Local businesses support artists amidst pandemic

Artists have had to find a new way to expose their paintings because of COVID-19.

With no art festivals, many artists have had to get creative with the way they advertise themselves.

Chelsea Kilburn is a local OKC artist who had a hard time getting her painting’s exposure in 2020. Kilburn invested in an art studio in May of 2020 but had to close it down because of the pandemic.

“I would set up just out on Sheridan right outside of Caeli’s and I would paint and if people walked by hopefully, they would purchase something or at least it would catch their eye,” Kilburn said. “Unfortunately, there weren’t any festivals going on and it was really tough. Just now I’m finally starting to get moving and getting some recognition.”

Caeli’s is a locally owned “Eats, Sweets, and Drinks” restaurant that has invited Kilburn to display her art in their restaurant.

Many local businesses in downtown OKC have helped support artists by allowing them to display their paintings in their establishments.

Oklahoma Cider Company is located on Film Row where Kilburn also has art displayed.

“I’m using a lot more local groups. I have my paintings in Oklahoma Cider Company,” Kilburn said. “I partnered with a gallery called OLIO who is partnering with The Collective and they have a bunch of different artists in there.”

According to OLIO Gallery’s website, “OLIO is a brand-new platform that revolutionizes the way local artwork is sold.

“With our unique QR tags, OLIO turns local businesses into full service local art galleries. For our artists, we handle the curation, purchase process, and delivery of their artwork so they can focus on what really matters: making art.”

Although OLIO takes a commission off the artwork that sells, Kilburn said it’s worth it because her pieces are being put in front of so many people.

Visit OKC states: “With 10 art galleries in less than a two-mile radius, Film Row is definitely worth an afternoon visit for the art appeal, and a great nightlife experience with a great selection of bars.”

Kilburn has felt the local support during a hard year and wants to keep her artwork in the OKC area.

“I’m really not trying to branch out,” Kilburn said. “Local is where it’s at. Oklahoma has a really good art scene and I can contribute to that.”

Livability.com states: “From experimental visual arts to classical ballet to deadCenter, an annual independent film festival, and avant-garde art shows, OKC has a lot of surprising and unique opportunities for those who enjoy creating and viewing art — or simply being surrounded by creative people who are committed to doing things differently.

With the art scene in OKC growing, artists are looking forward to all the creative new ways to get artwork recognition. 

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