City Arts Center's 'Elevation' fund-raiser peers into the future with a retro party and exhibit 

Café City Arts: Elevation
7:30-11 p.m. Friday
City Arts Center
3000 General Pershing
$50 in advance, $60 door

After flipping the calendar on a new decade, it's tempting to look into the crystal ball to see what lies ahead.

Oklahoma City's forecast certainly seems bright, and City Arts Center artistic director Clint Stone is using Café City Arts, the nonprofit's annual fund-raiser, to give attendees a glimpse into the metro art community's possibilities.

"The overall feel this year will be looking into the future and taking the theme literally by incorporating it into the decor, interpreting it as a 1960s version of the future," Stone said. "Oklahoma City is on this wonderful path, growing and growing, so the theme is about raising the bar and looking ahead."

Sales from Friday's Café City Arts will be split equally between artists and the center, Stone said. The event has become one of the organization's most critical fund-raisers. Although participating artists aren't restricted to the theme, Stone said many will interpret "Elevation" in a number of ways.

"We will be showing quite a bit of vertical-oriented art this year," he said. "The performances will also be different in that the entertainment has, in the past, been the thing that has been moving and in the face of the guest. This year, the guests will be moving and the entertainment itself will be somewhat still."

Jazz quartet Confusious and modern-dance troupe Pseudodance Theatre will help set the tone.

"We will be slow-moving sculptures on pedestals (that) you can walk around and see the full 360," said dance director Lynna Schneider. "We will not be making eye contact with the audience. We will be separate from them, taking on the idea of very emotionally removed androids. It's a futuristic look at where art may be going."

Stone sees the entire event as an art project unto itself, and hopes guests feel that arriving is like stepping into a piece of art.

Movie imagery traditionally has played heavily into the show's themes, such as last year's nod to the decadent world of James Bond's "Casino Royale," and this year is no different.

"'The Jetsons' probably unconsciously informed a lot about the theme, but the direction we are working toward is more like (Stanley) Kubrick and the sets from movies that came out during the time of 'Barbarella,'" Stone said.

He said the future is foremost in the minds of the City Arts' staff since the organization is preparing for one of its most ambitious years in an effort to match the growth of Oklahoma City's art community.

"I think we are choosing to set our scopes higher because our city is changing very quickly. Everybody is asking for more culture. There are more galleries coming into being over the last two years than I'd seen during the several years before that," Stone said. "We are really starting to see culture as a part of our daily lives and make sure that we have access to it. Here at City Arts, we want to make sure we are surpassing those expectations."

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