Yarn bombing the prairie

Stretching from its roof to the sidewalk, a knitted mural covers 108 Contemporary's façade.



Karl Siewert; Romy Owens, artist and project leader; Krystle Brewer, interim executive director for 108 Contemporary; Ellen McGivern, gallery coordinator; and Isabelle Phillips seam together submissions for the knitted mural that covers 108 Contemporary’s façade.

Evan Taylor

Installing and preserving an outdoor art exhibit in the unpredictable climate of an Oklahoma winter can be tricky, but 108 Contemporary art gallery was up for the challenge. Stretching from its roof to the sidewalk, a knitted mural covers the building’s façade in the Brady Arts District.

“We were told this was too ambitious, but we’re doing the impossible,” says Krystle Brewer, interim executive director.

More than 4,000 individually knitted squares in bold hues and calming grays depict a simple scene of blue sky and green grass, representing how urban sprawl has slowly consumed the Oklahoma prairie.

“More than 100 years ago, this area of Tulsa would have been a flat landscape, and we’re returning it to what it once was,” Brewer says. “We’ve made the gallery a continuation of existing landscape.”

Unlike the random yarn bombs that pop up overnight at unsuspecting locations, “The Unbearable Absence of Landscapes” is conceptual. 

One of the largest and only statewide knitting projects known in the United States, the exhibit is a strategic art project that required nearly a year of careful planning and community engagement.

Oklahoma City artist Romy Owens led the project, traveling thousands of miles around the state to recruit knitters.

“There were times when the work was very raw and emotionally overwhelming,” she says. “We asked artists to make something one knit at a time entirely by hand, and that’s amazing.”

At least 300 Oklahomans from Stillwater, Norman, Tulsa, Edmond and many smaller towns gave their time and talent to the masterpiece. Knitting circle members, groups from Family & Children’s Services’ Women in Recovery program and school children all participated in the project. 

Those who didn’t know how to knit were given the opportunity to learn with free needles and yarn. The statewide knitting project aligns with 108 Contemporary’s community outreach mission to support the art media of Oklahoma and beyond. Brewer says the project has uncovered an extended, sacred family of artisans who connect through the knitting craft.

“There have been so many personal stories to come out of this project and help people through grief,” she says. “When your hands are busy, your mouth is more able to freely speak. People find a sense of community and healing.”

Once the squares were collected this summer, they were seamed together for installation in November. Two local engineers from Wallace Engineering and Manhattan Construction Group donated time and supplies to suspend the finished product with aircraft cable. The mural’s synthetic yarn is made from an acrylic and polyester blend to absorb less water and withstand the outdoor elements.

Owens says a fiber art piece of this magnitude is rare and would have taken her years to complete, but Oklahoma’s helping hands were a refreshing reminder of her state’s generous spirit. 

“This was an amazing grassroots effort,” she says. “What I loved about this project was the community aspect — meeting people, hearing their stories and learning how knitting is more than a hobby. It’s a cherished social activity where the conversations often are therapeutic.”

A fun and modern twist on classic blankets and potholders, 108 Contemporary’s yarn bomb project invites Oklahoma and the entire country to view knitting in a new light. 

 

Through January 2016 — “The Unbearable Absence of Landscapes”
Noon-5 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday; noon-7 p.m., Friday-Sunday. 108 Contemporary, 108 E. M.B. Brady St. Free. Call 918-895-6302, or visit www.108contemporary.org.

 

ALSO HAPPENING

Through Jan. 17 “In Living Color” Famous works by pop artist and printmaker Andy Warhol brighten Philbrook’s galleries and compel visitors to explore the purpose of color and repeated imagery. Contemporary art from Richard Diebenkorn, Chuck Close, Edward Ruscha and Keith Haring complement Warhol’s work.

10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Thursday. Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road. Warhol exhibition tickets are $6 in addition to regular museum admission: $9, adults; $7, seniors 62 and older. Admission to the museum and Warhol exhibit is free for Philbrook members and youth 17 and under. Visit www.philbrook.org.

 

Dec. 4-Jan. 24 “Impressions: Prints by Jon Goebel” Visit the Henry Zarrow Center for Art and Education to see works designed by printmaker Jon Goebel. An assistant professor of art and master printer for the University of Hawaii Hilo, Goebel has shown in more than 100 group exhibits across the United States and internationally.

Noon-6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m., Sunday. 124 E. M.B. Brady St. Free admission. Call 918-631-4400, or visit www.gilcrease.utulsa.edu/explore/zarrow.

 

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October 2019

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More information

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More information

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Cost: $15

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Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
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Cost: 0.00

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View map »


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Cost: $8 for ages 13+, $4 for ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Willkommen to four days of Oompah (or Bavaria or Oktoberfest) in Oklahoma  with nationally known German bands, authentic European foods, arts and  crafters MarktHaus, full carnival, and fun...

Cost: $10 at the gate or $7 in advance for adults. Children 12 and under are FREE.

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 S. Jackson Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Resolute PR
Telephone: 903-292-7885
Contact Name: Zachary Johnston
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Hello, Friends!   Fall is in the air! We are excited to present the 5th Annual Hugo Pumpkin Festival, a fun-filled event featuring a variety of entertaining activities for the whole family....

Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

Where:
Endangered Ark Foundation
2657 E 2070 Rd
Hugo, OK  74743
View map »


Sponsor: Endangered Ark Foundation
Telephone: 580-317-8470
Contact Name: Emily
Website »

More information

Go into the woods and experience the return of this fantastic family production with performances in both Tulsa and Broken Arrow. Tulsa Ballet's Hardesty Family Foundation Children's...

Cost: $15

Where:
Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Telephone: 918-749-6006
Contact Name: Dan
Website »

More information

Abersons presents Pink Ribbon -- an exclusive, high-fashion fundraiser featuring a runway show by one of the world's hottest designers. Cocktails 6 p.m. | Dinner & Live Auction 7...

Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Abersons
Telephone: 918-834-7200
Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
Website »

More information

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Cost: $0

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Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Tulsa Historical Society
2445 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

More information

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Cost: $24.50-$75.00

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Sponsor: Compassion Live
Telephone: 877-234-3847
Contact Name: Carol
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More information

Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

Signature Symphony at TCC celebrates the work of the late Ernie Fields, a Tulsa icon who had a career as a bandleader and trombonist. Fields’ music developed at a time when R&B, swing,...

Cost: $36 - $58

Where:
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10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
View map »


Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
Website »

More information

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Cost: $36 - $58

Where:
VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education
10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
View map »


Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
Website »

More information

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Show Less...

The annual US National Arabian & Half Arabian Horse Show returns to Tulsa. You will be able to see over 1700 Arabian and Half Arabian horses competing in many divisions, including Breeding/In Hand...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Tulsa State Fairgrounds
4145 E 21st St,
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-6964500
Contact Name: Kelsey Berglund
Website »

More information

Nimrod Journal will host its annual Conference for Readers and Writers on Saturday, October 19th, at The University of Tulsa. The conference will feature workshops on fiction, poetry,...

Cost: $10-70

Where:
Allen Chapman Student Union
440 S Gary Ave
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Sponsor: Nimrod
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
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Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry will host its annual Conference for Readers and Writers at The University of Tulsa on October 19th, 2019.   The Conference offers the...

Cost: $10-$70

Where:
TU's Allen Chapman Student Union
440 S. Gary Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
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Willkommen to four days of Oompah (or Bavaria or Oktoberfest) in Oklahoma  with nationally known German bands, authentic European foods, arts and  crafters MarktHaus, full carnival, and fun...

Cost: $10 at the gate or $7 in advance for adults. Children 12 and under are FREE.

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 S. Jackson Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74107
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Sponsor: Resolute PR
Telephone: 903-292-7885
Contact Name: Zachary Johnston
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Hello, Friends!   Fall is in the air! We are excited to present the 5th Annual Hugo Pumpkin Festival, a fun-filled event featuring a variety of entertaining activities for the whole family....

Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

Where:
Endangered Ark Foundation
2657 E 2070 Rd
Hugo, OK  74743
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Sponsor: Endangered Ark Foundation
Telephone: 580-317-8470
Contact Name: Emily
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The Karbach Games and Competitions Arena becomes our own center of the universe Saturday at 2:00 PM for true fans of German bier. Why? Because it is ground zero for the Linde Oktoberfest Bavarian...

Cost: $40

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 South Jackson Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74107
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Sponsor: River Parks
Contact Name: Ryan Howell

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Folk Salad Radio Show celebrates its 20th anniversary with a potluck meal followed by a concert featuring Grammy-nominated singer songwriter John Fullbright and several other Tulsa musicians on...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Stone Church
4225 W. Fifth St.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: Folk Salad Radio Show
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Go into the woods and experience the return of this fantastic family production with performances in both Tulsa and Broken Arrow. Tulsa Ballet's Hardesty Family Foundation Children's...

Cost: $15

Where:
Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Telephone: 918-749-6006
Contact Name: Dan
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Abersons presents Pink Ribbon -- an exclusive, high-fashion fundraiser featuring a runway show by one of the world's hottest designers. Cocktails 6 p.m. | Dinner & Live Auction 7...

Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Abersons
Telephone: 918-834-7200
Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
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America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
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Join us for Nimrod Write Night, the opening event of our Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers weekend, on Friday, October 18th, at the Tulsa Historical Society, 6:30 p.m. Write Night is...

Cost: free

Where:
Tulsa Historical Society
2445 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
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Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
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Telephone: 918-813-6514
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Flashes of vivid colors, laughter, dancers whirling around keeping pace with the energetic music, more laughter……this is what you will experience at Guthrie Green this Saturday,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Guthrie Green
111 East M.B. Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: SAPAF
Telephone: 918-665-6419
Contact Name: Mohan Kelkar
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Signature Symphony at TCC celebrates the work of the late Ernie Fields, a Tulsa icon who had a career as a bandleader and trombonist. Fields’ music developed at a time when R&B, swing,...

Cost: $36 - $58

Where:
VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education
10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
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Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
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Tulsa in Harmony is a congregation of community choirs, lending their voices in one accord. They sing of their hopes and their faith and aspirations of a more unified community and a more unified...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gathering Place
2650 S. John Williams Way E.
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Where:
ONEOK Field
201 N Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK
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