OKC gets a “GLOW” with Allied Arts’ new public art installation

Even on a a windy night in Oklahoma with a wind chill of 17 degreescanadian artist Passage by Serge Maheu radiates warm reds, crisp whites and other sizzling hues.

“I wasn’t expecting this kind of weather here. I was expecting warmer temperatures…but this is my first time in Oklahoma City,” said the Montreal artist said as he watched people walk through the series of large lighted rings that make up his “Passage”.

“Oklahoma City is a very lively city with very nice people. And it’s always interesting to have my play in different places, because people won’t react the same way.”

Whatever the weather, Maheu’s ‘Passage’ will light up Scissortail Park for the next few weeks, along with ‘Oscillation’, another large-scale interactive work incorporating light, sound and movement. Together, the two pieces form “GLOW”, a free public art installation marking the 50th anniversary of Allied arts.

“It’s a really cool thing. I’m so grateful that Allied arts would choose to celebrate their 50th birthday by making a gift to the city. It’s also my birthday, but I didn’t give you anything,” OKC Mayor David Holt joked at the March 10 unveiling of “GLOW,” just before he and his children, Maggie and George, do lead a group of art supporters through “Passage”.

“That’s what they do: they give back to our community and in the form of the arts.”

What does Arts Allies do?

Based in Oklahoma City, Allied Arts is a United Arts Fund that provides essential funding and increased outreach to more than 40 arts and culture organizations in Oklahoma.

The non-profit organization unveiled its “GLOW” as part of its launch of the annual campaign event on March 10 at Oklahoma City Convention Center. The launch event has been postponed from February to March due to the omicron push into the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign has raised more than $2 million so far, with the goal of surpassing last year’s total of $3.6 million before the June 16 closing celebration. The 2022 campaign officially ends on June 30.

“Each year, we are amazed at the generosity of Oklahomans to support arts organizations, and after 50 years of supporting Allied Arts…we are thrilled to bring this gift to the community, to thank the community for its dedicated support, to light up the night and make your hearts shine,” said Deborah McAuliffe Senner, President and CEO of Allied Arts.

“It’s going to be so much fun.”

Robert and Sody Clements watch a drone light show at Scisortail Park.

When and where can people experience “GLOW?”

The works “Oscillation” and “Passage” are exhibited from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily until April 10 on the Promenade on the east side of Park Scissorsjust across S Robinson Ave from the OKC Convention Center.

In addition to the “GLOW” installation, Allied Arts is hosting “Catch the Glow,” a community celebration of thanks, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on April 8 at Scissortail Park. Free and open to the public, the event will include a hot air balloon night glow, synchronized drone light show, glow-in-the-dark artwork by local artists, live performances, food trucks and more.

The Inasmuch Foundation funded the installation and supported additional programming in the downtown OKC Park.

“‘GLOW’ will offer everyone a chance to experience immersive art as a form of celebration and enjoyment,” Inasmuch Foundation President and CEO Robert J. Ross said in a statement.

The interactive work

What can people expect from “GLOW?”

Both works of art are presented in collaboration with Creos, a leading agency for international traveling installations.

“These (are) one-of-a-kind interactive works of art. You control the experience: ‘Oscillation’ and ‘Passage’ manipulate light and sound with every movement you make, creating a unique interaction for each guest” , Senner said.

Located near S Robinson Avenue and Oklahoma City Boulevard, “Oscillation” looks like a string of oversized colored crystals. Created by The urban congaa design studio based in Brooklyn, New York, the installation works much like a theremin, an electronic musical instrument which is played without actually touching it.

As people walk towards the segments of “Oscillation”, different sounds and tones emanate from the work, depending on the distance between the people and the rooms.

In addition to making otherworldly music, the colors of the crystals reflect and refract light in different ways depending on the angle and position of the viewer, encouraging people to dance and play around “Oscillating “.

Maheu’s “Passage” is a tunnel made up of 20 circles of light that look like oversized hoops.

“There are sensors all along the tunnel, so those sensors will detect people. So it just changes with how fast people walk,” Maheu said, adding that he can monitor the facility from his home. in Canada. “Every two, three minutes it will change its pattern and the color will keep changing. … And the sound will react to passers-by.”

The artist said he enjoys watching people interact with his work.

“I want people to engage more with contemporary art, but in public space. Sometimes in a museum it’s not very common for people to come and see it. But in a public space, even kids will come and be exposed to this kind of art,” he said, as performers from Inspyral Circus danced through the tunnel.

Although each city has its own vibe — he described Oklahoma City as more laid-back compared to his recent visit to New York — he said the lights, colors and sounds in his work seemed to have a universal resonance.

“We want to be exposed to light and color – we need that as a human being. I remember as a child I was fascinated by the Christmas tree. And I think it’s the same for everyone to enjoy the light,” said Maheu. .

Ron and Alyce Page cross


When: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day until April 10.

Or: East side of Scisortail Park, 300 SW 7.

“Catch the Glow” Celebration: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on April 8 at Scisortail Park.

Cost: Free.

Information: https://alliedartsokc.com.

About Bernice D. Brewer

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