Transformation at Heart of Two Solo Exhibitions Opening at MAINSITE in August

a softer storm01 Webking monkey01 WebMAINSITE Contemporary Art will debut two solo exhibitions from artists (and upstairs neighbors) Elise Deringer and Mohammad Javaheri on Friday, August 8 with an opening reception planned to take place from 6 to 10 p.m.

Deringer and Javaheri moved into one of the studio spaces located above MAINSITE Contemporary Art in August 2013, and a year later they are premiering the works created there in A Softer Storm and Line of Flight, respectively.

Deringer grew up in the Sooner State and studied sculpture at The University of Oklahoma before receiving her MFA from Arizona State University. She has been a practicing studio artist for over a decade now.

Her work approaches landscapes through the lens of poetry and philosophy, her forms created in a space between drawing and sculpture, utilizing materials like stone, sand, concrete and salt to interact with drawn, painted and dyed surfaces. Salt is especially integral to A Softer Storm.

“Confronting these tactile surfaces in the studio and being mindful of where salty forms emerge in the natural world (in essence: from sweat, tears, and the sea), keeps me present,” Deringer said. “I work with layers of inks, dyes, and paints that I apply and wash away over and over again, and the salt pushes through and crusts again and is just this fascinating material to work with. It’s continually transforming.”

Her work — including that seen in A Softer Storm — dwells mainly on landscapes, but in an atypical way.

“These aren’t inspired by any particular place in the sense of ‘Oh, this is Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona. This is from the coast of Maine’ … but without question, specific landscapes inform what I do and how I think about place,” Deringer said. “I have been fortunate enough to travel pretty extensively over the past ten years, and I hold the sense of being in a place in my mind much more closely than the visual image.”

Javaheri is a native of Iran who met Deringer while attending Arizona State University. He received a Masters degree in Chemistry before shifting his focus to art and receiving his MFA in Drawing & Painting in 2012.

His large oil and acrylic paintings celebrate movement with layered, kinetic, brush strokes that pair a melting, sometimes ambiguous backgrounds with more sharply focused subject figures.

“It offers to the viewer, as it does to me, an experience akin to entering a tangible landscape: an exploration through which all the beings involved are in the process of becoming something new,” Javaheri said.

The Library Gallery will showcase new work by James Hammontree, an Oklahoma City artist and musician who performs with bands like Power Pyramid and Sex Snobs.

MAINSITE also has pieces by Oklahoma printmaker and illustrator Tiffany McKnight on display in the Water Closet Gallery.

The exhibit will run through Saturday, September 13 with a closing reception plotted for 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, September 12. Deringer and Javaheri will also conduct an artist talk at 5 p.m., prior to the closing reception.

MAINSITE Contemporary Art is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is located at 122 E. Main, Norman, OK. The exhibit and its receptions are free and open to the public.

Fall 2014 Art Education Scholarships Available Now!

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In 2012, the Norman Arts Council introduced the Robert Kidd III Arts Programs Scholarship Fund to provide support for Norman students in grades kindergarten through 8th grade to attend arts education programs with an established arts organization or educator.

Awards are given for fall, spring and summer class sessions. A selection of arts education experiences and other arts related events and programs is available on the 2013 Norman Arts Resource Guide, available online at

Applications for Fall 2014 are available now and accepted through Monday, August 18, 2014. Download full the full guidelines and application here.

The Robert Kidd III Arts Programs Scholarship Fund is made possible with support from Republic Bank and Trust and the City of Norman.

For more information on the scholarships call 405-360-1162.

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Norman Public Arts Board Extends Deadline For Downtown Norman Sculpture Project


On behalf of the Norman Arts Council and the City of Norman, Oklahoma, the Norman Public Arts Board seeks to purchase/commission two pieces of permanent outdoor sculptures for placement at the southwest corner of East Main Street/Porter Avenue (Site #1) and the southeast corner of the current downtown library building in the City of Norman Complex (Site #2). The deadline has been extended from July 14 to July 28, 2014.

Proposals may be submitted that are suitable for either location or separate proposals for each specific site. Since submissions will be done online, separate submissions would be require for multiple proposals.

In 2012, the Norman Public Arts Board commissioned and installed sculptures by Craig Swan and Jonathan Hils, located on the 100 and 200 W. Main Blocks of Downtown Norman, respectively.

The goals of this project are to enhance a heavily trafficked intersection that visually anchors the downtown arts district and to expand the visual appearance of the City of Norman Complex. Both areas serve as pathways to several churches in established neighborhoods, the public library, the City of Norman Complex, retail/commercial establishments, and the locations are part of the major traffic patterns of downtown Norman.

The installations should embody a theme representative of central Oklahoma and/or specifically the City of Norman. The themes should relate but not to be limited to any characteristics on this list: Oklahoma weather, Native American heritage, civic character, complexity of a university city, cultural diversity of the third largest city in the state, the pioneer spirit, and the natural habitats or environment of the area. The style of the sculpture may be a traditional, architectural, figurative or contemporary interpretation of the theme and may be made of any material.


