Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oklahoma Arts Conference!

This past week was another full one, but boy was it fun! In between studying and planning for my research tour, I squeezed in some amazing art experiences.  It didn't hurt that the Oklahoma Arts Conference was going on in Tulsa on Wednesday and Thursday.  I took off Wednesday morning with the hopes of learning as much as I could and meeting as many people as I could.  Life definitely delivered!  After I checked in to the hotel, I sat down at the bar in the hotel restaurant to have a sandwich.  I started talking to the very kind man next to me (Yes, I'll talk to just about anybody.) who turned out to be Stan Carroll.  Stan is a part of the design team for the SkyDance Bridge being built here on the south edge of OKC. I can't wait to see it when it's finished!  It was great to get to talk to someone who has watched Oklahoma City grow and change, and he gave great encouragement to me for the Sixtwelve project.

After lunch, I headed into the opening session and found that there were many people from across the state that I knew.  It was so exciting to realize that between teaching music in Norman, working at the OKCMOA and starting this project, I really have met a lot of wonderful people who have the same intention in life, to do whatever I can to help support the arts in Oklahoma. It's easy to feel like the newcomer when you start over so many times with your career, but because everything I've done has related to music or art, I've had the privilege of knowing and working with some of the same wonderful people multiple times.  I'm really lucky. 

After a day of sessions and a reception, a group of us walked downtown to Elote. On the way I saw this building and it reminded me of some fun times with fun people when we went to see Yonder Mountain String Band last spring! The Marriott is in the Atlas Life building and that's where we stayed.

Next, I went to meet a friend, a guy that I've known since the 6th grade. I was so happy that we could get together! We went to the Brady Tavern and the food was delicious. It was great to catch up and to hear about his life because I think I've only seen him a couple of times since we graduated from high school. (No, I don't feel compelled to say exactly how long that's been. Haha!) He has had some great adventures of his own and has accomplished a lot, but most importantly, he seems to be as kind as I remembered and that is what I really respect. I felt honored spend a little time with him and hope all good things for him.

After dinner, I walked over to Tulsa Living Arts to catch a little of my friend Molly's event, Cafe Kzany.  God I love that girl.  She appeared as her alter ego, Emily Kzany, a goth-like, teenage, angst-ridden, girl who reads sad and dark poetry at the Starbucks in Yukon.  Hahaha!  She actually wrote and read a poem at my 40th birthday last year and it was one of the highlights.  She is so special and made me feel the same! 

Side note: If you're ever in Tulsa, check out the Brady District and what Tulsa has going down there.  It's pretty awesome and there are great things in the works!

Following Cafe Kzany, I walked all over downtown Tulsa (thank you Google Maps for sending me on a goose chase) to eventually find my destination, The Max, a retro barcade. (It was one block from where I started out. Haha!) It was totally awesome. I met up with Romy, Sarah, Bryon, Lance, Kim, Kelsey and Kolby to play some Space Invaders and Skee ball. I love Skee ball. This was no ordinary Wednesday night!

This combo spells trouble! Haha!

On Thursday, I went to a session that was a bit like speed dating (that was actually in the title of the session) with the Oklahoma Arts Council.  I was so fortunate to meet members of the staff and have one on one time with different individuals.  I could ask about programs, grants, the Leadership Arts program and more.  I also got to tell these kind people about Sixtwelve, so it was very beneficial.  During the conference I additionally went to a sessions on advocacy and programs. I also had the pleasure of attending one focusing on The LowerTown Arts District in Paducah, Kentucky. This program was very inspiring because a whole neighborhood was turned into an artist district with live/work spaces.  It encouraged community and gave artists a place to call home.  Check it out! 

What we're doing at Sixtwelve is a very small version of Paducah or even 910Arts in Denver (Check out my former post), but it's a great place to start.  I talked to James when I returned about our ideas to replicate what we're doing in other parts of the city when we've figured out how to do it right the first time.  The sky is the limit if we do it well and have enough funding. It excites me to think that we could contribute more!

While at the conference, attendees had an opportunity to contribute to a mosaic that will be placed in downtown Tulsa (I can't remember where), so I stopped in to add a few pieces.

This was my area before I started.

This was the after shot - about 30 minutes of work. So theraputic!

It was great to see Aaron and Josh at the conference.  Josh was honored as he completed this year's Leadership Arts class.  Way to go Josh!

