Welcome to ArtDesk.
Whether you are a long-time reader, or just stumbled upon us, I hope you will find our features about contemporary art, performance, and thought to be interesting, fun, and enlightening. Each year, our four issues will celebrate the people, trends, and happenings in contemporary art, which we define as the art of our time created by living artists.
ArtDesk’s main purpose is to be a support publication for three intertwined organizations: Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center in Oklahoma City (formerly City Arts Center); Marfa Contemporary in Marfa, Texas; and Green Box Arts Festival in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. These community arts organizations provide education, exhibition, and programming 365-days-a-year, 24/7 at a grass-roots level.
We at ArtDesk believe in strong regional arts programming. We liken it to the farming system in baseball. Simply said, you can’t have great art in the art capitals if there isn’t great arts education in the regions. Are there any legendary ballerinas who were born and bred in Manhattan? Sure, there may have been one or two in the history of time, but most likely the great American artists of today come not from New York, but from places like Idaho, Oklahoma, or Pennsylvania. We don’t immediately think of these regional outposts as arts incubators. But oftentimes, young artists who have made it to Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center recall the spark they felt when they first heard an opera or saw a ballet in their hometown. Sitting in their seats with their parents, they experienced that pivotal moment of being art-struck, saying, “I want to do that!” For some, it is easy to find a place to pursue arts education; for others, it can be a struggle.
In Oklahoma City and Marfa and at Green Box, we hope to help light the spark of interest in art. We endeavor to be the mechanism that helps make dreams come true—the place where talent can be discovered, revealed, and fine-tuned and the stepping stone from local to regional to national. And we hope to be the place where anyone can come to learn about art and develop a greater appreciation. We are for everyone.
In closing, I would like to give my sincerest thanks to the Kirkpatrick Foundation trustees, who have so generously encouraged me to move ahead with the magazine, believing that it will engender a greater understanding of what these three arts organizations are achieving. It is also our intention that ArtDesk will serve as its own educational platform and that many of our readers—regional and nationwide—will choose to subscribe. Those most passionate about our editorial mission may consider joining the Kirkpatrick Society with a premium level gift that enables us to place ArtDesk in schools, libraries, and other not-for-profit arts organizations.
Lastly, I tip my hat to Louisa McCune, director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, for using her skills as a magazine editor (previously working at George and then as editor-in-chief of Oklahoma Today) to bring this idea of mine to life.