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    Posted January 14, 2012 by
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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    MLK Celebration -- AN ARTS EVENING IN OKC -- A Salute to Contemporary Black artists in Oklahoma


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Patricia0117 captured this iReport at Gaylord-Pickens Museum where a variety of artists, entertainers, and musicians came together to celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday. Patricia117 says she is humbled by how different life is now. “I grew up in the early 60's when I was not afforded the freedom of speech or expression outside of the African American community. And now, African Americans are afforded to display in world renown art galleries like the Gaylord-Pickens Museum for everyone's viewing," she says.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    The Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in Oklahoma City started out with an African American Art Exhibition reception and salute to the arts. This event was held at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum.


    Oklahoma’s Inclusion in Art, in conjunction with the Gaylord Pickens Museum and sponsored by Robert and Danielle Shelton, is hosting an exhibition at the museum of innovative art work that explores African American culture.


    Afro-Americana: This exciting presentation includes work from noted and emerging contemporary Black artists in Oklahoma. Afro-American is a celebration of African American artistry and creativity. This exhibition is showcasing the artistic contributions of Oklahoma’s largely unknown growing population of Black artists and artisans.


    The list of talented artists and artisans that have exhibits at this showing include:


    Robert Skip Hill
    Joyce Carley
    Arisha Burlingame
    Suzanne Thomas
    Al Bostic
    Rene Refour
    Alex Kathilu
    Andrew Akufo
    Ronna Pernell
    Nathan Lee
    Marcus Eakers
    Lola Jenkins
    Eileen Thomas


    Their works include paintings, sculptures and high craft. Their styles range from realism and impressionism to the more abstract work. The creations are very diverse and reflect the African American culture ---from not only the Oklahoma City perspective; but from around America and the world. These artists are visionaries; as well as historians. Their works depict and blend the African Americans culture from the past and present with a salute to the future. This was a very impressive showing of talents and skills.


    AfroCaribeño also performed at the reception for this Afro-Americana exhibit. Grupo AfroCaribeño is an Oklahoma City-based performance ensemble that fuses cultural traditions from Africa and the African Diaspora, including bomba from Puerto Rico, rumba from Cuba and gwoka from Guadeloupe. The company aims to build a sustainable community that studies, appreciates and celebrates African-rooted music and dance forms through live performance, academic engagement and collaboration.


    This Afro-Americana exhibition will be held at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum located at 1400 Classen Drive in Oklahoma City through April 21, 2012.


    A special congratulations and thanks to Mr. Nathan Lee, Curator / Executive Director of Inclusion in Art and to the many talented artists. Inclusion in Art is dedicated to creating a more racially diverse arts community in Oklahoma. This is a cultural experience that should be experienced and viewed internationally.


    Patricia Smith
    CNN iReport




    More pictures of this event can be found at this link:






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