Hardesty Art Center opens in Brady District
BY JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
Monday, December 17, 2012
12/17/12 at 12:07 PM
Correction: This article misidentified the artist who created "Don't Think About It," Jason Carron. The article has been corrected.
The adults who came out to Sunday's official public opening of the Hardesty Arts Center may have said all sorts of appreciative things as they wandered through the four floors of the newest addition to the Brady Arts District.
But it was the younger generation who seemed to be getting the most use - and the most enjoyment - from what the new home of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa has to offer.
Many of them crowded into the second floor Family Lab, making use of the markers, pencils and crayons available to commit their personal - if sometimes unrecognizable - visions to paper.
Abby Hope Cotner was industriously working on making a rainbow on her piece of paper, while her sister, Emma Faith, proudly held up her own work for appraisal.
"I made a heart with lots of crazy stuff around it," she said, before uncapping a purple marker to add another color of "crazy stuff" to her masterpiece-in-the-making.
Other youngsters were transfixed by the site of Adam Hauck's installation titled "Armada," which no doubt to their eyes resembled a very orderly arrangement of gigantic candies.
And others enjoyed moving from work of art to work of art that make up the center's first exhibit, titled "Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma," offering their enthusiastically voiced assessment of each piece.
That sort of direct, personal connection with the arts is the underlying principle of the Hardesty Arts Center, which the Arts and Humanities Council likes to call "AHHA."
"This building is all about art," said Robert Schaefer, of Selser Schaefer Architects, the firm that designed the center. "It's about bringing art to everyone in the community."
The AHHA contains exhibition space, studios and classrooms, a complete photography suite complete with dark room and studio, a wood shop, a media lab, library and spaces that artists can rent for specific projects.
It also contains office space for the Arts and Humanities Council, the AHHA staff, a gift shop and an office space to be shared by three statewide arts organizations: the Oklahoma Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts Institute and the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, which organized the "Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma" exhibit that will be on display through Feb. 16.
"We've been staying in the new hotel this weekend," said OVAC executive director Julia Kirt, referring to the recently opened Fairfield Inn and Suites, just a block away from the Hardesty Arts Center. "So we've been able to explore this whole neighborhood, and it's really amazing what has been happening in Tulsa in the last few years.
"What's really great," she added, "is that the arts are right in the middle of all that's going on."
The arts have been a major component to the revitalization of the Brady district, starting in the late 1980s when the Tulsa Center for Contemporary Art was established, and commercial galleries began moving into the area.
The neighborhood has grown to include the ONEOK Field ballpark, upscale residential facilities and an array of restaurants and clubs, but its identity as the city's "arts district" remains.
Ken Busby, executive director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, thanked the city and citizens of Tulsa, who passed the third-penny sales tax that funded the purchase of the land for the Hardesty center, as well as help from the Cherokee Nation and Bank of Oklahoma, which helped secure the new market tax credits that helped fund the construction costs.
Busby also praised the Arts and Humanities Council for raising all the money needed for the building and its fixtures before construction began.
John Everitt, former head of the Arts and Humanities Council, said, "This place really is a testament to how much Tulsa supports the arts. So many cities give only cursory support to the arts, but Tulsans really put forth the effort."
Todd Cotner, whose daughters were busy in the Family Lab, said he was curious about the building because his father had worked for the Hardesty family.
"What I like is the construction of the place, the materials used," he said. "It's really an interesting building."
Schaefer said the materials chosen for the center echo architectural elements within the Brady district - weathered steel panels and the exposed industrial concrete - to make this very new building appear as if it has been on this spot for years.
Tom Moore came down with his family from Raytown, Mo., to attend the opening.
"My daughter is the significant other of one of the artists," he said, indicting Jason Carron's installation of video screens titled "Don't Think About It."
"I've never been to Tulsa before," he said. "It seems like a beautiful town. We plan to stay a couple of days and explore some of the other things to see around here."
HARDESTY ARTS CENTER
101 E. Archer St.
1 to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
1 to 9 p.m. Thursday
1 to 5 p.m. Sunday
Open to 9 p.m. on First Fridays
Free two-hour street parking available throughout Brady Arts District. Thursday through Saturday evenings, covered parking is available in the North Parking Garage on Main Street between First and Archer streets. Cost is $2.
Trolley service available 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. No charge.
Original Print Headline: Young at art
James D. Watts Jr. 918-581-8478
Marty Coleman (left) and Linda Coleman (right) look at a sculpture by George Wilson during the grand opening of the Hardesty Arts Center in the Brady Arts District, at 101 E. Archer St., on Sunday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Addison Bass (center), 4, creates art in the Family Lab during the grand opening of the Hardesty Arts Center on Sunday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Ken Busby: He praised Tulsans for voting for the third-penny sales tax to buy the land.