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Public Art in Tulsa: A New Controversy

By Rich Fisher


Tulsa, Oklahoma – On today's show, we look at the emerging controversy regarding a certain forthcoming work of public art here in Tulsa. It all started last week, when several members of the City Council made unfavorable remarks --- some of them quite harsh --- about a proposed piece that the Tulsa Arts Commission had recommended for the recently refurbished Tulsa Convention Center. One council member even told the Tulsa World: "This is probably the ugliest thing I've ever seen in my life." The work in question is to be a colorful, abstract, 3,000-square-foot-plus creation adorning a wall. The piece would employ ceramic tiles, and would be created by the internationally renowned Sarah Morris, a British-American artist with works in the collections of the Tate Modern in London, the Guggenheim and MoMA in New York, and so on. Our guest on today's show is Ken Busby, past chairman of the Tulsa Arts Commission and current executive director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa. Also on this edition of the show: StudioTulsa encourages its listeners to submit commentaries for airplay consideration. Host Rich Fisher concluded today's show with the following remarks: "This is the time of the program when we occasionally feature a member of our community sharing a personal essay or commentary on a civic issue --- or just about life in Tulsa --- people like Barry Friedman, Connie Cronley, and Jeff Martin. And while you'll still hear from them regularly, to borrow a sports metaphor, we're looking to expand the bench a little bit. So here's your chance to be on the radio. Got a city or state issue that has you riled up? How about an idea that could make our community better? Or how about a special experience in your life? Or just a story that you'd like to share with five- to ten-thousand of your closest friends? Well, here's your opportunity. We're looking for three- to four-minute commentaries, which is no more than about two pages (typed and doubled-spaced) per piece. Producer Scott Gregory will work with you to make your commentary clear and concise, and before you know it --- you'll be on the radio. So, for information on becoming a commentator on StudioTulsa --- or to submit your commentary --- send an e-mail to [studiotulsa@publicradiotulsa.org]." (Note that all submissions are, of course, subject to approval and editing.)