I had a great time in Tulsa and learned so much.  I definitely appreciate what the Oklahoma Arts Council gave the attendees. I'm very lucky to be doing what I'm doing with my life and to be working alongside a group of people who want so much for the arts in Oklahoma.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ECT - Planning Update

Well, today I started planning the East Coast Tour extravaganza. It will allow me to research those beautiful portrait miniatures in person and it's been a day of good news! I've scheduled the appointment with Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank at the Yale University Art Gallery and a friend of mine is trying to help me set up some meetings with curators at the National Portrait Gallery and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Yes, I'm pinching myself.)

And to top it all off, I am going to get to road trip to Savannah and Charleston with my friend Scottie! I can't wait! SAVANNAH!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh how I've missed you. Here's a little picture tour (some of my own pics) to show the route I'll take up from the south. I'll fly to Jacksonville, NC first and then Scottie and I will head down to Savannah! There I'll be visiting the Telfair Museum of Art's collection.

Next we'll head up to Charleston where I'll be visiting the Gibbes Museum of Art.

The Scottie is taking me to the airport so I can fly up to DC! Here I'll go to the National Portrait Gallery.

Then James is meeting me in Philly! This will be a place for fun because we'll get to visit Sean and Sarah! I'll also be seeing a little art here, but I haven't figured out just yet which collection I'll be seeing. I'll update as I know more.

James and I will then move our way up to NYC!!! I can't wait to see the pieces at the 

After a day in NYC, I'll got to New Haven, CT to the Yale University Art Gallery.  I've never been there, so I don't have a picture of it, but you can be sure that I'll have quite a few plastered all over this blog when I get back...which will happen the day before Thanksgiving! I am so grateful that this is all working out!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekend Whirlwind: Visit with Family, Earth to Urban Opening, A Little Dancing, Basketball and Research!

On Friday, James and I took off to Duuuuurant, to take the suburban I borrowed for Harvest back to my grandfather and to get my car back.  We spent the night so that I could spend a little time with Paw-Paw (it's never enough time) and so that I could see Jenny, Sam and Gaius.  Fun night!

We drove back on Saturday so that we could attend the Earth to Urban opening and what a great place! It's located on 2nd Street, just to the north of the old Farmer's Market. The Urban Agrarian and Earth Elements Farm and Kitchen have teamed up to create a market/public space/incubator kitchen that encourages and supports local food and community.  Of course, James and I are excited about a place like this in OKC! It's such a great time to be focusing on creativity and sustainability in OKC because everyone wants to see each other succeed and we wall want to do whatever we can to help.  I've been finding that we are seeing the same people at the OKC sustainability events.  Some are more focused on buildings and structures and some are more focused on food and animals, but for the most part, everyone is on the same page.  I can't tell you how many people came up to me at the opening and said that they wanted to help.  I'm touched, blessed and honored because these are great people.  Here are some pics from the evening...

A great place for a party!

The band 13 Seeds was rocking us all out!

Looking towards the back

The Kitchen!

At the entry to the space

Outside in Front

After we left Earth to Urban, we went to Pachinko Parlor for a little Secret Society Dance Party!!!

Patrick and Nikki were getting down!

Yesterday, I went to the opening for the new Stuart Wing at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at OU and I found it to be a beautiful new house for University's portion of the Adkins Collection.  I'm so happy for OU and for anyone that has the pleasure of visiting.  It's world class! The Adkins Collection is an important Western Art Collection and we're lucky to have it.  I also love that Rand Elliott, a local architect with wide acclaim, designed the new wing.  If you get a chance to visit, go! You won't regret the time you spend at the FJJMA!

After I left the Museum, I scooted back up to OKC so I could meet up with my friends Preston, Robby, Whitney, Kristen and Jones.  We went to Republic to eat and then off to the US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational.  All the proceeds went to charities of the players' choice and it was fun! We were able to see Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and more tearing it up on the court! This is great because with the lock out happening right now, we don't knowhow much basketball we'll get to see this season.  I hope we get to see a lot, but you never know what's going to happen.  Hope it gets worked out soon.

We had great seats at the Cox Convention Center!

So glad Whitney could join us!

Love these guys!

After I got home, I was welcomed with one AWESOME piece of news.  The author and curator I wrote about in my last post emailed me back and she's going to be able to meet with me when I take my east coast research tour for my thesis! I'm so freaking excited!!!! Life just gets better and better!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

East Coast Tour!

