Oklahoma City Museum of Art
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art has a broad collection of artwork, but many visitors remember this museum for all of its Dale Chihuly glass pieces.
“Our crown jewel is our collection of Dale Chihuly glass sculptures,” said museum spokeswoman Leslie Spears. “We purchased this collection from a special exhibition we had in 2004. It’s the largest, most comprehensive collection of his work in the world. People love his work because it’s very friendly. You don’t need to have an art history degree to appreciate it.”
The Chihuly collection has 3,500 pieces, including a chandelier and a 55-foot glass tower — the largest Chihuly has ever created.
The museum also features other American and European art, with pieces by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Georgia O’Keeffe. Visitors will find paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures separated into galleries by country of origin.
The museum also has a changing exhibit gallery that features three or four exhibits every year. On Thursday evenings during the summer months, visitors can enjoy art and live music during a cocktail hour on the museum’s terrace.
Foundry Art Center
St. Charles, Mo.
Artists in St. Charles, Mo., are putting an old manufacturing facility to good use at the Foundry Art Center.
“The building used to be part of the ACF car foundry complex,” said executive director Laura Helling. “They manufactured train cars for railroads across the United States. The building was intended for creation, and now with it being an arts center, it’s still a place for creation.”
The arts center has a 6,000-square-foot gallery on its lower level that displays a number of juried shows and traveling exhibitions throughout the year. But the real strength of the place is the community of artists who work in studios on the two floors that overlook the center’s large central atrium.
Visitors can explore the workspaces of bronze sculptors, pastel painters, printmakers, portrait artists, potters and many other artists. A visit can include a chat with an artist who is in the process of creating a new piece or an artist-guided overview of several finished products.
Groups can also arrange to have a hands-on creative experience led by the center’s resident artists.
Ozark Folk Center
Mountain View, Ark.
In the small town of Mountain View, Ark., the Ozark Folk Center preserves the heritage and cultural traditions of the Ozark Mountains with music and handcraft demonstrations. Throughout the center’s village, 24 crafters demonstrate traditional techniques to create both utilitarian and decorative items.
“Most of the crafts are traditional — they’re things that people did in the Ozarks in order to survive,” said group sales manager Jimmie Edwards. “But a lot of our crafters are artisans. They make really beautiful things.
“The potters make beautiful pots, cups, mugs and plates that are fired in a wood kiln, and the blacksmith does some tremendous things, decorative art as well as functional.”
During a visit to the folk center, group members can split up and visit the shops that interest them most. The knifemaker on site creates blades out of Damascus steel; the broommaker creates vibrant “turkey wing” brooms with dyed corn. Visitors can also visit with basketweavers, glass bead makers, quilters and other artisans.
In addition to the craft village, the Ozark Folk Center has galleries displaying the fine art created by the members of the local Mountain View Art Guild.