First Friday Art Crawl

It’s free. Do it. What better way to spend your Friday night  (or start your Friday night if you’re a young one.) Art crawl is attended by young and old. You can “art crawl” with your girlfriends, your spouse or better, yet, your family! I’ve done the art crawl in a couple of cities in the aforementioned ways. I have to say, taking my sons along was very rewarding and definitely in the spirit of gypsy family travel! When we took all three of our sons to an art crawl out of town, it enhanced and multiplied our appreciation for a variety of art forms since we were exposed to all of their various interpretations. When we took our youngest son only, (to the one in Tulsa) it was a nice one-on-one time with him….especially when he decided to put up his phone and get into it. Patience is a virtue and it paid off because once he stopped texting his friends to see if any of them  were nearby us in a gallery, he enjoyed the art crawl as much as his parents.

In the Woody Guthrie Center, our son used the headphones to engage in a particular exhibit. We viewed the interesting guitars and other string instruments in the display cases at our own pace. As I walked around the gallery, I thought, “what a nice tourist attraction this will be for our future guests coming to Tulsa.” We’ve exhausted the usual tourist attractions when we go sightseeing with our own guests here so I am excited to see all the new downtown developments that will impress our visitors. I asked the receptionist what the connection Kris Kristofferson has to the Woody Guthrie Center. His portrait/mural is on the outside of the building and his CD is for sale in the gift shop. She explained that the museum honors a new recipient  every year for the Woody Guthrie award. The award goes to an artist who is doing positive things for social causes. It helps to ask questions!

The AHHA, Philbrook Loft, Woody Guthrie Center, Zarrow Center and the Living Arts galleries were some of the ones we enjoyed on the crawl. In one particular gallery, we were given big, red paper hearts to place in front of our favorite piece of art. Each of us chose a different one so again, that was interesting to see how we each had a different way of appreciating art. This would be a great way to engage your preschoolers or elementary aged children, too. Kinesthetic and visual! Our son did an interactive art form using a projector and pieces of letters and forms. This was such a popular activity, he had to wait in line for his turn. He used teenage humor in his design which amused some spectators. Watching various children interact and design reminded me that art is subjective.

The Living Arts of Tulsa museum was the climactic exhibit for us with its dazzling, chromatic glass blown art. Absolutely gorgeous! Textural patterns, bright and abstract pieces attracted couples musing about buying the pieces for their homes. In addition to the glass art and another exhibit, there was a provocative exhibit called Chunkism. The fleshscapes, as they are called, were designed to create a visceral reaction in the viewer. The large nudes painted in earth tones, (mostly faceless) evoked confrontational and subconscious emotion (according to the exhibit info). A staff member interviewed me and my son about our reactions on the exhibit and recorded us. While I was focused on the emotion of the paintings, dynamics and inspiration behind it, my teenage son shared his more light-hearted approach to the humor and entertainment of it.

The art crawl was free, fun, didn’t take long and it was nice stimulation for our family. With all the great restaurants to choose from in Downtown Tulsa, we walked over to Elgin Park restaurant for appetizers. Although it was winter and not as busy as the summer art crawls with more street artists, vendors, musicians and activity at the Guthrie Green, we still enjoyed a pedestrian downtown experience going from gallery to gallery and then ending up at a restaurant. Downtown Tulsa has come so far! Exciting and stimulating! Mark your calendars for the first Friday of every month  for this free by Gina

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