Spirit of Color is meant to be a celebration of the talent that is and always has been in Oklahoma. The motivation came actually came from Randal Barnes- one of Inclusion in Art board members. He was asking who the artists of color were in the later 20th century in Oklahoma. And so begins this journey. It was under the leadership of the board president Byron Perdue, that this show would gain momentum and drive.
Literally. Byron, myself and other members of the board would spend time visiting with each artists that is represented. It was such a treat to listen to each of their stories. I think some were even a little surprised that we wanted to feature their work in this manner. However each artists: Marty Avrett, Al Bostick, Edward Grady, Mary Ann Moore, Wallace Owens, Melvin and Rose Smith, Michi Susan and Corazon Watkins, were so gracious and generous with their time. In fact when the interviewing part was done, I personally was a little sad it was over; but I was also thankful for the opportunity.
It has been an honor, probably one of the biggest honors of my life, to be able to help organize such a wonderful exhibition of art. The title Spirit of Color is not just a “cool” title. It was and still is the intention to show appreciation and highlight these artists who because of their continued hard work has made it easier for future artists of color to succeed in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma has a rich, vibrant and diverse history. So on behalf of Inclusion in Art, we are so grateful to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum for exhibiting the work and having such lovely reception for the opening. Also a great big thank you to the USAO Concert choir for the beautiful songs. And thanks to Al Bostick who not only is a talented painter but who also performed the night of the reception.
I am hoping for anyone who comes to see the work that they will be filled with Oklahoma pride!