A Dose of Momentum

“Take Your Medicine” by Timothy Hearne from Moore, OK. Color pencil, 18×23, NFS


“Art doesn’t stand still”-

The tagline for Momentum Oklahoma City sets the tone for an event that embraces the new, the unusual, and the experimental. This event returns to the Farmer’s Market this Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10, to once again highlight the work of our community’s emerging artists.

If you have never been to Momentum before, you should go. I shouldn’t need to give you a reason; you should trust me by now. I thought we were closer than this. If you must know why, then you should read on, because I have compiled eleven things that you need to know about Momentum: Why eleven? Read on…


1) The event was started 11 years ago when OVAC staff brought together a group of emerging artists and asked them what kinds of events or services they would like to see in their community. What would make this city a more welcoming place for young artists? The discussion that followed gave rise to the very first Momentum event. Marked by performances and projects- destructive art projects and a woman sitting in milk, for starters- the first Momentum set the tone for a space where the experimental was welcome. Oklahoma City’s art world has always had an experimental side, but this sort of institutional support for the edgy and unusual was somewhat unprecedented.

2) Momentum Spotlight: At the event, in addition to the individual artwork on display, you will see three artists with large installations. These artists submitted proposals and applied for a specific part of Momentum called “Spotlight.” Once three finalists were selected by curators, they each received grant funding to realize their visions. The work of Sam Lamb, Marcus Eakers, and Margaret Kinkeade is the fulfillment of months of effort, working alongside curators to bring their proposals to life.

3) The work you see in Momentum was selected by two people: a curator and an emerging curator. The emerging curators learn as they go, working alongside an experienced mentor to learn about the work involved in curation. By providing this opportunity, OVAC also helps to encourage new independent curators, each of whom may create exhibitions bringing his or her own vision to life.

4) All of the art in Momentum is made by artists 30 years old and younger. Each year, several participants show their work for the first time, while a few others reach their 31st birthday and are no longer eligible. This rule helps to ensure that each show is a completely new experience.

5) There is a major focus on interactive art this year. Not all of it is interactive- please don’t poke the paintings- but one of Momentum’s volunteer committees has been hard at work creating an interactive art area that, from what I understand, involves scissors, paper, shadow puppets, and close proximity to a cash bar.

6) Speaking of volunteers- volunteer committees have had a huge impact in the planning of each Momentum event. Many of these volunteers are artists themselves, invested in the idea of creating high quality arts exhibitions where they live. Other volunteers come from all perspectives, deeply engaged in the idea of creating incredible community events that center around the arts. The work and efforts of these volunteers lends a “grassroots” feeling that truly permeates the event.

7) Momentum Market is a small section of the show set aside for participating artists to sell work priced $30 and under. (See what they did there?) Smaller works, wearable creations, and other items created by Momentum artists will be available here. It’s a great way to support Momentum artists if you aren’t in the market for larger paintings.

8 ) The event takes place over the course of two nights, and each night has a different “mood,” set in part by the selection of music. Friday is “downtempo” with music by Jared Lekites, Colin Nance, Ryan Lawson and the Hack & Saw Nation. Saturday is “full speed” and things get a little more rowdy with bands Tip Top Secrets, Student Film, and Reality & The New Era.

9) Do you need more proof that emerging artists are making incredible work? I can help you with that! Below we have images of some of the artwork from this year’s exhibition.

10) Momentum is really, a big fun party. Should this item have been a little higher up on the list? Thousands of people come together for the art, and stay for the fun. Dress ranges from casual to dressy and covers everything in-between. Spend a little time with the art and you are guaranteed to experience something new- whether challenging, uplifting, illuminating, or all of the above. Spend a little time with the crowd and you are guaranteed some excellent people watching.

11) Simply put, attending Momentum supports the arts in our community and in our state. Momentum is a project of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, who works year-round to provide support for artists in the state of Oklahoma. ** Sold yet? Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Here is a link to OVAC’s Momentum page, with all the rest of the details. I hope to see you there!



Want to see more? Check OVAC’s Flickr set.

One comment to “A Dose of Momentum”
  1. I really liked this article, Jennifer. Colin did the editing, so this is the first of I’ve read of it. Love the history given, to be honest this is the first one I’m planning to attend. Plus I liked the majority of the art I’ve seen in OVAC’s flickr set. Little surprised to see so many not-for-sale, but I can understand not wanting to part with art you’ve made and would really rather keep.

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