The 23rd annual Red Dot fundraiser will spotlight 71 of Oklahoma’s established and emerging artists. 

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The 23rd annual Red Dot fundraiser will spotlight 71 of Oklahoma’s established and emerging artists. The event is the primary fundraiser for Individual Artists of Oklahoma, a nonprofit arts organization that, among other things, uses the funds to sponsor community-oriented programs and education in Oklahoma.

Red Dot has represented as many as 71 artists, and Carie Antošek Benton, Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO) executive director, said that number was a direct result of intentionally “casting a wider net.”

“The cities are low-hanging fruit,” Benton said. “We wanted to reach out to outlying communities as well.”

The result is a collection of artists from 16 Oklahoma towns and cities, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa. While Oklahoma City contributes the overwhelming majority of the artists, towns like Piedmont, Depew, El Reno and Ada are also represented. Because of the wealth of artists, Red Dot will feature a variety of media as well. Benton said the submissions included expected media like oil, acrylic, mixed media and sculpture, but jewelry and poetry are also represented. All of the art at the event will be for sale, and the minimum bid for the show is $150, although some pieces have a higher minimum.

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“We wanted to start the bidding at a number where the artists feel their work is valued,” Benton said. “The artists covet that red dot that signifies ‘sold,’ and once it does sell, the artists and IAO split the proceeds 50-50.”

Many of the artists will be present for Red Dot, and Tulsa artist James Gaar — now 70 years old — said he plans to make the trip. Gaar’s piece “Invasion Front” is a 30-by-40-inch acrylic on canvas abstract piece. Gaar said he prefers to work with acrylics and “Invasion Front” represents one pole of his preferred styles.

“I’ve always enjoyed the work of Franz Kline and Andrew Wyeth,” Gaar said. “They exist as far apart on the spectrum as two artists can be; one is photorealism and the other is abstract expressionism.”

Calling Gaar an emerging artist seems absurd at his age, yet his work is not well-known in Oklahoma City. Still, he has been creating art since he was about 8 years old, so he has been painting for a little more than 60 years.

Gaar said supporting himself in Oklahoma as a professional artist has been difficult, so he has taken the other jobs to pay the bills while he and his wife, an artist he met in grad school at East Central College (before it was a university), have continued to create.

Gaar will join local household names like Bert Seabourn, Regina Murphy, Suzanne Mears and BJ White for Red Dot.

The show runs from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at IAO Gallery, 706 W. Sheridan Ave. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. More information is available at individualartists.org.

Print headline: The great Red Dot, The work of Oklahoma’s most talented artists will be available at this year’s Red Dot fundraiser.

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Greg Horton

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