With 2016 over, it’s time to look forward to the wonderful things happening in Oklahoma for 2017. Here are 10 things I’m excited about happening this year in my state.

1. Sea Turtle Island

Oklahoma Aquarium – 300 Aquarium Drive, Jenks
Construction on the highly anticipated Sea Turtle Island at Oklahoma Aquarium is expected to be completed in March. This significant addition to the Oklahoma Aquarium includes two 300-pound loggerhead sea turtles, reef sharks and other tropical fish. The 65,000-gallon tank will be surrounded by a boardwalk and can be experienced from three viewing levels—including an underwater observation station for children to view the exhibit from within the water.

2. Chickasaw Cultural Center’s Growth

Chickasaw Cultural Center – 867 Charles Cooper Memorial Road, Sulphur
The Chickasaw Cultural Center campus has continued to expand since opening in 2010. Soon, a pedestrian bridge connecting the Chickasaw Cultural Center and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area will open, providing visitors easy access between the two attractions. I’m eager to take that because I enjoy both. Upcoming exhibits in 2017 include an Eagle Exhibit, January 13-March 31; a Basket Exhibit April 3-25; and a Tree Houses Exhibit May 13-September 11.

Right now, a Native American Nachi (Quilt) Exhibit is open through March 31. Native American artisans work in many diverse textiles, including leatherwork, intricate beading, woven yarn and cloth, and woven rugs. As settlers and missionaries moved west across the Chickasaw Homelands of the southeastern United States, Chickasaws traded for the settlers’ beautifully colored cloth. Through continued trade and later as the cultures meshed, Chickasaw women made quilts from this colored cloth. Using their skills and creativity, they also incorporated their own cultural designs in the patterns.

3. Art of the Shoe

Science Museum Oklahoma – 2020 Remington Place, Oklahoma City
“Sole Expression: Art of the Shoe” will open in Science Museum Oklahoma’s smART Space galleries on Saturday, February 18. The exhibit opening will be from 6-9 p.m. on February 18 and that the exhibit will be open as a normal part of the museum beginning the next day. The exhibit features local, national and international artists and will examine how the shoe has been interpreted in art throughout history, the science and engineering behind specific shoe designs, peoples’ relationships with footwear, and the powerful ways that this relationship effects our lives, activities, and perceptions.

coded_couture

4. CODED_COUTURE

Oklahoma Contemporary – 3000 General Pershing Blvd., Oklahoma City
The idea of customization has always been at the heart of couture. The gown made to fit you, perfectly; the hand- beading, hand-stitching and other time-consuming processes involved in the creation of couture garments that reinforce the notion of the piece as a work of art with a specific connection to the owner. The digital age has introduced a new approach to personalized fashion, and in some cases, a new iteration of couture. This exhibition will feature designers whose approach to personalization is sympathetic to the allure of haute couture, but whose methodology is rooted in coding.

CODED_COUTURE features the work of 10 international artist-designers whose approaches to personalization are sympathetic to the allure and history of haute couture, yet whose inventive methodologies are rooted in new technology. The traveling exhibit will open June 29th and stay until August 10th at Oklahoma Contemporary.

5. Norman Music Festival X

Downtown Norman
This year will be the 10th Anniversary of the Norman Music Festival. Headliners so far include Thee Oh Sees, Israel Nash, Oddisee & Good Compny, Low Cut Connie, Ggoolldd, Deerpeople, The Daddyo’s, and Lincka. The festival staff have some special plans for this year that have yet to be revealed.

6. Classen Senior Center Mural

Classen Senior Center – 913 NW 12th Street, Oklahoma City
The Oklahoma City Housing Authority and Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. have partnered to offer a unique opportunity to create a mural at 913 NW 12th Street near the Midtown district. This project is open to collaborative submissions and encourages diversity of approaches. Proposed completion date is August 15, 2017. Deadline to submit proposals is February 21, 2017. I am personally following this project as part of a documentary.

7. Art of Japanese Woodblock Prints

Oklahoma City Museum of Art – 415 Couch Drive, Oklahoma City
After the Floating World: The Enduring Art of Japanese Woodblock PrintsAFTER THE FLOATING WORLD: The Enduring Art of Japanese Woodblock Prints” shares images carved onto wooden blocks used to create colorful prints on paper are among the most famous Japanese art forms. These prints, popular in Japan from the 17th through the 19th centuries, are known as Ukiyo-e, which translates as “pictures from the floating world.” Ukiyo-e artists produced prints in a variety of subject matter including actors in the Kabuki theater, female portraiture, folktales, and mythology and landscapes.

Organized from the collections of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, this exhibition focuses on two artists: Torii Kiyotada VII (1875-1941) and Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950). These printmakers were at the forefront of the early 20th-century evolution of the Ukiyo-e tradition into a style known as Shin Hanga that incorporated stylistic elements from the West. Kiyotada VII was born into a family with a long tradition of producing theatrical images, and his prints of Kabuki actors illustrate the rich tradition of Japanese theater. Yoshida (1876-1950) was a popular artist both in Japan and in the United States whose extensive world travels resulted in evocative prints of familiar landmarks such as Mt. Fuji, the Taj Mahal, the Acropolis, and Niagara Falls.

8. Tower Theatre Shows

Tower Theatre – 425 NW 23rd Street, Oklahoma City
The Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City’s Midtown will finally open this year! Construction is finishing up and shows are in the process of being booked for the venue.

Sneak peek of the construction of Stoneclound Brewing in OKC. @stonecloudbrewing #UncoveringOklahoma #okc #comingsoon

A post shared by Dennis Spielman (@dennisspielman) on

9. Stonecloud Brewing Co

Stonecloud Brewing Co – 1012 NW 1st Street, Oklahoma City
Stonecloud Brewing Co is doing a complete renovation of the old Sunshine Laundry Cleaners building and they hope to be open in early 2017. Once open, they will have a public taproom and offer tours. Behind the project is Stillwater native, Joel Irby. He’s had 8 years of Colorado brewing experience via Avery and Boulder Beer.

10. James And The Giant Peach

Lyric Theatre – 1727 NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City
At the Plaza Theatre in late March is the Theatre for Young Audiences production of James And The Giant Peach by Golden Globe winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. This colorful musical, based on the classic Roald Dahl story, follows a young boy who enters a gigantic peach and sets out on a cross-world adventure with several magically-altered garden bugs. What stands out about this production is that Lyric will produce two sensory-friendly performances specifically designed for children with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome or other sensory-processing disorders and special needs.


There are many more things to be excited about for 2017, not even mentioning the projects I’m involved with. My friends at the WAFTI Show and As Told By OKC did this podcast talking about various events and businsseses opening in Oklahoma City.

Stay tuned as 2017 will be a great year!