“Art of Christmas” exhibit opens

Ponca City Now - December 8, 2015 8:53 am

A new art exhibit is on display at the Ponca City Art Center. Five invited Oklahoma artists and Ponca City organizations are participating in the Art of Christmas this year, which runs through Jan. 9.

An open house for the exhibit will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, as part of the city-wide Holiday Happening weekend.

Each exhibit is unique, and all tell a different Christmas story. Artists and organizations were asked to use “found objects” to describe what Christmas means to them or their organization.

Erin Daugherty, an artist out of the Tulsa area, combined fallen tree branches from her family’s farm, white linen cloth and torn parchment with messages of hope and thanksgiving. Visitors are encouraged to share their own messages as well.

Daugherty’s project uses items reminiscent of a manger, a familiar and central object in the traditional nativity story.

"With my piece I have made a space for people to come and experience the presence of the Lord Jesus, whose birthday we are celebrating," she said.

Nick Lillard, a metal sculptor from Oklahoma City, titled his project "Before Impact". Lillard’s ornament is perhaps the most structurally ambitious exhibit.

Lillard, using only found objects, welded together a five-foot-tall lit Christmas tree ornament, complete with an ornament hook. The ornament sits on its side, tilted, appearing to have fallen possibly from a very large, nearby tree.

Lillard’s project is internally lit and sits on the porch of the Art Center, shining colorful lights, and enticing curious passing drivers on Central Avenue in Ponca City.

Sandy Meador, a local interior design artist, used red and green storage trunks to stack into the shape of a traditional Christmas tree.

The Pioneer Woman Museum put a fun and festive spin on its exhibit, which sits at eye level for a child.

"This tree was designed to delight the child within all of us that yearns to come out and play," said Robbin Davis, Executive Director of the museum.

Visitors may feel free to move the toys, ornaments and izits around and make the tree come to life, she said.

Using PVC pipe, plywood and lots of fun trinkets, this exhibit is sure to a fan-favorite with the kids.

T.L. Walker, Executive Director of the Standing Bear Museum, brought arguably the most distinctive item, a 17-foot canoe, which sits directly in the middle of the main room at the Ponca City Art Center, the only room large enough to house a canoe that length.

Walker, who titled the exhibit "Over the River and Through the Woods" carefully chose items to display in the canoe that could hold significance for a Native American family.

The exhibit is not meant as an historically accurate artifact, but rather a whimsical representation of Native American culture. Artifacts inside of the canoe include a drum, dried corn, bundled packages, a small, snow-covered tree and canoe paddles.

The canoe is arranged on brightly-colored Native American blankets, and almost appears to "float" downstream as you glance through the large front window of the Art Center.

"We asked these artists and organizations to really try to bring a new perspective to the traditional idea of what Christmas means," Art Center director Kelsey Wagner said. "I’m so excited for people to see and experience the Art of Christmas this year, which is fun, thought-provoking, educational and just beautiful to look at."

This exhibit can be viewed during gallery hours, from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The Art Center will be open Dec. 12 and 19 and Jan. 9. The Art Center can also host guests on Sunday on request.


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