Under Her Wing was the Universe
WATCH : IS THIS A GREAT STATE OR WHAT? (2/15/2019)
Hi! My name is romy owens, and I am an Oklahoma artist living in Enid.
I am creating public art in downtown Enid, Oklahoma. There is an empty plot of land owned by the city of Enid that I will activate with pocket prairie, an eco-system filled with native Oklahoma grasses, flowers, and trees. In the middle of the prairie will be a large walk-through sculptural with a path and seating. Under this massive sculpture, visitors will find a sanctuary-like setting with a light installation above that presents an artist-interpreted universe of stars overhead. This public art will transform the city block of Park Avenue between Grand and Independence. The location is immediately south of the Stride Bank Conference Center and one block north of Highway 412.
The downtown square in Enid is vibrant and lively, and this adds another great attraction. This work of contemporary art would become a significant destination for Enid residents and visitors alike. I imagine it becoming the kind of destination where memorable moments happen: a first kiss, a proposal, teenage daydreaming... a place where grandparents can bond with grandchildren.
This public art is titled Under Her Wing was the Universe, and my relationship with my mom is the inspiration for the concept. Mom inspired me to dream and imagine unlimited possibilities. Hopefully, we all have had a person like that in our lives. With this artwork, imagine stepping under the shelter of a bird’s wing and seeing an universe within it.
Community Partners for this project include: City of Enid, Americorp's Youth Build, Park Avenue Thrift, Main Street Enid, and Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition.
Here are the Reward Levels for the project:
￼With your support: If I have the honor of receiving your support, I will use the funds to pay for materials, contractors, equipment rental, insurance, and landscaping. Steel and concrete are expensive, ya'll. Every contribution is deeply appreciated, even if it is only a few dollars. That few dollars may help purchase another foot of cable. It takes hundreds of people to fund a project like this. So thank you for your generosity.
About this fundraiser: As the artist responsible for this project, I receive all the donations made through this platform, minus a credit card transaction processing fee. Please consider paying by check to bypass card processing fees. Please email me (theromyowens @ gmail . com) for my mailing address. Your check will be logged as an offline donation and still count towards the goal. If you donate through GoFundMe, your contribution is considered a gift and is not tax deductible.
Tax deductible donations: If you would like your donation to be tax deductible, do not donate through GoFundMe. Instead, make your donation through Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. They are a non-profit organization whose mission is to support Oklahoma art and artists and their power to enrich communities. Under Her Wing was the Universe is a sponsored project of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. If you donate through OVAC, is critical that you note that the donation is designated to Under Her Wing was the Universe in the comments section of the online donation form when you make your donation, or on the memo line of your check.
The goal: This fundraising goal is based upon expenses. I am creating a 2.5 acre pocket prairie complete with an architectural-scale pavilion with a relatively small budget. Please help me reach the goal with any amount you can contribute. This is not the kind of project that an artist can self-fund.
About romy owens: I am a visual artist living in Enid, Oklahoma. My artistic practice reacts to location, community, and relationships. I create large-scale installations and smaller works of art.
Learn more : romyowens.com.
I have been fortunate to have two architects help me execute this project. Michael Shuck, Enid, has been with the project since September 2017. adam Lanman was with the project from April through September 2017 and helped establish the site plan and the design of the pavilion's frame. Jessica Nelson is the project manager.
Phase 1: Fundraising (April 2017 - PRESENT)
I applied for and received three grants for this project. Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition awarded their Community/Artist Partnership Grant ($1,200). Enid Arts Council awarded a grant to the project ($5,000). The City of Enid awared their Public Arts Commission grant to the project ($24,000).
Phase 2: Off-site material preparation (July 2017 - August 2018)
Phase 3: On-site construction (Winter - Summer 2019)
Phase 4: Patron reception (TBD)
Phase 5: Delivery of donor perk items. (At Patron Reception)
Thank you to the following people who have given $1,000 or more to this project:
The Janice and Bert Mackie Family
The Public Art Commission of Enid
Park Avenue Thrift
Christy and Scott Northcutt
Enid Arts Council
KC Clifford and David Broyles
Diane and Jon Ford
Ben, Jenny and Brent Haines
Judith and Richard Heinrichs
Molly Helm, Purple Ink Consulting
Shawn and Greg Hodgen
Sharon and David Hume
Main Street Enid
Jean and Dean McCollough
Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition
Melissa Prophet and Jay Taylor
The Rodebush Family
Jill and Jens Ruding
Lin and Ernesto Sanchez
Sandy and Bob Sober
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church
Elaine, Kari and Eric Starkey
Kim and Mike Wallace
Hope to see you Saturday! Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for being awesome and supportive and kind and generous!
