Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Selecting Art, Art Business Skills: Waylon Summers, Momentum Curator

Guest Author: Joey Stipek, Summer Intern

Momentum is an annual exhibition that features Oklahoma artists 30 years and younger, working in all various media including art, film, performance, and large scale installations. Momentum’s mission is to present a diversified look at emerging artistic talent in Oklahoma. The Tulsa version opens 8 p.m. until midnight, October 8th, 2011 at Living Arts, 307 E. Brady in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Guest curators for the Tulsa edition of Momentum are Oklahoma City Museum of Art film curator Brian Hearn along with emerging curator, Tulsa’s Lovetts Gallery director Waylon Summers. The curators selected three artists for Spotlight awards, for which the artists receive $1,750 and three months of curatorial guidance.

I had the honor of communicating with Summers via e-mail and asking him questions about his thought process as one of the curators behind the Tulsa edition of Momentum. Below is the question and answer session from our conversation.
Waylon Summers, Momentum Tulsa Emerging Curator
JS: As the guest curator for this year edition of Momentum, what drew you in particular to the Spotlight artist’s work you've selected?
Having been in the art industry for over a decade and having reviewed thousands of portfolios - innovative ideas, powerful design, and technical mastery are rarities (particularly within in one portfolio).  What drew me, in particular, to these three [Spotlight] artists was a combination of concept originality, narrative development, consideration for the venue and audience, likelihood of successful execution, and, interestingly, an acknowledgment that although their concept may not be entirely original, their ability to execute and convey their narrative to the audience makes their proposal worth investing in.

JS: With both you and Brian having a diverse background is there a medium emphasis either one of your chose when selecting the work for Momentum?
I can't speak for Brian, but I did look for three artists that spanned mediums, however, that did not trump the requirements mentioned above.

 JS: Previously, you had been selected as one of the Tulsa Business Journals 40 under 40, for impact on business in Tulsa and community involvement/visibility, why is Momentum in Tulsa so important to the community?
OVAC has offered so many great programs to Tulsa, including Momentum.  They are an indispensible asset responsible for tirelessly promoting the arts in Oklahoma. Momentum, specifically, provides an opportunity for young artists to hone their ideas while gaining tangible experience in taking a project from concept to fruition, while maintaining an ongoing dialogue with art professionals, a hard timeline with multiple deadlines, and accountability to a "governing" entity. Collegiate art programs rarely equip artists with the business skills that are requisite for success in the industry.  Momentum helps facilitate the conversation and mechanics of the business of art.

Artists may submit to the survey exhibition by September 12. See the call for entries here.
Tickets to the October 8 opening party are $7 in advance or $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at, or by phone at 405-879-2400. Regular gallery hours are free to attend.

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