Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, the area’s leading space for contemporary art education and exhibitions, has opened its doors in downtown Oklahoma City. Originally scheduled to open in march 2020, the new museum space finally opens following a five-month delay due to covid-19 closures across the country. The faceted volume was designed by local architect Rand Elliott to reflect and pay homage to Oklahoma’s famed big skies and ever changing light.
The new Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, designed by Rand Elliott Architects, opens its doors with the inaugural exhibition entitled ‘bright golden haze.’ named in reference to the first line in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic musical ‘Oklahoma!,’ the exhibition presents a diverse range of artworks from nationally and internationally acclaimed contemporary artists who use light to create a specific sense of place, utilizing the new building’s expanded gallery space to exhibit significant, large-scale works. The show thematically refers both to the storied quality of light and space in Oklahoma and the unique role of light in shaping environment and identity in contemporary art globally.
The new Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center is designed by Rand Elliott architects as a four-story building with a luminous facade. The structure captures aspects of the state’s ever-changing weather conditions and reflects and embraces the dramatic changes in light and sky that characterize the local landscape. The grounds also include a renovated historic warehouse — housing ceramics and fiber studios and metal and wood sculpture studios — and a three-block arts park, providing space for outdoor exhibitions, education programs and public performances. The new building has been shortlisted for two prestigious international architecture awards: the blueprint awards, in the best public-use project – privately funded category, and the world architecture news awards in the civic category.