The budget for each piece of artwork is $15,000.  This amount includes all associated costs of design, materials, fabrication, travel, insurance coverage, delivery, and installation.  The base of the sculpture will be provided by the City of Norman.

Artist Eligibility

All artists who reside in Oklahoma may respond.  Proof of residence may be required.

Tentative Timeline

Step One Application Deadline:  July 28, 2014
Notification of Selected Artists:  August 8, 2014
Step Two Finalists’ Presentations/Interview:  August 27, 2014, 5:30pm
Notification of Selection:  September 2, 2014
Installation Deadline:  October 19, 2014

For more information and full guidelines, download the application here.

To submit your proposal, visit:



Site One Aerial PAB FINAL

Site One Streetside PAB FINAL


Site Two Aerial PAB FINALSite Two Streetside PAB FINAL

Share The Love: Silent Auction & Benefit for the Loveland Family

Michael Loveland Silent Auction Web

Please join us at 7 p.m. Friday, July 18 at MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main in Norman, for a Silent Auction benefitting Michael Loveland and his family. All proceeds will be directly to The Loveland Family to offset the medical bills and associated expenses stemming from his cancer treatment.

The Norman art community knows the Lovelands well. Michael is a talented musician that we’ve heard in alt-rock bands like Poolboy and Early Beat, while his wife Ruth is a noted Oklahoma visual artist with a studio located right above Norman Art Council’s home here at MAINSITE.

The community has rallied together with online donor drives, benefit shows and now a silent auction that not only provides another avenue to support The Loveland Family but also a chance to come away with a unique piece of the Oklahoma art world or an unforgettable experience.

Items and packages up for auction include: art by Jonathan Hils, Curtis Jones, Chad Mount, Margaret Kinkeade, Amanda & Dylan Bradway and more, a 6 day trip to Puerta Vallarta, premium OKC Thunder tickets, music production by songwriter and musician Brine Webb, an all-day date with Seth McCarroll & Timothy Elliot, gift baskets featuring amazing offerings from Norman’s best shops and restaurants and much, much more, collectively valued at over $20,000.

Support an artist and share the love with a family in need and walk away with a little piece of Norman in the process.

Contact Joshua Boydston at with any questions.

OU Students Install Outdoor Sculptures at Lions Park in Norman

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Norman Arts Council and the Norman Public Arts Board, in partnership with The OU School of Art and Art History sculpture program, installed six outdoor sculptures created by OU art students in Lions Park next to the Firehouse Arts Center, 444 S. Flood, Norman, OK, this May. The sculptures will remain on display for the Norman community throughout the summer and into August.

Six students — under the direction of professor and sculpture artist Jonathan Hils — were selected by the Erinn Gavaghan, Executive Director of Norman Arts Council, and Larry Walker, Chair of the Public Arts Board, to participate in the project. OU art students Rani Cozad, Megan Schwann, Anna Lipscomb, Ryan Harris, Alexis Dickens and Amy Sanders were chosen to create their works over the course of the spring semester.

“We are always so happy to work with university students,” Gavaghan said. “This is such a mutually beneficial collaboration for the Norman Arts Council and art students, and it is a project that I hope we can continue for years to come.” Continue reading

Call for Entries for the 37th Annual Midsummer Nights’ Fair

Art Wall 2013

The Firehouse Art Center’s 37th Annual Midsummer Nights’ Fair is on August 22 and 23, 2014. The outdoor event is held from 6:00 – 11:00 p.m. each night in Lions Park, adjacent to the Firehouse Art Center and mid-way between downtown Norman and the OU campus. Artists with original, handmade work who would like to apply for a booth at the fair can apply online at by the June 20, 2014 deadline.

The Midsummer Nights’ Fair is the Firehouse’s opportunity to highlight regional artists and provide attendees an opportunity to purchase juried fine art and high-end craft pieces. Guests will also enjoy musical entertainment that features local and student bands performing on two separate stages in the park. Additionally, attendees can purchase food from vendors at the park or dine in one of the nearby Norman restaurants.

Children and adults alike can participate in art activities during the fair. Children are invited to paint a panel on the Children’s Art Wall with experienced Firehouse faculty to guide them in creating their own visual story. All attendees can join in sculpting small sculptures out of aluminum foil or try portrait drawing with a live model. In the center tent, additional FAC faculty will demonstrate wheel-thrown pottery, painting, jewelry, sculpting, and drawing. These evenings encourage participation in the arts on a personal level, provide an overview of what is available in Firehouse classes, and allow us to thank community supporters.

ABOUT THE NORMAN FIREHOUSE ART CENTER – The Norman Firehouse Art Center, Inc. is a non-profit organization that serves Norman and surrounding communities by offering visual art classes for students of all ages, as well as gallery exhibitions of the highest quality.

Sponsors of the Firehouse Art Center include, the Oklahoma Arts Council, the Norman Arts Council, Allied Arts, Republic Bank and Trust, Sarkeys Foundation and the Kirkpatrick Family Fund.