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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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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 »

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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
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
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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
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Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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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
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Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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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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