I booked a flight to Jacksonville, NC today! I'm visiting a couple of wonderful friends for the weekend and then I'm going to begin an east coast research tour for my thesis on American Portrait Miniatures. I'm so excited!!! There is an author and curator at the Yale Art Gallery that I'm dying to meet. She wrote the book that will probably be the most influential in my thesis so I emailed her today to see if she would be willing to talk with me. My advisor, Dr. Kenneth Haltman, actually knows her so I hope that helps. I'm excited about getting to see these portrait miniatures in person, with my own eyes. Nothing substitutes for that experience.

In addition to a trip to New Haven, Connecticut, there are important pieces in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art so I'm going to make a stop there. And anyone who really knows me will immediately recognize my sarcasm when I report sadness over the fact that I will also need to rest my head in Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. I think there might also be a stop in Philly. I seriously can't wait and will be even more thrilled when I find out just exactly how to proceed with planning the tour. Aside from getting to see the miniatures, possibly meeting people who I can really learn from and the lovely places I'll stay, I am looking forward to getting away and focusing on my thesis. It's hard to do that here in OKC with all that I've got going. This couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Blessings in abundance!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun on Mulberry Mountain! What a Birthday!

I seriously had so much fun on my trip to Arkansas that I had to have a day (yesterday) to recoup...and I mean a WHOLE DAY to lay on the couch because I was so worn out that I could barely move. I boogied my butt off this past week!!!

I couldn't be more grateful for the kind, hilarious, generous and sweet people I went to Harvest with.  We laughed the whole time and everything was just so easy (except those porta-potties. Ummmm....we'll just leave that topic alone. Haha!)  And on my actual birthday, anyone who heard that I was celebrating (thanks to Colleen and anyone else who felt like screaming, "It's her birthday!") just gave me things like a necklace, a headband with strings of lights on it, and a lot of kindness! Add that in with getting to see Yonder, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Railroad Earth, Cornmeal and more AND the chance to camp with great friends and I found myself having one incredibly unique and special week!

Driving in to Mulberry Mountain!

Gettin' Down!

Preston really can play that banjo! Awesome!

Colleen Made me Cupcakes! (Preston gave me a cake but we ate it before I could take a picture. Haha!)

A new friend from a neighboring camp gave me this headband for my birthday! 

Sooooooooo good!!!

Main Stage

GQ - Colleen! 

Large Lady!

Kayti and Austin, two of the kindest people I know

Robby had the light up fingers!

Main Stage at Night

Fire Dancers!

Camp Fun!

Preston and Robby decided on Business Casual for the last day. Haha! Lookin' good boys.

Ross is in the Kitchen!

Britton and Kayti on the last night - these gals are hilarious!

Glow Stick Fun

Taking 612 Everywhere!

GQ and Preston - Preston didn't have his eyes open in any of my pics! Oh well. :)

Great friends, great night!

Taken on the way out of the festival.  Until next time!!!

And here's a video that shows a lot of the lanterns that were released all weekend.  They really were beautiful.

One of the nights that we were there, Preston released a lantern that I had actually given him on the Fourth of July.  I had bought one for myself too, but we never let them go because of the burn ban.  I thought it was nice that we both thought to bring ours.  When he lit his up and let it go, it just took off.  It was beautiful.  The next night, I decided to release mine.  It was in honor of letting something go.  Mine decided to catch on fire and plummet to the ground.  Yeah...that's about right. Haha!  I wasn't quite ready to let go of what it signified anyway.  Hopefully I'll be able to do that someday soon.  At least I didn't burn the whole festival down. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yonder Mountain String Band Harvest Festival!

Today is a day that I've been looking forward to for quite some time! I can't believe it's finally here! My friends Preston, Austin, Kayti and Robby are loading up in my grandfather's suburban and going to Arkansas.  We're going to a bluegrass festival called Yonder Mountain String Band's Harvest Festival and I am so excited that I couldn't sleep last night...partly because of the group that I'm going with (and the group that is coming up tomorrow - Ross, Colleen, Britton, Kelsey, Kenneth, Sara and more!) but I'm also ecstatic about the music!  Beyond Yonder, we'll also get to hear Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.  omg. Yes. I wrote, "omg." I know, but seriously...omg.  I knew that this is exactly what I wanted to do for my birthday this year, so I'm getting ready to move out, disconnect with the world of technology and submerse myself in music, friends and fun.  Happy birthday me!!! :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We Have Another Board Member! Trey Parsons Joins the 612 Team!

