New Voices: Tulsa Artist Fellowship

January 20, 2016

Tulsa Art Studio Tour | Resources for Artists | , ,

Amidst the backdrop of scenic landscapes and rich heritage, the Oklahoma art scene continues to grow and change with exciting new opportunities. Oklahomans know this. How do we get the rest of the world to see Oklahoma as the cultural hub we know it to be?

One answer is the Tulsa Artist Fellowship (TAF). Organized by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the TAF funds 12 artists to live and make work in Tulsa. With housing, studio space, and a salary, the TAF brings artists from across the nation, together with Oklahoma artists, to Tulsa. Selected by a panel of historians, curators, and artists, the fellows represent a variety of communities and disciplines.


Work by Tulsa Artist Fellow Akiko Jackson, “Vantage Point,” Ceramic installation, 2011

For artists who live in Oklahoma, but exhibit primarily elsewhere, the TAF is an opportunity that may open their eyes to the plethora of opportunities here. Artist Crystal Z Campbell divides her time between Oklahoma City and Amsterdam, showing her works in installation throughout the globe, including a recent exhibition in Verona, Italy.

Of the Fellowship, Campbell said, “I was really surprised this was happening in Oklahoma, and for a long time I never considered I would have this much support here. And it’s been amazing.”

Similarly, Tulsa artist Nathan Young has exhibited in the Sydney Australia Biennale and recently opened a solo exhibition in Albuquerque, NM. Young’s work in poetry, performance, sound and video, among other disciplines, is nationally recognized, and through the TAF, he has the opportunity to connect even more to the Tulsa artist community.


Work by Tulsa Artist Fellow Alice Leora Briggs, “I,” Sgraffito drawing on panel, 2011

Besides encouraging artists to live and stay here, the TAF also enriches the Oklahoma artistic community by bringing new voices to expand the dialogue of artistic practice in Oklahoma.  Ranging from aesthetically-driven to conceptually-driven, from the political to the personal, the concepts and techniques vary from one artist to the next.

For Alice Leora Briggs and Nick Vaughan, their art is a way to bring voice to the disenfranchised, wether historical or present day. With a background in experimental theatre, Vaughan creates installations and performances informed by queer identity, with the most recent 50 States project that chronicles underappreciated pre-Stonewall LGBTQ2 histories in each state.  Briggs’s sgraffito drawings use a 13th century technique to create detailed figurative work. Her recent series Abecedario de Juarez depicts the violence and death in Juarez, Mexico, shining a grotesque light on the everyday reality of those affected by the Juarez Cartel.


Work by Tulsa Artist Fellow Nick Vaughan, “Mary’s,” Found Road Map, 2015

Other artists like Gary Kachadourian and Molly Dilworth fill public spaces with large scale art. Kachadourian’s trompe l’oeil to-scale drawings of everyday objects and scenes bring a fresh eye to the mundane. While Dilworth’s large scale site-specific paintings transform the surfaces of buildings, roads and bridges, inspired by research and data on labor.

The fellows will participate in the community not just as guests, but as long-term residents.  “I’m very excited to just be a part of this community,” said Briggs. After their first year as a fellow, artists have the opportunity to renew their fellowship and stay for another year, further encouraging the expansion of our artistic community.


Image of “Full Time” by Tulsa Artist Fellow Rena Detrixhe

Five of the Tulsa Artist Fellows, Alice Leora Briggs, Crystal Campbell, Molly Dilworth, Nick Vaughan and Nathan Young will open their studios on Main Street in Tulsa to the public for the Tulsa Art Studio Tour. Held April 9 & 10, 2016, the Tour features artists living and working in Tulsa, for a chance for the community to see their work.

The Tulsa Artist Fellowship includes Alice Leora Briggs, Crystal Z Campbell, Molly Dilworth, Rena Detrixhe, Akiko Jackson, Gary Kachadourian, Monte Little, Chris Ramsay, Clarissa Rizal, Eric Sall, Nick Vaughan, and Nathan Young.

The call for entries for the 2017 Tulsa Artist Fellowship is now open through March 4, 2016.

For more information about the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, visit

For more information about the Tulsa Art Studio Tour, visit