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Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition Invests $11,000 in Local Artists

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) awards the $5,000 Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowships to Pete Froslie of Norman and Kate Johnson of Tulsa. OVAC also grants $500 Student Awards of Excellence to Sarah Engel-Barnett and Brent Richardson, both of Norman.

The Fellowship awards recognize past achievement and future promise. “OVAC helps artists throughout Oklahoma to realize their potential,” said OVAC Director Julia Kirt. “With the Fellowship awards, OVAC offers these dedicated artists freedom to transform their creative visions into reality.”

Lorelei Stewart selected the awards as guest curator. Stewart is the Director of Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and from 2010-2012 served as the Interim Director of UIC’s Master of Arts in Museum and Exhibition Studies program.

In her curator’s statement, Stewart said the four selected artists “stand out for the originality of vision, their facility with materials, and what their artistic investigations tell us about our place in the world today.”

Froslie explores the intersection between art and technology. Amalgamating the conception, production and presentation, his artworks consist of multiple media to reach his intent such as electronics, wood, sound, software, and found objects. He received a Master of Fine Arts in the Studio for Interrelated Media at the Massachusetts College of Art and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media from University of Nevada (Reno). He is Assistant Professor of Media Art & Technology at the University of Oklahoma School of Art & Art History.

In her current work, Johnson sees the process of making as an investigation into the voluntary and involuntary thought patterns in daily life, the subtle repetition in the day-to-day experience. Using everyday materials such as string, yarn, and rope, the knitted forms maintain a balance of planned and spontaneous, practical and ornamental. She received a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from the University of Tulsa and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art from Oklahoma State University. She frequently works as a teaching artist in a variety of venues such as community art centers and universities.

Engel-Barnett is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Photography at the University of Oklahoma. Her creative practice incorporates fictional narratives regarding historical, contemporary, or future events as they relate to environmental and ecological concerns, ideas of cyclical history, science, and technology.

Richardson received a Master of Fine Arts in Art & Technology from the University of Oklahoma. His research focuses primarily on the impact that socially constructed systems have on our lives, and how those systems affect the perceived world.

OVAC supports visual artists living and working in Oklahoma. For more information about OVAC, visit or call 405-879-2400. The Fellowship awards are sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council. OVAC is an Allied Arts Member Agency.

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