Tonight, James and I were supposed to take our friend Trey Parsons to dinner with the intent of telling him about our dreams for Sixtwelve and then asking him if he would be a board member.  Earlier in the day, he called and said that there was a last minute Think Tank meeting with Ed Shadid, our Ward 2 City Councilman, and asked if we could skip dinner.  He then said we would be welcome to come.  I had just told Andy Zeeck last Thursday that I would really like to talk to Dr. Shadid about our project and Andy offered to introduce us, but now he doesn't have to.  I still can't believe our luck sometimes. After that awesome meeting on Sprawl that I keep referring to, I really wanted to meet the man in our local government that takes the time to listen to people and who believes in sustainability and the things needed to improve OKC's public health issues.  I really respect this man.

So we went to the meeting and it was in a beautiful back yard of one of my very kind neighbors.

You can't see it in this picture, but there was a pretty big crowd at the meeting!

When I arrived (I met James and Trey there) I was a little nervous.  Was I qualified for a Think Tank? Would I have anything to contribute? Well, it turns out that everyone there was wanting to see good things happen for our community and it was great to be able to share the concerns we have with someone willing to listen.  We also talked about ways that we can move forward and possibly work with PlanOKC.  Tonight was meant to be a meeting to talk about meetings. Haha! But it turned into so much more. It was just good to meet like-minded people who are excited about the changes that are possible here.  Oh, and most of them had heard about what we are doing at 612 and were supportive.  Even Dr. Shadid said he had heard about our project in the Paseo! That would have been the highlight of the night, but something even greater happened!

At the end of the night, I 'fessed up and told Trey that the reason we wanted to take him to dinner was to ask him if he'd be willing to serve on our board.  He said he was honored and he accepted! Wooohooo!!!  I told him that James and I were taking our time in forming the board because we really want to know the people before we ask them.  I also told him that I'm picky.  And I am.  It just takes time to know someone's character, integrity and commitment to the things we want to further with 612.  

Trey and his partner, Jason Branson, own and run a company called Enersolve here in OKC that provides energy audits, ratings and consulting for consumers.  I had met Trey a while back at Romy's art opening for the Lightwell Gallery at OU and I had heard nothing but good things about him multiple times over the past year. Every now and then we would bump into each other and I would tell James that I thought so highly of him that I thought he would be good for our board. He's so involved and committed to furthering the awareness of energy issues that we will all face. The irony is that James had talked to him over a year ago about working with us, but I didn't know him at that time and can remember thinking, "Who is this guy?"  Well, now I know and we're honored that he said yes.  Thank you Trey!!! We can't wait to work with you!

Trey, Me and James after the meeting

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Last Day of the Cleanse!

It's day 21! Woooohoooo! I have to admit there have been some challenges.  For someone who never really thought that much about cutting out gluten or animal products (cheese and milk included) I had to be really aware. Letting go of sugar was letting go of an addiction and I know that it will be something I have to watch the rest of my life.  The greatest hurdle to jump, however, was the alcohol.  I live (and love) a very social life.  I tend to thrive on spending time with people and when you're gathering for fun, a project or supporting something in your community, you can usually find alcohol there too.  And I love wine...oh and cheese too! So that's what I'm looking forward to being able to have tomorrow.

But I feel good and I want to continue on this path that I've started down.  I have loved cooking at home and being more in tune with my body.  I can feel even the slightest changes in my blood sugar and know what to do to counteract them.  I have more time in my week due to the lack of time needed for recovery after a night out on the town.  I'm more at peace, even when I feel an emotional reaction to something that hurts.  I sleep better (asleep at 10pm and up at 7:30am without an alarm going off).  My skin is clearer.  My eyes are clearer.  My hair has more body. I'm not as bloated or poofy in the face.  I think more clearly and can focus for longer periods of time.  My shoulder sockets don't hurt with arthritis like they used to and I've lost 10 pounds!!! Somehow having the will power to do this cleanse has helped me to realize that I have the self discipline to do other good things for myself. I want to love and take care of myself.

So I think I'll have some wine tomorrow and I know I'm going to have fun at the bluegrass festival that's coming up in a couple of weeks.  Some friends of mine and I are going over my birthday! Wooohooo! But I think I'll save the drink for special occasions and continue to eat well.  It just feels good.  It's no longer a "I have to do this."  I want to do this.  And who knows? In addition to feeling good and knowing that I'm taking care of myself, maybe one of the benefits will be seeing myself looking even better than I did in my 20s.  :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another Great Week!