I got the chance to talk to Curtis Tucker from Enid Buzz about the project. You can watch that 20 minute interview here: https://www.enidbuzz.com/downtown-public-art-project/
Joe Malan wrote a column this week in the Enid News and Eagle about downtown Enid, including Under Her Wing was the Universe. You can read that column here: https://www.enidnews.com/opinion/columns/column-an-observer-from-the-outside/article_3d563bb8-eedb-5609-83e0-2e198932784c.html
We are currently $17,265 away from our fundraising goal. There is an Ice Cream Social fundraiser event next Saturday, June 15 from 1:30 to 3:30 at the First Presbyterian Church of Enid. The church is matching all donations at this event up to $1,250. If you cannot attend, please consider helping us meet this match by donating online through GoFundMe next Saturday morning.
How this balance breaks down: Currently, 725 people have contributed to Under Her Wing was the Universe. If you look at the GoFundMe page for the project, there have been 1,177 donations received. That's because several people have donated more than one time. If everyone who has given already, all 725 of you, donated $25 more, this project would be funded. I know it is not in everyone's capability to give $25 again, but if it is within your means, please consider.
Thank you so much for your continued enthusiasm and support! I look forward to moving through these next steps as quickly as possible to get to the celebration part.
If you have any questions, if you need to know how much you've given so far, if you want to confirm your star names before the map goes to the designer, please let me know. I'm easy to reach via my website, my facebook page, my instagram page, or via email at theromyowens [at] gmail [dot] com.
Through a lack of understanding, I have been skeptical of your phrase “militant optimist.” Any doubt was laid to rest by your performance at the Enid City Council Study Group. Your command of information was remarkable but most amazing was your poise and grace under fire. I would have gotten defensive and lost the argument. You, instead, were never angry, calmly defended your project and won the day. Hell of a demonstration of optimism. Would you be interested in running for governor?
@Kingkini Arend, thanks for your questions! The date and time I think about is December 24, 2016, 10:40pm. I don't know that this configuration is literally possible, but that is a fixed point in time that I think about often, so how the stars appeared in Enid that night is on my mind. The light installation is a very abstracted version of the night sky though, so that level of organization isn't feeling as critical to me as it did when i first thought about this work months ago. And we are totally wanting to create a remarkably low maintenance pocket prairie on the site. We aren't going to have anything as formal or organized as the Myriad Gardens. We do want to use smaller and Oklahoma specific plants. Absolutely nothing exotic. The prairie landscape has long been a focus in my artwork. We have been talking closely with city leaders to make sure we do what is best for the downtown community while creating something beautiful and eco-friendly. So glad that you like the idea!
I am curious as to what date and time you have picked to represent with this installation. I was also wondering what your plans are for the landscaping around the sculpture. If I might suggest, Enid could use a small scale botanical garden with representations of the natural prairie landscape--like a local version of Myriad Gardens, only smaller and more specific to local flora. This site would be an ideal spot for such a garden. It would be educational as well as suited to the local microclimate, requiring less maintenance than more exotic landscapes. And it would create the perfect foreground for our Enid downtown with your art piece being the focal point. Thoughts?
I was hoping they would I started drumming Ideas for years in my head, everyone told my I was crazy. They would go for that here in Enid, I won't mention any names tho.
@J.E. Glaze, thanks for your questions! This will be an artistic interpretation of the view of the Enid night sky based upon a specific date and time, which is posted in an image above. Will it look like literal stars in the sky? No, the technologies involved in making it look like an *actual* star filled sky are outside of our budget for an outdoor public artwork. However, we believe it will be a beautiful experience, just as we believe Van Gogh's Starry Night is a beautiful artistic interpretation of a star filled sky. We are creating a micro-universe with 1,000 stars inspired by a singular point in time. So these are fictitious stars that have no names until they are adopted and named. Same goes for constellations and galaxies and solar systems. Does that answer your question?