Arts and Culture in OKC
Oklahoma City’s art scene runs year-round, so depending on your preference, there are options in visual and performing arts every day. Most of the city’s arts options are located in or near downtown, making it very easy to access more than one choice.
Plaza Walls is curated, rotating mural project in the Plaza District of Oklahoma City. Managed and produced by the Oklahoma Mural Syndicate, the project launched in September 2015 after Dylan Bradway and Kristopher Kanaly had the vision to advocate and create public art throughout Oklahoma. This attraction has become one of the premier attractions, not just in the Plaza District but Oklahoma City as well. Featuring more than 30 murals, Plaza Walls is updated annually.
Nearly 90 years ago in the 1930s, Sheridan Avenue was a home for theater owners that are looking to screen and lease films for their films. Major film companies like Paramount Pictures, MGM, Universal, Fox and Warner Brothers were located in this district. In our modern day, the most beautiful aspect of Film Row are the murals and displays of art throughout the district. With 10 art galleries in less than a two-mile radius, Film Row is definitely worth an afternoon visit for the art appeal, and a great nightlife experience with a great selection of bars.
Oklahoma City Ballet
Oklahoma City Ballet's season runs from October through April. The company boasts an international group of talented dancers from all over the world and produces four-main stage productions each season under Artistic Director, Robert Mills. For visitors from larger cities, the ticket prices will be a very pleasant surprise.
Oklahoma City Philharmonic
The Oklahoma City Philharmonic offers shows year-round, and the season is a combination of classics, pops and discovery family series. Conductor Joel Levine oversees an outstanding collection of musicians, and world-renowned musicians and vocalists are featured every season. Concerts are at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City's Arts District, and the area has plenty of parking and easy access to some of the city’s best restaurants.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Also in the Arts District is the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Visitors are greeted by a massive Dale Chihuly glass sculpture as they walk into the foyer, a not-so-subtle promise of what the third floor holds. The first floor is always occupied by a traveling, rotating exhibit that features classic and contemporary artists in a wide range of media. The second floor holds several rooms where selections from the OKCMOA’s permanent collection are displayed – everything from mixed media to painting to sculpture. The third floor of the museum is home to a collection of Dale Chihuly glass exhibits. Ranging from the whimsical to the serious, Chihuly’s work is always remarkable, and the OKCMOA has done a wonderful job of staging the separate assemblages as a voyage of discovery.
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Less than a mile from the OKC Museum of Art is the official gallery of the Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO), an organization that supports and features local artists from all over the state. The gallery is located in Film Row, close to plenty of food and entertainment. Exhibits rotate regularly, and the work on display comes from every conceivable genre, including film. A venue in the rear of the building regularly features poetry and music as well.
At the corner of NW 11th Street and Broadway Avenue, Oklahoma Contemporary will soon have its permanent home, a $26 million arts campus. For now, the Showroom at Oklahoma Contemporary houses exhibitions, serves as an arts venue and curates the art library. Oklahoma Contemporary partners with Marfa Contemporary in Marfa, Texas, and the Green Box Arts Festival in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, to feature some of the best regional and national artists.
Exhibit C is one of downtown’s newest art galleries featuring handcrafted artwork by Chickasaw artists. Located in Bricktown, the gallery is a perfect combination of arts, Native American culture and hospitality, showcasing a new artist every few months. You can also buy authentic artisan works such as jewelry, pottery, paintings and clothing in its bright retail space.
Paseo Arts District
Anyone serious about the visual arts has to head over to the Paseo Arts District, Oklahoma City’s historic arts district. The area is home to more than 22 galleries that feature the work of approximately 80 artists. On the first Friday of each month, all the galleries are open in the evening for the monthly Art Walk. The district has grown rapidly over the past several years, and that trend seems to be continuing. New restaurants are going in, and more shopping options are popping up, making the Paseo a destination in its own right.
Oklahoma City has several excellent theatre companies offering Broadway-style shows, as well as classic and contemporary plays and musicals. CityRep Theatre partners with Oklahoma City University and national and regional artists to offer a full slate of outstanding live performances. Many of the OCU students are well on their way to being the next Kristin Chenoweth or Megan Mullally, both OCU alumnae, meaning CityRep features some of the best young talent in the country.
Lyric Theatre has performances in its home theater in the Plaza District, as well as a full season of bigger shows at Civic Center Music Hall. Lyric has established itself as a staging ground for shows that are being groomed for Broadway, and so its seasons often feature regional or national premieres.