A decade ago, the Oklahoma City arts landscape resembled a blank white canvas, according to local artist Bryan Boone.
“I don’t think there was much to it, but now I think we have a thriving arts scene,” Boone said. “It’s really taken off and kind of arrived.”
Oklahoma City’s artistic success is due to events like the annual 12x12 Art Fundraiser. This year’s event will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at 50 Penn Place, 1900 Northwest Expressway.
Hosted by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, the fundraiser supports artists throughout the state.
“The big idea is that we want artists to be able to have thriving careers,” said Julia Kirt, OVAC’s executive director for 14 years. “We’re trying to help artists.”
OVAC’s only organized fundraiser, last year’s 12x12 drew more than 1,000 patrons and raised $75,000 through sponsorships and art sales.
“There’s a real awareness right now of creative placemaking and how the arts and cultural events can bring people together,” Kirt said.
This year, 150 artists have created artwork sized 12 inches by 12 inches to be sold in a blind and silent auction. Bids begin at $175, and each piece will have a Buy It Now price. Participants may also buy $5 chances to win prize packages.
The square-foot-sized pieces of art are perfect for both serious and beginning art collectors, Kirt said.
While browsing the art, patrons will enjoy live music, hors d’oeuvres and sweets from 33 popular local restaurants and a cash bar.
“It’s a fantastic event. I know it’s gotten me a lot of exposure,” said Boone, who is participating in 12x12 for the fifth time. “It’s just a great party, too.”
With structural, infrastructural and architectural influences, Boone will debut the Folds Series on Oct. 4 at a.k.a. gallery, 3001 Paseo St.
The series is comprised of mixedmedia pieces, utilizing acrylic, pencil, pen and folded strips of paper, giving each piece a three-dimensional effect.
Oklahoma City-based artist Ronna Pernell is participating in the 12x12 for the second time.
Pernell specializes in portraits using white ink on a charcoal canvas, creating a “negative” visual appearance.
Pernell’s piece submitted for 12x12, titled “Ponytails,” features a young African-American girl, her eyes closed as if indulging a childhood dream.
“I’ve been an artist since I was seven years old,” Pernell said. “It’s in my soul that I have to express in some kind of way.”
The African-American arts community has also flourished in recent years, thanks to OVAC and organizations like Inclusion in Art, which supports artists of color.
“We just try to inspire all artists in Oklahoma,” Pernell said.
Tickets to 12x12 are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, available at Blue Seven, Full Circle Bookstore, New Leaf Florist, Guestroom Records and Café Evoke.
For more information or to preview art, call 879-2400 or visit 12x12okc.org.