Where is the line between 'craft' and 'art'. For us at Tallgrass Art Gallery, it's a pretty blurry line. Personally I believe if you have mastered a 'craft' to a point where it shows originality and use of media, it's art. This includes not only the visual arts, but poetry, dance and music.
Hand beaded Native American items, showing great skill and use of color, a Billy Royal show saddle or a hand carved walking stick by Harold E. Turpin are surely art. The Native American bead work here shows great use of color and a skill to be envied in the use of the materials. Billy Royal's Show Saddle with hand engraved silver overlay plates is art. Every piece Harold carves is unique and different, showing his ability to see the object he wants to portray in the material before he starts to carve it.
Recently, I met with several cowboy poets to discuss publishing a book of their work. I came away with a reaffirmed belief that this is art.
We are surrounded by art, but sometimes we have to stop and realize it. Art is not just the items we hang on or walls, grace our homes or we see and listen to. Art is broader than that and has the ability to enhance every portion of our lives. For me...if you can cook a great meal, or make an awesome loaf of bread...that too is an art. And I do love 'good art'.
I'm constantly suprised that people are not aware of all Osage County and Pawhuska has to offer. It's a wonderland of nature and culture. From Osage Hills State Park to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, working cowboys, steer ropings and Native American Culture, this area has so much to offer. A trip on the Osage Scenic Byway from Hominy, to Fairfax then back to Pawhuska gives the visitor a real taste of the area.
On any given day you will see working cowboys in downtown Pawhuska buying supplies at Osage Outfitters, visit the bison at Tallgrass Prairie Perserve (the largest tallgrass prairie in the world!) or puruse the goods at Spurs & Arrows or Cliftons in Pawhuska. Wild mustangs graze in the rolling hills as red tail hawks soar overhead.
This weekend is even more amazing in Pawhuska as the Tulsa Rocket Club joins us at Pawhuska Airport (yes we have one). Rockets all day Saturday and Sunday with a night rocket launch at 8:30 on Saturday night. Is that not enough? Visit Red Roan Arena to watch steer roping west of town and enjoy Wick's cafe.
Of course, come by Tallgrass Art Gallery to get your dose of Western and Wildlife Art as well as watch a working traditional silversmith in our window.
St. Louis THINKS they are the gateway to the West, but ask anyone in The Osage and we'll tell you that Pawhuska is the gateway to the REAL West!
Is it really possible for a town to become something it has never been? Can the desires of a towns population with the support of businesses and local leadership change it's future? I have to answer with a resounding YES.
Pawhuska Oklahoma is on the verge of rebuilding itself as one of the 'Art Centers' of Oklahoma and the region. After years of planning and endeavoring to make tourism and the arts the center of it's downtown, Pawhuska is quickly moving towards becoming the 'New Art & Tourism' destination.
Why will this work for this small town nestled in beautiful Osage County, the heart of the Osage Nation? Mostly because Pawhuska believes this is their destiny and is working towards making it happen. As an artist and gallery owner myself, I have never experienced a community more committed to and supportive of the arts in all forms. From the Osage Ballet, which by the way is performing for the Pope this week, to Bronze Horse Foundry, Pawhuska offers an art experience no other town in the region can offer. Our proximity to nationally known museums makes us the center for the arts in Northern Oklahoma. Access to the Tallgrass Prairie and the beauty of the Osage Hills provide a breathtaking backdrop to Pawhuska's rich history.
Last night Tallgrass Art School hosted it's first 'Paint & Sip' class. Fifteen local women came together to paint, share art and experiences and bond as a community. These 15 reaffirmed my own personal belief that yes, we will become a cultural district, we will be a tourism destination and the arts will flourish in Pawhuska.
Recently someone came into the art gallery and remarked "What a great art gallery, too bad it is in Pawhuska". I replied, "What a great town with a great future in the arts...it's an honor to be a part of it".
Tallgrass Art School will officially open on October 1st. We feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to bring nationally known teachers to the area and offer classes that enrich the lives of the artists and the community.
Tallgrass Art School will offer everything from children's art experiences to advanced art and fine craft techniques. These classes are limited in size to facilitate a great learning environment for students.
To kick off the school we will host a street dance on Oct. 3rd in downtown Pawhuska with community art, live music, art demonstrations and open gallery. There will be a special exhibit of contemporary art in the school.
Classes for October include slab and coil built pottery, intermediate and advanced sculpture, Paint and Sip, children's art experience and others.
For more information, visit the schools website www.tallgrassartschool.com. You can see upcoming classes and sign up online. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. Join us for a hands on art experience.
Today Tallgrass Art Gallery is honored to host the new volunteers for Gilcrease Museum. They are coming to Pawhuska to visit the Bronze Horse Foundry, see the incredible windows at Immaculate Conception Church and visit our gallery.
This started me thinking of how important the museums are that are within easy driving distance of Tulsa, Bartlesville and of course Pawhuska. The Gilcrease houses the largest and most comprehensive collections of Western Art in the world. Woolaroc, outside Bartlesville not only houses an outstanding art collection, but also tells the history of Native Americans in the region. The Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City, as well as the Marland Estate share their stories of Oklahoma's rich past. The Osage Tribal Museum in Pawhuska is the oldest tribaly owned museum in the U.S. We are so lucky to have all this at our disposal, and so close in proximity to Pawhuska and The Osage.