This was a very full week, but boy was it great! On Sunday, my sister, brother-in-law and nephew came up to go to the Oklahoma City Zoo, so I tagged along. It was really fun to see Gaius so excited about the animals and also to watch him running around everywhere.  He's growing so fast! It cracks me up in the video below when I ask Gaius if he's excited and he blinks a lot and then starts to dance. Haha! And p.s. the zoo looks great! I'm so impressed with what we have right here in OKC.

We ate at Matthew Kinney OKC after we left the zoo and it was delicious.  (Confession: it was my second time to eat there in one week. Haha!)  We sat outside and the weather was beautiful so we really enjoyed ourselves. It was so nice to have Jenny, Sam and Gaius here because they don't come up and stay with me that often.  

On Monday, Gaius woke me up so we could listen to his daddy play some music downstairs...

And then it was time for him to help me clean my house! Haha! (He got out every broom, mop, sweeper, everything in the back cleaning corner of my house! Such a little helper.)

Then we needed to shop for a new hat at Uptown Kids! I think he's pretty cute.

On Tuesday, James and I had a meeting with the planning department of OKC for our Planned Unit Development.  We were talking zoning for 612 and it went really well.  We've got the ball rolling for dreaming big and it was awesome because every city employee in the meeting seemed to be supportive and happy to help us see those dreams come true! We're asking for zoning that allows us to do many, many things with the building and lot.  It's a live/work kind of place and that can be tricky, but after going to that Sprawl meeting organized by Ed Shadid I feel that our city is starting to realize that one of the answers to our issues is to incorporate live/work spaces that make it easy for people to do things within their own community or neighborhood like walking, gathering for events, gardening, etc. so I think we'll have even more support than we realize at this point in the journey.  I'm excited! James and I both were after the meeting.  Here's a pic I took of James as we were leaving the building.

It's wild how far we've come in this process! We still have a long way to go, but I'm so proud of us for accomplishing what we have! James and I have never done anything like this before so every single step is exciting! Every time we do something that I am slightly intimidated by, I find more and more courage and confidence.  It's funny, James just seems to take it all in stride.  I'm the one that hesitates.  He just runs straight ahead.  I love his confidence! It helps me to take chances too.  

Wednesday night, we went to the "Overture" event on the roof of the Cardinal Engineering building on Broadway. The weather has been beautiful all week and today is no exception.  (After I get through writing this, I'm going to get out in the yard and do some work!)  Overture brings people together to support the OKC Philharmonic and it's a great group.  The highlight of the night was when I saw my friend Katie who works with the Philharmonic and she said she wanted to work with me when we get the school open. Wooooooohoooooo!!! I can't wait to take those kiddos to see performances.  Field trips are getting harder and harder to take in schools so hopefully we can fill the gap for kids who get to come to 612.  

Thursday night was crazy! I went to a similar event for the OKC Ballet, called "The Barre" event.  I just think it's important to support our local cultural organizations as much as possible.  We're lucky to have them! Oh and I won a door prize when I was there...a haircut at W Salon for curly hair! Lucky, lucky me! After that, I picked up James and we went to Iguana for a going away party for a sweet, sweet man. I feel like I just met him and he's leaving, but I bet it's not the last time I see him.  Good luck Kindt! I know you're going to turn Dallas on its ear! After that, we went to VZDs to see friends, but again I felt so lucky, because when we walked in, we realized it was Acoustic Oklahoma's 1 year birthday! Congratulations to Casey Friedman and Acoustic Oklahoma for keeping it going! I really believe in what Casey is doing so I'm glad to see that it's made it. 

Yesterday, James and I met with a great guy, Andy Zeeck.  He has offered to help us with our project and to give consultation for free! Andy has been conducting green renovations for years now and he believes in our project, so we're fortunate to have him on our side.  I'm still so touched when people say they want to help us. We're really blessed because everyone seems to be rooting for this project to succeed. I can't wait until we get to a point where we can take people up on their offer to help. Here's a couple of pics of us in front of the building.

Last night I stayed home. I was tired. I cooked and rested up for tonight.  It's OVAC's 12x12 at 50 Penn Place tonight and I can't wait! It's always a fun time and OVAC does such great things for our arts community so I know it's going to be a great night!