Artful Excursions

From some of the top museums in the country to local districts and galleries, when it comes to art adventures this summer the state has plenty to choose from.

Photo Courtesy Wichita Art Museum.
Photo Courtesy Wichita Art Museum.

[dropcap]Oklahoma[/dropcap] and its surrounding states have a wide variety of art museums and districts, with many hosting special exhibits over the summer that deserve special attention when planning your museum and art district travels.

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is hosting Matisse in His Time: Masterworks of Mondernism from the Centre Pompidou, Paris from June 18 until Sept. 18. The museum is the exclusive North American venue for the show, which showcases nearly 50 of Matisse’s paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints. The exhibition will run alongside others scheduled for the summer, including Our City, Our Collection: Building the Museum’s Lasting Legacy and Dale Chihuly: Magic & Light, along with the museum’s permanent collection.

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, also in Oklahoma City, offers innovative art exhibits year-round with free admission. The museum will be displaying works from artists in its first installment of Guerrilla Art Park, an outdoor sculpture exhibit located on the site of its future arts campus on NW 11th Street and Broadway Avenue, from June until September.

Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa. Photo courtesy Philbrook Museum of Art.
Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa. Photo courtesy Philbrook Museum of Art.

In Tulsa, Gilcrease Museum has several exhibitions planned for the summer months. West Mexico: Ritual and Identity, which runs from June 26 until Nov. 6, will feature a selection of ceramic figures and vessels from the Gilcrease collection, as well as pieces from public and private collections, and Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray, which runs from July 10 through Sept. 11, will provide a look at Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s most well-known female artist, through photographs by Nickolas Muray.

With two locations in Tulsa, Philbrook Museum of Art will be hosting exhibitions for any art lover. The museum’s downtown location is showing Cady Wells: Ruminations until October 2, and First Person, a collection by Lakota artists Stephen Standing Bear and Amos Bad Heart Bull, from June 11 until Nov. 20. The museum’s main location on Peoria Avenue will be exhibiting A Place in the Sun, a collection of paintings by Walter Ufer and E. Martin Hennings, until Aug. 28 and A Bestiary, a collection of lithographs by Eisabeth Frink and Rudy Pozzatti, from July 3 until Oct. 23.

The Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville, located in the historic building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is hosting Peanuts … Naturally, a light-hearted exhibit of Charles Schulz’s work through comic strips, videos and objects, from June 4 until Oct. 9.

Multiple options exist for art explorers in the surrounding states as well, including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The museum, which takes its name from a natural spring and the bridge construction used for the building, hosts a permanent collection spanning five centuries of American art, ranging from the colonial era to modern day. Other possible destinations include the Dallas Museum of Art, located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, the Wichita Art Museum, located on the Arkansas River in Kansas, the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the New Mexico Museum of Art and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, both in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Not all art is in museums, though, and there are many arts districts in the area that give people a chance to view and purchase art as well as visit other local businesses. In Tulsa, the Brady Arts District is home to art galleries, restaurants, bars and music venues. The district hosts events like the First Friday Art Crawl, held on the first Friday of every month. The area is located in downtown Tulsa and encourages visitors to “arrive early and stay late.” In Oklahoma City, the Paseo Arts District, the oldest arts district community in Oklahoma, also has First Friday Gallery Art Walks and is home to numerous local galleries, restaurants and retail businesses.

Art districts in Oklahoma aren’t limited to Tulsa and Oklahoma City, though. The Ada Arts District, located around the east end of Main Street in Ada, is home to artist studios, galleries, sculpture gardens and local businesses, and Artists Alley in Mangum gives visitors a chance to see several award-winning artists, dine in a local restaurant or shop for antiques.

From some of the top museums in the country to local districts that invite you to spend the day viewing art, dining and shopping, this area of the country has plenty to choose from for any Oklahomans looking for art adventures this summer.

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