BC in Tulsa: Bringing Fine Art To Everybody
A few Fridays ago, Budget Collector sponsored their first “Art@Home””event at the Henry Zarrow Center for Art & Education in downtown Tulsa’s heart of Museum Row of the Arts District. Royce Meyers of the Royce Meyers Gallery curated the exhibit with featured artists, including Anke Dodson, Lisa Regan, Jean Richardson, Derek Penix, Susan Eddings, Jarvis, Karen Kuykendall, and Ryan Lee.
Multi-disciplinary artist, Michelle Firment Reid, also had an installation piece in the exhibit. Michelle explains how she enjoyed the diverse body of selected works and how it “interplayed well together; inviting the viewer to walk through, pause, examine closer, and enjoy all with ease.” The art is on display in the gallery the entire month of September, but the heart of the event was the live experience. It was so much more than a traditional First Friday art crawl.
Ebonique Boyd, the co-creator of Budget Collector, is on a mission to bring art to everybody. Not just the encouragement to buy local art but also the opportunity to have a conversation about art, regardless of our art history knowledge. Asking the questions of how it makes us feel, what it inspires in us, what it teaches us, and what it brings up in us.
That is what she created at her event, Art @ Home. Set up in the back corner of the gallery, decked out in beautiful mustard yellows and golds, accented with fine art all around the space, Ebonique created a ”home-like” feel that inspired a casual and authentic conversation about art. She displayed multiple iconic images on a screen and created a space for dialogue around the art. John Villareal, Executive Recruiter and self-proclaimed art lover, recollected, “Ebonique invited me to view a series of 14 different paintings and rate them from 1 to 5.
It was a fun and educational experience to see the different art and see how my ratings compared to others. The entire evening was a great experience of wine, art, and music in a great space and atmosphere.”
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Royce Meyers, who curated the art for the event, commented on the interesting mix of clients, friends, and people who may not regularly frequent his art gallery. “I loved watching people study the art and take pictures with their friends and family. So many of the paintings on the walls became photo opportunities, and from that event, we received numerous calls about the art, and we even sold a painting in the show.
Ebonique reflects that her favorite responses are often from art connoisseurs who typically say things like, “”this rating system isn’t what’s done,” but after using the app, end up loving the experience. For her, the live reactions were the most satisfying to watch. From people who’ve never experienced the app to people who are the most active users, they all commented on how the live experience was so much fun. “Some of the highest rated items by the app users were viewed poorly by some of the live viewers, which I always find fascinating. For example, the Ethiopian artist, Afewerk Tekle’s painting was seen by some people in the live event as a ”Black Jesus’ type of work and automatically disliked by those that viewed it as such. However, when I later explained that the work is called ”Defender of his Country” and it was printed on the Ethiopian national stamp, those participants softened their harsh view of the work and had more positive things to say” explains Ebonique. Each participant’s conversation was captured on camera as live reactions and will be used in the next three months to get more organic app acquisitions. “It made me feel more confident that we are doing the right things and headed in the right direction,” says Ebonique.
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