; and the intricate mixed media work of Kayla Ohlmer, whose primary focus is glass art.

To learn more about OVAC, visit ovac-ok.org.

Artwork off the wall

Oklahoma Contemporary features three artists in a new immersive art exhibit that explores its Mary LeFlore Clements Oklahoma Gallery space.

The exhibit, “Off the Wall,” features site-appropriate works by Oklahoma-based artists Sarah Ahmad, Romy Owens and Marium Rana, according to a press release. I enjoyed seeing the unique works at the opening reception last week. Each artist had a different take on their spaces and explored “suspension, tension and intersection” in their work, as an exhibition note states.

Owens’ “Nothing Can Be Perfect” fiber installation looks almost like an architectural extension of the corner, with stretched ropes in pale colors lined up in space.

Ahmad’s work “Jaali: ‘Only with the heart can you touch the sky.’ (Rumi)” looks at geometric shapes inspired by his Pakistani heritage. The orange-red three-dimensional artwork also reflects the shadows on the walls around it, adding another dimension.

Rana’s collection of printed papers suspended in flowing panels, “Awaiting Arrival”, a range of different media types – acrylic, watercolour, vinyl, decorative paper, embroidery, silver leaf, children’s book pages finds and metallic film – to make colorful displays telling of her experiences in the United States as an immigrant.

For more information, visit okcontemp.org.

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