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Joy Reed Belt: A Joy for Life



 

I’ve Never Known Anyone Named “Joy” Who Didn’t Personify Her Name.

Dr. Joy Reed Belt is no exception. A conversation
with the ebullient Dr. Belt is exactly that: a joy.
The joy-joy-joy-joy-down-in-my-heart kind of joy.

The principal of Joy Reed Belt and Associates, Inc.,
an Oklahoma City-based executive search firm,
Belt is a licensed professional counselor, a voracious reader and amasser of books (paper and digital), an enthusiastic, lifelong learner and the owner and director of JRB Art
at The Elms, an award-winning gallery (and arguably the brightest jewel) in the historic Paseo Arts District crown.


Where did you grow up?

I was born in Louisville, but my father was a pastor, so we lived all over. I went to high school in Ft. Smith, Arkansas.
 

Is it true that the pastor’s kids are the wildest?

I wasn’t really “wild.” I was probably challenging, in some ways. My father used to say that my curiosity worried him.
 

Was it hard or sad to move around all the time?

No – I enjoyed it. Because of my father’s job, we would move somewhere new every few years and the church was sort of an instant community.  
 

Where did you go to college?

Ouachita (in Arkansas) for my undergraduate. I was a drama major. For my graduate degree (from the University of Arkansas), I studied guidance counseling and literature. I received a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Oklahoma, followed by three years of post-doctorate work at the Menninger School of Psychiatry.
 

What did you think you were going to be when you went to college?

I was a singer, but I really liked drama and realized that I especially enjoyed the variety that came with the “behind the scenes” part of drama — directing, costumes and makeup. Later, I taught drama, speech, debate and English.
 

What was your first paying job?

My first paying job was working at a shoe store. I always loved the idea of working. I would also get paid for different singing jobs. I had to sing in church to earn my allowance.
 

Singing in church would have been much better than my crummy chores!

I really wanted to be a blues singer, but I could not see the path — not from where I was at the time.  
 

What are you obsessed with?

Books! They’re so important to me. I began reading from a very early age. I enjoy everything — fiction, literature, mystery, art … at any point in time, I might be reading five different books. Luckily, I have a Kindle, which I carry with me all the time.
 

What do you wish you’d started doing long before now?

I don’t know. I see life as three different acts. I’m in the third act now, but I couldn’t be here without acts one and two. What I did then has brought me to this act.
 

What should people try to do at least once?

Buy a painting or a piece of art they like, just because they like it. It’s amazing how someone will fall in love with a piece and connect with it at a very emotional or visceral level, and then they start to intellectualize it by asking, “Is this good? Is it valuable?” I always tell them, “If you like it, then it’s good!” They should learn to trust the emotional connection, and leave it at that.
 

My guess is that a lot of people experience that connection, then they leave and the painting haunts them until they come back for it.

That is exactly what happens and when they come back, the painting is usually sold to someone else!
 

How did your path lead to becoming the owner of such an incredible art gallery?

John (my late husband) bought me a few painting lessons in 1999 because he thought they’d be a way for me to relax. I ended up opening a gallery — he never saw that coming!
 

Most people remember John as a lifelong supporter and promoter of the arts with a great heart for the community. How long were you two married?

35 years.
 

What was the most important character trait John exemplified in 35 years?

Patience. He was an old soul who took the long view on things. Once he identified a goal, he moved toward it and stayed the course, long after most people would have given up. He was also the most positive person I’ve ever known. I miss his wonderful mind. I miss the friendship we shared.
 

Jonathan Hils, “Flamenco”


There are a lot of tangible reminders of John in this city. The new “Flamenco” sculpture (at NW 29th and Paseo Drive in the Paseo Arts District) is a stunning tribute to John’s contributions to that community and our city. What goes through your mind when you see that?

I feel fortunate that there are so many tangible reminders of him. Every time I turn at 30th and Paseo and I see all those colorful buildings, it’s like getting a hug.
 

Were there unfinished projects of his that you’ll see to completion?

Yes. There is a 30,000-square-foot building (in the Paseo District) that he called “The Plunge.” He was in the process of converting it to a multi-use space for artists and theatre groups and local businesses. I’m going to try to finish it. It has to be brought up to code and I’ve had to learn a ton. I should get an honorary doctorate in heating and A/C management, I tell ya!
 

What are you most grateful for?

My life. 


 

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September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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