For me, the first museum I ever visited was the Philbrook in Tulsa, quickly followed by the Gilcrease. When I was a child, a museum was a place that brought the past to life and also inspired me to create art and a future. I was infatuated with mummies, so off to a museum we went.
Museums are often the repositories of the best humankind has created. Our shared experience is there in art, cultural exhibits and stories. I am constantly inspired by time spent in the presence of great things. If you haven't visited these great museums, plan a museum weekend. Make sure you take your children and start them on the incredible journey of art to enrich their lives and understand their past, and of course, show them a mummy.
You can't live in Pawhuska. on the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma, without being exposed to the creative art and color of the Osage Nation. Since I have moved here I am constantly amazed at the technical skill and the use of color in their work. The history of the American Indian is woven with the fabric of art and creativity. As new medias have been introduced, they have taken them up to express themselves. From pictographs on tepees and everyday objects, to ribbonwork and ledger drawings, the thread continues in the work of modern Osage artists and craftspeople. Osage artists continue to tell the stories of their People and Culture through paintings and fine crafts, keeping their rich tradition alive.
Recently I was lucky enough to attend an Osage Dance. It is like being enveloped in art and color. The exuberance and emotion of the People is on display in their fine crafts.
Pictured in this blog is an early 1900's Osage Wedding Coat, a ribbonwork shawl and a painting for the Osage Ballet by JoeDon Brave, who we are so fortunate to represent. The line of color, tradition and cultural identity is obvious in JoeDon's work.
If you visit Pawhuska, and you really should at least once, you must visit the Osage Tribal Museum, the oldest tribal owned museum in the United States as well as the Osage County Historical Museum to see their incredible collections of art and fine crafts. The Osage continue to teach their arts at their cultural center and bring a rich tradition into the present day.
Last Saturday we held our first class at Tallgrass Art School in Pawhuska. It was a young people's sculpture class. As the class was ending I wandered down to take a look at what they had created.
All the kids in the class were so excited to share what they had made in the class, and I have to say I was impressed by their first time efforts. It reminded me of the first time I 'made' something and that special deep down emotional satisfaction of seeing something in your imagination coming to 'life'.
As artist's and as a community we really should encourage young people to create, whatever medium that might be. Writing, dance, visual arts or any effort that encourages them to use their imagination. Research has shown that children exposed to the arts excel at math, science and other academic studies. We at Tallgrass Gallery and School are so happy we can offer classes that encourage this.
As a child I was lucky to have parents that encouraged us to be creative, it has led to a life long love, appreciation and joy in creating art.
I read this in the 'Urban Dictionary' when I was looking for a great definition of 'art'. We all seem to define what it is differently, and appreciate art for reasons as varied as there are humans. What draws one person may get no response from another. I think you will find this 'definition' both interesting and challenging.
'Once when asked what Trans-Siberian Orchestra was about, Paul O'Neill replied, "It's about creating great art. When asked to define what great art was, Paul said, "The purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person that is exposed to that art. And there are three categories of art; bad art, good art and great art. Bad art will elicit no emotional response in the person that is exposed to it, i.e.; a song you hear in an elevator and it does nothing to you, a picture on a wall that gives you the same emotional response as if the wall had been blank, a movie that chews up time. Good art will make you feel an emotion that you have felt before; you see a picture of a forest and you remember the last time you went fishing with your dad, you hear a song about love and you remember the last time you were in love. Great art will make you feel an emotion you have never felt before; seeing the pieta, the world famous sculpture by Michelangelo, can cause someone to feel the pain of losing a child even if they've never had one. And when you're trying for these emotions the easiest one to trigger is anger. Anyone can do it. Go into the street, throw a rock at someone, you will make them angry. The emotions of love, empathy and laughter are much harder to trigger, but since they operate on a deeper level, they bring a much greater reward.'
"The purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person that is exposed to that art..."
I get asked often 'How long did it take to make this' piece of art. It's a difficult question to answer. I like the response of one artist who gave the number of years she had been creating art. Every piece is the culmination of years of working in a medium and style, with the goal of every new piece building on the methods, techniques and mistakes of the one before it.
For me, every piece builds on the experience of the piece before. I get asked if I will 'miss a piece' after it is sold. While I love the creation process and seeing a work go from inception to completion, when they are done my part of the experience has passed and I am ready to move on to the next piece. The lessons have been learned.
One of the artists in the gallery has been working on pieces for almost 45 years, so her most recent painting took her about 45 years to complete. It's just not an hourly rate thing.
We are all surrounded by the beauty of nature. Jon Cronin uses objects found on walks through his brother's ranch to create sculpture by subtly revealing their inner beauty. Each piece tells the story of the landscape, time and place they were found.
Sculptors, painters and storytellers take us to a moment they have experienced. The stories can be large and dramatic like landscape paintings, or minimal in style, as Jon's pieces. Artists capture an 'emotion of place' and give us the opportunity to experience it through their work.
For me, when I see Jon's work, I am taken to the wide open areas of the Tallgrass and envision solitary trees that have stood in place as sentinels of the prairie, then quietly slipped away to make room for the next generation. The pieces speak of the simple beauty of nature. The shed antlers of the deer and the barbed wire of ranchers long gone, the story of a cycle repeated over and over again on the Tallgrass.
Take the time when you look at art to 'feel' the emotion of the time and place the artist is trying to convey. Allow yourself to be transported to the prairies, homes and lives portrayed.
Musings by Bruce Carter, Owner/Curator of Tallgrass Art Gallery