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Broken arts

Because divisive issues don’t sell art, artists shy away from making waves. For ‘Breaking the Rules,’ however, that’s all the art does.

Mia Cantu February 29th, 2012

Breaking the Rules: Religion, Politics and Art (in Polite Conversation, of Course)
5:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday
Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery
706 W. Sheridan
$20 advance, $25 door

The old saying goes that one never should mix religion and politics in polite conversation, but the art show “Breaking the Rules” will put that longstanding decree to an end ... at least for one night. The fundraiser event will be held Tuesday at Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery.

“Breaking the Rules: Religion, Politics and Art (in Polite Conversation, of Course)” is designed to promote the togetherness of community. Amateur and professional artists alike will showcase pieces focused on topics ranging from public transportation to immigration. Proceeds from the show benefit the local nonprofit organization Voices Organized in Civic Engagement, known simply as VOICE.

“There’s a lot of anger in the community, and we challenge local artists to use that,” said Tammy Greenman, an artist and a co-chair of VOICE’s education committee. “If you never talk about religion and politics, how can you organize your community? If you don’t talk about it, your anger consumes you.”

right Made prior to the 2008 elections, Romy Owens’ “Oklahoma, Today” depicts the in-state split among Democrats and Republicans.

Participating artists were urged to tackle themes that they otherwise might not, since addressing touchy subjects can hinder commercial viability. Therefore, “Breaking the Rules” allows the creatives to break that unwritten rule to address economic pressures, political divisions and other issues.

VOICE was formed by a coalition of 25 church congregations, public schools and nonprofits after determining that their Oklahoma City community needed help. Middle-class families were failing financially; senior citizens weren’t getting the attention they deserved.

To learn how they could best speak up as an organization, VOICE turned to the national nonprofit organization Industrial Areas Foundation. The IAF sent a representative to teach community members how to talk with one another about power and to stand up for their families.

“We learned that our neighbor isn’t just the person who lives next to us, but someone we must communicate with,” said Greenman.

Advance tickets can be purchased at Prairie Thunder Baking Company, 1114 Classen Drive. Tickets also may be at the IAO event.

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