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Erin Cooper: Artistic Impact

An OKC artist goes big



 



“Are you crazy?” That was Erin Cooper’s response when a group of Western Avenue leaders urged her to design and lead two other artists to create a mural 120 feet wide and 19 feet high. And it wasn’t in a secluded spot that only a few people would see. Thousands would, daily.
 

That strong response was because when they asked in early 2014, she had only begun the transition from abstract to figurative art.

“I had never even considered doing a mural before that,” she says. She was just starting to experiment with painting faces and the human figure.

But being a creative person who values change and challenge in her art, Cooper agreed.

Muralist The team did it. Cooper, Amanda Bradway and Lauren Miller completed the mural in October 2014. Now the public can enjoy “Oklahoma Aiukli” at NW 37th Street and Western Avenue in OKC.

The mural’s title comes from the model they used: the 13-year-old Choctaw woman Bella Aiukli, whose name means “beauty” in the Choctaw language. She is active in her tribe and a positive role model for others.

Cooper created the mural to incorporate visitors standing “in” the hands of Aiukli, and has been surprised by reactions to that feature.

“It’s really funny,” she says. “People tag me all the time in new photos of them interacting with that mural and the one over in the Plaza District Alley.”

That solo effort, “Our Crowns Are Bought and Paid For,” was completed in November 2015. Like the one on Western, the Plaza District mural was painted to allow interactions – a woman holds a crown at just the right height for most to pose as though it’s being placed on their heads.

A few examples of Cooper’s creative efforts, from paintings to massive murals


It’s part of a project called Plaza Walls, in which an alley behind the storefronts between N Indiana and N Gatewood avenues on 16th Street has been transformed into entryways for new shops and businesses. The extensive mural art there has made the alley an inviting space instead of the forbidding maze of dumpsters that it was before.

“The initial idea was about recognizing your self-worth, and acknowledging the struggles of the people who fought to make our lives better,” Cooper says.

Visual Artist Cooper’s training started with extensive schooling in the Air Force, where she learned many types of design. When she started experimenting with canvas visual art, it was more abstract and illustrative.

Making the shift from abstract to figurative art (that studies the human body) has been a significant recent development. It has meant one big, new start with murals, and now another start with small canvas pieces.

She just completed her first canvas figurative show at The Project Box in OKC’s Paseo District in March. “I just love her art,” says owner Lisa Jean Allswede. She approached Cooper about the show, and described herself as excited to have her there.

One gallery visitor that night was Vanessa McIntire, an art teacher from Mustang High School, who brought her students and eagerly pointed out the strong points of Cooper’s paintings. “It’s really nice,” McIntire says. “If I had the money, I would buy it.”

What’s Next? Currently completing several more large-scale public murals, Cooper says, “Public art is my big focus and interest.” She is working “to be better and faster and create more beautiful large-scale work.”

 

► Place Making

“Oklahoma Aiukli”
3704 N Western, OKC, viewable from NW 37th Street on the east side of Western Avenue

 

“Our Crowns Are Bought and Paid For”
Plaza Alley, OKC, behind storefronts just north of NW 16th Street between N Indiana and N Gatewood avenues

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Calendar

May 2018

The Blue Dome Arts Festival is an annual community event that focuses on promoting local artists, handcrafters and performers and has become a spring tradition for families across our great state....

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd & Elgin
200 S. Elgin Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Telephone: 405.236.3100
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This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
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No Events

Join the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy as we "wrap up" OK Foster Wishes for the season and kick off 2018! Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks while seeing your impact...

Cost: $50-$75

Where:
Dunlap Codding
609 W Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73102, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: 405.236.5437
Contact Name: Miranda Hines
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
J.L. Johnson Stadium
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
J.L. Johnson Stadium
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
J.L. Johnson Stadium
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

Oklahoma City's premier platform for improvised comedy theatre features weekly performances with shows Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Each show is $10, or see both for $15. Enjoy...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
NOIR Bistro & Bar
701 West Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
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

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
J.L. Johnson Stadium
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator’s Fun Park & Water Park is celebrating Memorial Day Weekend with $5 off Dual Park Passes. The passes include unlimited rides and attractions at both great parks for only...

Cost: $29.99

Where:
Andy Alligator’s Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
View map »


Sponsor: Andy Alligator’s Fun Park & Water Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275
Website »

More information

Oklahoma City's premier platform for improvised comedy theatre features weekly performances with shows Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Each show is $10, or see both for $15. Enjoy...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
NOIR Bistro & Bar
701 West Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
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

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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