Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 10 Art Experiences of the Year: Robbie Kienzle

By Robbie Kienzle, Liaison, Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs
City of Oklahoma City Planning
Oklahoma Contemporary staff jumping for joy on the site of their future location
  1. Oklahoma Contemporary’s announcement of its new branding effort and plans for new contemporary art facility downtown (February).  This was a much anticipated announcement, having worked on downtown development for most of my career at the City.  I eagerly wait to hear how the new facility will deliver a new range of arts experiences.
    Arts Council OKC student participants in the Community Arts Program
  2. Consultant Diane Mataraza’s completion of the Community Arts Program Study for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City and Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma (February).  Not only did this study help to complete another strategy of the Cultural Plan, but it revealed that there is a great demand in the community for arts learning experiences for all ages.  Now we just have to fine tune ways to market what’s available.
  3. Allied Arts announcement that it would add six new agencies (June).  Allied Arts hasn’t expended its membership in thirteen years and this is a testament to the hard working board and staff, the community’s continued philanthropic support and the readiness of the new agencies to go through the rigorous application process.  The celebrated new agencies are: deadCenter Film Festival, Firehouse Art Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Opry Heritage Foundation of Oklahoma, Red Earth, Inc., and Sooner Theatre.
  4. National Endowment for the Arts announced its 2013 Our Town grant recipients (July) and the Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma was awarded $50,000 to undertake a Comprehensive Public Art Master Plan for Oklahoma City.  Since the City’s 1% for Art ordinance was adopted by Council in 2009, there is great need for a master plan to guide policy and procedures. The support for this effort from the NEA is recognition for Oklahoma City that we’re moving in the right direction.
    OKC featured on culture now
  5. culture now: Museums Without Walls features Oklahoma City (September issue).  The Inasmuch Foundation supported the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs with a full-time summer intern devoted to research, writing and documenting the City’s existing public art collection in order to provide on line access to the public.  This was a big WOW for the City’s public art collection with over 50 works now on exhibit online plus an additional 100 architecturally important sites.
    Deborah Senner, Robbie Kienzle, Julie Hall, Erinn Gavaghan, Anna Thomas,
    Louis Price, Julia Kirt, & Peter Dolese on way to Brady Arts District tour in Tulsa. 
  6. Field trip from Oklahoma City to Brady Cultural District in Tulsa to meet with Stanton Doyle with the Kaiser Foundation and Ken Busby with the Hardesty Arts Center.  Guthrie Green, Hardesty Arts Center, Fly Lofts, Woody Guthrie Museum and more were part of a full day long journey with fellow Central Oklahoma arts colleagues.   This was both a bonding experience and in inspirational journey.  We left speechless from being tired and inspired by what we learned.
    Larth & Robbie Kienzle in front of their newly commissioned Anna Thomas sculpture
  7. Installation of commissioned work by emerging artist, Anna Thomas at my home (October).  My husband and I bought a 60’s modern ranch house in need of major renovation about a year ago in Shawnee.  To celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary, we commissioned an exterior wall sculpture from Anna Thomas.   This was the first original artwork I’ve purchased in years and it was so exciting to see the transformation to the outside of our house when the artwork was installed.
  8. Oklahoma Arts Council’s Annual Conference:  Home Grown Culture in Ardmore, Oklahoma (October).  The programming at this year’s conference was inspiring and very useful for the work I do. I rode the Heartland Flyer to the conference and learned about the Chickasaw Nation’s work in Sulphur in the preconference tour. Great experience all around. 
  9. Oklahoma City and Norman lecture and workshops by Manon Slome with the No Longer Empty Project.  Manon spent three days in Oklahoma City and Norman inspiring us with ways to use vacant and boarded properties as an asset and as a way to engage the community.  Her approach could expand OKC’s curatorial strengths as well as help put vacant properties back into productive use in neighborhoods and commercial districts.
  10. 21c Museum Hotels announced its plan to transform downtown’s historic Fred Jones plant into a hotel that doubles as a contemporary art gallery. This is so exciting for Oklahoma City and validates the years of planning, development and investment in downtown. It’s a game changer for the west end and Film Row and should make lots of new opportunities for local artists and arts organizations.
Happy New Year as we look forward to at least ten more!

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