Perhaps Valentine’s Day is actually the bleakest holiday.
While all holidays celebrate love and togetherness, it is specifically Valentine’s Day that can make the most staunchly independent souls feel like their lives are lacking. It celebrates a special kind of togetherness, and the Oklahoma Artist Network (OAN) is taking this opportunity to celebrate matchmaking of a different kind, that of venues and artists.
The OAN is a group of local artists and vendors whose mission is to foster communication and collaboration between artistic disciplines. Called $ell Out, this event is a unique opportunity for artists and vendors to make connections with the best and brightest the OKC arts scene has to offer. It is the second time they have held this event.
$ell Out is arranged like speed-dating; artists and potential venues are matched for nine rounds of fast-paced introductions. Both visual and performing artists are welcome to present their work in a concise format in an effort to match similar interests and find the most likely place for their particular pieces or performances. All artists are encouraged to bring materials that will help foster further communication with vendors. It is helpful to remember, however, that they will only have a few minutes.
Some of the venues and vendors participating this year are Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO), Perpetual Motion Dance, Speeding Bullet Comics and The Boom.
“It is a great way to remind per formers that these organizations or venues exist and that they are hungry for talent,” said Steven Kovash, owner of Istvan Gallery.
This will be the second time Kovash has participated in the event as a venue.
“One of my main things is working with emerging artists and teaching them the business of art,” he said.
As a private gallery owner, his perspective differs from those of galleries operating on public funds or on a nonprofit basis. After last year’s event, he joined the board at OAN in order to lend his experience and perspective to the organization.
Charles Martin also sits on the board at OAN. He owns Literati Press, a local publishing house that specializes in literary fiction and comic books.
“This is an opportunity to really get a feel for what the community has to offer,” Martin said, “especially for students or those who have just relocated to OKC.”
The timing of this event is no accident; it is a slower time for retail establishments of all kinds, allowing for vendors to really explore what is available.
$ell Out is free to participants, and there will be light refreshments. Potential matches will pair off and rotate at timed intervals, ideally making a connection that will benefit them both.
But it is not an event exclusive to artists and vendors. $ell Out is open to all and is an opportunity to learn more about the OKC arts community and what it has to offer. It is also a good chance to talk more to local supporters of the arts and learn how they do their business.