OKC Arts Scene Must Be Seen
November 21, 2018
Oklahoma City is home to a wide variety of cultural events and venues. Art, live music, dance, theatre . . . all have a long-standing and active presence in the community. ART The Oklahoma City Museum of Art serves more than 125,000 visitors annually from all 50 states and 30 foreign countries. It presents exhibitions from prestigious museums throughout the world and has a permanent collection of contemporary art, European and American art from the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries, and one of the world’s largest public collections of glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly. In addition, the museum’s repertory cinema screens the finest international, independent, and classic films. Locals are known to frequent the Museum Store, the Roof Terrace, and the Museum Cafe, a full-service restaurant, open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. The official gallery for the Individual Artists of Oklahoma an organization that supports and features local artists from all over the state, is located less than a mile from OKCMOA. Exhibits rotate regularly, and the work on display comes from every conceivable genre, including film. A venue in the rear of the building regularly features poetry readings, as well as various other types of performance, including music. Although it will soon have a new $26 million home at N.W. 11th and Broadway, the showroom for Oklahoma Contemporary currently houses exhibitions, serves as an arts venue and curates an art library. Oklahoma Contemporary partners with Marfa Contemporary in Marfa, Texas, and the Green Box Arts Festival in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, to feature some of the best regional and national artists. This organization encourages artistic expression in all its forms through education and exhibitions. The Paseo Arts District is known for its eclectic art galleries (many attached to working artists’ studios) and shops, as well as its distinctive Spanish Revival architecture. The area is home to more than 22 galleries that feature the work of approximately 80 artists. The first Friday of every month, all the galleries are open from 6 to 10 p.m. for the monthly Art Walk. LIVE MUSIC With shows year round, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic offers a combination of classics, pops and discovery family series. Conductor Joel Levine oversees an outstanding collection of musicians, and world-renowned musicians and vocalists are featured every season. Musical groups like singer-songwriters, alternative rockers, bluegrass, and country artists play at The Criterion in Bricktown. An adaptable seating venue that can hold up to 4,000, this facility allows for smaller, more intimate shows, has a state of the art sound system, and a full bar for concert-goers. It draws the best local and regional acts. It’s possible to see jazz, rock, country, swing or just about any other style of music at The Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma. Although a degree program, it is also an event center and, unlike the university, is located in Bricktown. Contemporary in focus, the venue regularly hosts performers—including comedians—with regional and national profiles. DANCE With a season that runs from October through April, the Oklahoma City Ballet boasts an international group of dancers, many trained in some of the best schools in the world. Artistic Director Robert Mills has a repertory that includes classical works like Giselle, Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet, as well as more contemporary masters like George Ballanchine and Twyla Tharp. THEATRE Alma mater of such Broadway stars as Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara, Oklahoma City University, along with regional and national artists, partners with CityRep Theatre to offer a full slate of outstanding contemporary and classic plays and musicals. Lyric Theatre, founded in 1963, is the state’s leading professional theatre company. Lyric produces classic and contemporary musicals, new works, and plays featuring artists from Oklahoma and around the nation. Shows are presented at two Oklahoma City venues — the intimate Plaza Theatre and in the summer at the grand Civic Center Music Hall. OKC Broadway brings the best in traveling Broadway productions to Oklahoma City audiences. Performances are held at the Civic Center and tickets can be obtained for single performances or subscriptions for the entire season are available as well.