Under Her Wing was the Universe
My name is romy owens and I am an artist living in Enid, Oklahoma, where I grew up.
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 pavilion with a path and seating. Inside the pavilion, visitors will find a sanctuary-like setting with a light installation above that presents a artist-interpreted universe of stars overhead. This public art will transform the city block of Park Avenue between Grand and Independence.
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 could happen: a first kiss, a proposal, teenage daydreaming, or 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, and Main Street Enid.
￼With your support: If I have the honor of receiving your donation, I will use the funds to pay for materials, contractors, equipment rental, insurance, and landscaping. Every contribution is deeply appreciated, even if it is only a few dollars. That few dollars may help purchase another bolt for the steel. It takes hundreds of people to fund a project like this. So thank you for your time and for your generosity. I am so grateful that you had a look!
About this fundraiser: I receive all the donations made through this platform, minus a credit card transaction processing fee. Please consider paying by check and bypass card processing fees. You will mail that directly to me (romy owens), as I am the custodian of all the funds. Please email me (theromyowens @ gmail . com) for my mailing address. Your check will be logged as an offline donation and still count towards our goal. If you would like your donation to be tax deductible, please email me for information about the fiscal sponsors who will receive your donation.
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 remarkably 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 - start of construction)
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 (October - December 2018)
Phase 4: Patron reception (TBD)
Phase 5: Delivery of perk items to donors. (At conclusion of construction)
Starting December 1, and continuing through December 10, there are nine pieces of my art for sale that benefit the project. The art is available through my website: https://www.romyowens.com/hashtag-blessed and 100% of sales will benefit the project. Each piece is $50. The size of each piece is 6"x6" and each piece is framed in a 10"x10" white wood frame. The pieces are very atypical from anything I have made before and are inspired by my emotional experience over the past two years. I hope you will take a look at the art, and if one of the pieces resonates with you, maybe you will purchase one.
On December 11, this sale will end. Any of the #BLESSED pieces that don't sell during the next ten days will be included in a drawing. A $5 donation will get your name entered into the drawing. If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to ask! I will post another update on December 11 with details about the drawing for donors and which pieces will be included.
Today, December 1, 20% of sales from Putnam Six Bookstore and The Lokal Bakery in Enid will benefit the project. Next Saturday, December 8, 20% of sales from The Pastry Nook in Oakwood Mall's Food Court will benefit the project! I am so grateful to all of these local businesses for helping me chip away at the fundraising goal!
Currently, I am about $46,000 away from the goal. If you have not been following the progress of the project through the Enid newspaper, there was an article this week about the delay in construction. You can read about it here: https://www.enidnews.com/news/lifestyles/steel-mislabeling-delays-downtown-art-construction/article_42289924-7e6d-5028-8fb3-e53f1ae2f450.html
As always, thank you for your support, thank you for reading, thank you for your patience. Holla if you have any questions!
In the next couple of weeks, there are some Enid events scheduled that you might like to know about:
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 5PM - 9PM
Klemme Gallery and Event space is having its grand opening, and I am one of four artists featured in this opening exhibition. This event is free and open to the public. Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar. I've made new work for this exhibition. Hope you can come!
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 10:30AM (AND ALL DAY)
Putnam Six Bookstore in Westgate Shopping Center has a weekly Children's Storytime, and I will be reading How to Catch a Star. Shop for books for yourself or for holiday gifts any time on this Saturday, because 20% of sales will benefit Under Her Wing!
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8, 8AM - 2PM
The Pastry Nook Bistro and Cafe in the food court at Oakwood Mall will be serving up all kinds of deliciousness for you to enjoy, so treat yourself! 20% of all sales on this day will benefit Under Her Wing!
My best to you all for a safe and healthy Thanksgiving! And as always, thanks for reading! Thanks for supporting!
LAST THURSDAY: The Killdeers and Wakeland performed in OKC and in total, $2,535 was raised for the project that night! Thank you to VZD's and Eric Smith for opening the venue up to the fundraiser! Thank you Brad Heinrichs, John Thomas, and Chris Sullivan for the great music!
SAVE THE DATE: November 29, I will be in a group exhibition at Klemme Gallery and Event Space. This is not a fundraiser event for the project. It is an artist reception and grand opening for the gallery featuring Catherine Freshley, Amanda Lamunyon, Mike Klemme, and me. However, I will have art available for purchase, and as is the case with all art I am selling right now, 100% of the sale will benefit this project. Want to look at art currently available for purchase? Here's the link: https://www.romyowens.com/art-sale
FINALLY: I presented an update to the City Commissioners at their bi-weekly study session last Tuesday (11/6/2018). There is a link to the study session video from the City of Enid's YouTube page attached to this update. And here is a link to the latest Enid News and Eagle article (11/11/2018) about the project: https://www.enidnews.com/community/construction-set-to-start-on-downtown-art-project/article_303554cd-539a-5529-8297-92d2afd0a422.html
As always, thanks for reading! Thanks for supporting! Thanks for advocating! If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them!
Last Friday, The Killdeers concert in Enid was a great success and we raised $1,340 for the project that night! Thank you to Gaslight Theatre and Jill Ruding for being amazing hosts! Thank you to Brad Heinrichs and John Thomas for the fantastic music!
The Killdeers and Wakeland will be performing this Thursday night at VZD's in Oklahoma City. Tickets are $10 at the door. Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 8pm. A dozen artists have included art in a silent auction that will be viewable at VZD's for the evening. If you're in OKC, come out for a fun night of music and art!
And finally, because I was recently asked to update the donor information, here's some facts for you:
• 602 donors to date / $177,277 raised
• 4 international donors, representing Australia, England, and Mexico
• 97 donors from outside Oklahoma, representing 26 states and DC
• 501 donors from Oklahoma, representing 44 different municipalities
• Cities representing the largest number of donors are:
Stillwater (10), Edmond (23), Tulsa (26), Norman (28), Enid (155), and Oklahoma City (207)
As soon as we start construction, I will update this page. Good vibes for a speedy delivery of steel welcome.
Thanks for reading! Thanks for supporting! Thanks for advocating! If you want to dig a little deeper into public art's role in community, here's a nice primer: https://www.associationforpublicart.org/what-is-public-art/
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?
@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!
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?
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?