OVAC’s lively 12×12 celebration.
With a mission to “grow and develop Oklahoma’s visual arts community through education, promotion, connection and funding” while building public interest in the arts, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) has been a huge part of the state’s arts community since 1988. Its work in supporting Oklahoma’s artists, creative community and educators has been fundamental in demonstrating how art improves quality of life, adds value and provides a positive economic impact across the state.
Each September, OVAC hosts its biggest fundraiser of the year: The 12×12 Art Fundraiser is a one-night affair featuring art by 175 of Oklahoma’s finest artists. Each piece will be up for auction with a starting bid of $200 but also has a “buy it now” price for patrons who fall in love and want to skip the auction, which ensures the artwork ends up in their home. Each piece must conform to 12-by-12- inch dimensions but otherwise is completely up to each artist’s discretion. This year, 12×12 will feature about 50 pieces by new names and talents from across the state while the other pieces will be contributed by returning artists.
The money raised through the 12×12 event usually accounts for over 20% of OVAC’s annual budget and goes directly to its Grants for Artists program. Artists can apply for four grants: one for basic professional materials, one for travel and educational opportunities, one for jumpstarting creative projects and presenting them in an art show, and one for community art projects. Alexa Goetzinger, development director at OVAC, said, “Our Grants for Artists program is essential for Oklahoma artists to make their practice more professional, receive new education and take that next step forward in their careers. OVAC was founded to provide funding for individual artists, and in the 34 years since then, we have awarded almost $1 million to artists through grants, awards and art sales. This would not be possible without our community’s support through the 12×12.”
This year’s 12×12 Art Fundraiser will be held Friday, Sept. 16 at Lively Beerworks, 815 SW 2nd St. near downtown OKC. The festivities include live music, light bites and a silent auction of prizes from local businesses in addition to the art auction and exhibition. “OVAC’s 12×12 Art Fundraiser is an incredible display of Oklahoma’s artistic talent throughout the state,” Goetzinger said.