12 x 12 Offers 175 Degrees of Art
photo courtesy Ruth B. Loveland
OVAC hosts 26th annual 12X12, supporting local artists statewide
Oklahoma City has grown by leaps and bounds in becoming a big-league city. It’s not just sports and the Thunder putting us on the proverbial map; it’s a passion for the arts, as well. Since 1988, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, or OVAC, has helped artists throughout the state realize their full potential through education, exposure and funding.
One of the year’s most colorful events of the year takes place Sept. 11 when OVAC hosts the 26th annual 12x12 Art Fundraiser.
“It is truly one of the best events of the year,” says OVAC Executive Director Holly Moye. “With work from 175 Oklahoma artists, we feature art measured 12 inches square. Visitors can bid on work to support our efforts in a silent, blind auction. With bids starting at only $175, 12x12 remains an exciting way to begin or grow an art collection.”
In addition to bidding on artwork, guests can enjoy live music from local acts, and sample flavors from some of the city’s favorite restaurants. The Science Museum Oklahoma’s mezzanine will be converted into a chic lounge and bustling art gallery for the evening’s event.
“The 12x12 Art Fundraiser largely supports our grant-giving program,” Moye says. “Last year, we awarded over $37,000 to Oklahoma visual artists. These grants are crucial in helping them create visual art for public presentation, develop their professional practices and lead community projects.”
The organization itself grew from a group of artists who got together for drinks and discussed the lack of opportunities for artists in Oklahoma, Moye said.
“The issues brought forth from the ‘Café Society,’ as they called themselves, spurred John McNeese into creating an organization that would not only bring artists together, but also provide them with the funds and foundations to building a professional practice,” she says.
More than 1,700 Oklahoma artists benefit from the work OVAC does throughout the year. They reach audiences numbering in the thousands, allowing them to focus on their creative work and make communities better places to live.
“Our programs support artists in creating compelling work,” Moye says, “connecting them with a comprehensive network. We also offer artists professional development workshops, project funding, information resources and career-boosting awards.”
Visit the OVAC website at ovac-ok.org for tickets.
Artists who are asked to participate in 12X12 will create works specifically designed for the event. Last year, Moye said nearly all the art was sold, prompting them to increase the number of artists this year from 150 to 175 and thus giving guests a look at several new participating artists.
Norman painter Jason Cytacki’s works examine the American character and its construction throughout history, popular culture and mythology, and explore the way Americans view themselves and their country.
Choctaw metal artist Dan Garrett has experimented with many art forms, and now prefers working with metal and mixed media.
Sunni Mercer from Bethany is a widely exhibited sculpture artist whose work is archived at the Smithsonian Institution, and has been featured in more than 100 publications.
Oklahoma City’s Marissa Raglin is a mixed-media artist who creates simplistic, harmonious collages with images found in vintage books and postcards – mostly plucked from thrift stores. Her most recent work combines multiple layers and textures, creating one unified composition, telling one story.
Other new artists this year include Oklahoma City’s Desmond Mason, and Claremore’s John Hammer.
“I would love for Slice readers to know that by attending the 12X12 Art Fundraiser, you are making Oklahoma a place where art and artists thrive,” Moye says. “Any support, big or small, contributes to raising the profile of our state as a hub of creativity and a better place to live.