While James and I are the first residents in OKC, Denise Duong, is our first resident to work in Savannah! I am in awe of Denise and have been for years. Her work is simultaneously playful yet serious, vibrant and haunting, and it can be found all over the walls of my house. When her rep, Joy Reed Belt of JRB Art at the Elms, generously offered to let her be our resident, I was moved. I'm grateful for Joy too.
|Katherine Sandoz, Denise Duong, Vesella Valtcheva-mcgee, Lori Judge, and Lane Huerta|
Denise is staying in the Savannah cottage for three weeks, creating and preparing for her show at Iocovozzi Fine Art and Judge Realty. My friends Kim Iocovozzi and Lori Judge have graciously opened their doors to us so that we have a location to have an opening on May 1st and to show Denise's work for the month following. I can't believe how fortunate I have been to make these friends, because I had no idea where I would be planning to show our residents' work when I dreamed this up. I just knew that it would come to us, and it has!
In my visits to Savannah I have crashed Rotary meetings, attended art openings and music events, such as Savannah Music Festival and Savannah Stopover. I've eaten at so many great restaurants, visited Little St. Simons Island and Ossabaw Island and even drove up to Charleston and Beaufort. I have explored and experienced as much as I could of the area and culture during every visit, partly because I love it and partly because I wanted to do the best that I could to provide a good experience for both the people that we send to Savannah AND bring to Oklahoma City. It's important to be a part of a both communities if you really want to offer a balanced and reciprocal exchange.
We will be bringing our first Savannah artist, Katherine Sandoz, to Oklahoma City in June. We couldn't have asked for better, especially for the very first artist. Her work is of the highest quality and so is her ethic. This woman is creating all the time and I really respect her. Her paintings are as deep and powerful as the layers of paint that she swaths onto the canvas or board, and her illustrations inspire a focused, magical curiosity. Katherine also creates wonderful, textural fabric works, collaborates on public art and in general, just never stops. I can't wait to work with her.
We will bring in artists from all over the country, but the biggest exchange program we will provide will be with Savannah. This is a dream come true for me and I still have to pinch myself to make sure it's a realty. I was laughing with one of my Savannah friends on the phone yesterday and discussing the things that I hoped for this exchange. She was helping me to figure out the best way to get the word out about Denise's show and Katherine's visit to Oklahoma City. I told her that I had to do all of this once in order to really figure out what I was doing, and that it felt like I was just in the beginning stages of learning how to ride a bike.
She said that my group of friends were all there to help me and that I'd get my training wheels off soon. Erin is so funny! It helps so much to know that I have friends who are cheering me on (in both communities) and encouraging me to see this dream through. None of this would be happening without these brilliant, creative, imaginative, driven, focused and generous friends. Thank you Lori, Lou, Meredith, Kevin, Susan, Frank, Katherine, Lane, Erin, Kim, Jason, and Jamie. So grateful for you!
(The residency application page of our website will be up soon! Just researching a little bit more to make sure I get it right!)