Monday, October 1, 2012

Reanimating Cimarron County: MJ Alexander

Guest Author: Cayla Lewis

Creative Projects Grant: IN NO MAN'S LAND: Portraits of the OK Panhandle
M.J. Alexander, Mike Leonard, outside the Loaf & Jug, 
photography, 2012
Oklahoma City resident, M.J. Alexander, has recently been exploring the lesser-populated areas of Oklahoma in her recent project, IN NO MAN'S LAND: Portraits of the OK Panhandle. She starts in western Cimmaron County, where the population is less than 2 people per square mile, and makes her way east through Texas and Beaver counties.

With help from OVAC’s Creative Projects Grant, Alexander hopes to travel to these places, photographing and interviewing the residents of western Oklahoma. Using her background in Journalism and American Culture, she will create a series of photographs displaying the dwindling population of pioneers living in the far-western counties of Oklahoma.
MJ Alexander, The De Casas Twins
Andrea and Alexis
, photography, 2012
Her creative project will include larger-than-life portraits installed on storefronts and abandoned buildings in April 2013, with the intention not to portray a poverty or drought-stricken world but to “allow residents the vantage point to consider their everyday selves as epic and larger-than-life portrayal.” IN NO MAN'S LAND: Portraits of the OK Panhandle  will be a a “celebration of the spirit of Cimarron County the spirit that has kept Cimarron County going through boom and bust,” and the attitudes and personalities of the people that reside there.

Alexander has shown in many solo and group exhibitions all over the state and country as well as provided photography and interviews for many books regarding the American West, including Salt of the Red Earth and Portrait of a Generation: Sons and Daughters of the Red Earth, both of which she is the author and illustrator.

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition invests in artists’ project through grants for growing careers, creative projects and exceptional continuing education. Find grant guidelines and application here. Free workshops about how to apply will be held September 8 & October 13. 

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