The Plaza District shines light on reinvigorated arts area 

Nothing stirs the interest of art patrons like free wine.

An emerging urban enclave, Oklahoma City's Plaza District recently instituted "LIVE on the Plaza: An Evening with the District" as a way to woo area art lovers and local creatives with food, drink, live music and street performances.

The festival vibe has attracted a number of younger artists and opened up opportunities to a wide array of fresh styles and media.

The "Indie Craft Market" sets up outside the Bad Grannies Bazaar "? known until recently as Plaza Java Cafe "? allowing space for young artists to showcase their non-traditional work. Participating artists and designers include Mustache Clothing, Amanda Martinez and Promise Edmonds.

Martinez's "Spiritual Sparkles" is a series of shrines and religious imagery made from recycled materials and sprinkled with glitter. She describes herself as a "cradle Catholic" who became enraptured with the vibrant, spiritual imagery of Mexico's El Dia de los Muertos holiday, aka the Day of the Dead.

"I use a lot of glitter to make it really colorful. You have to," Martinez said. "That style is all about skulls and lots of color. That's probably why I fell in love with it."

VIRGIN MARY THEME
Although the Virgin Mary factors heavily in her themes, she extends to religious icons outside Catholicism and Christanity, such as Ganesha and Shiva. For Martinez, the tone of the piece is more important than the subject.

"I like making pieces that promote spirituality and goodness," she said. "Different people believe in different things. I don't have to believe in the subject of the piece, just as long as goodness is still the focus."

Much of pop artist Edmonds' current work focuses on Spaceboy, an isolated child in a space suit. She said the character unexpectedly struck a chord with local buyers after debuting him at an art show in Chickasha. The response was so strong that Edmonds is considering creating an animated Internet show to be broadcast on YouTube.

Like most of her other works, Spaceboy is part of an overall theme or series that merely serves as a jumping-off point. Her images are transferred to hand purses, pillows and whatever other objects seem to make sense for the subject.

"LIVE on The Plaza" gives young artists a chance to develop their work and to attract visitors, which Martinez hopes will secure the creative reputation of the recently revitalized inner-city Plaza District.

"?Charles Martin

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