Art is inspiring, like any creative outlet, and I have an extremely wide view of what creative outlets are: the main thing is that they need to make you feel like Emily Dickinson described when reading poetry: “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”
This is one of the best definitions of poetry—good poetry–that I have found, and it also defines creativity. You need not be an artist—a painter, a photographer, etc.—to be creative. You need not be a poet or writer either. You need to do the individual thing that inspires you and gives you that feeling Dickinson described.
All of this is a roundabout way to explain my experience at Tulsa’s Brady District First Friday Art Crawl last night. I have been wanting to visit downtown during this event every month for a while and just haven’t done it. Now, I may be hooked. The Art Crawl involves businesses, clubs, bars, and galleries being open from6-9 and later (or sooner) on the first Friday of the month, for people to visit and meet artists and participate in exhibits and more.
A free trolley runs through the area if you need to hop on or off, but it’s really only a few blocks square and very easy just to hoof it. Highlights of the night: 1. Getting to write poetry on the wall (well, on butcher paper on the wall) at the new Hardesty Arts Center, as part of the Site Unseen exhibit by Eyakem Gulilat, contemporary photographs taken near the scene of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. I particularly liked Gulilat’s photograph of some half-destroyed hymnal pages lying in the weeds. I also recorded myself talking about the exhibit and the race riot in a little booth available there.
Highlight #2: Visiting with the owner of Mocha Butterfly, a cool little shop selling mostly-made-in-Tulsa items, where I was given a birthday cupcake (her birthday) and a glass of wine and where I purchased some awesome lotion and soap made by a Broken Arrow business Hydranics.
Highlight #3: Altered book artwork by Milissa Burkart at the Tulsa Arts Coalition. Whimsical and serious at the same time, these pieces were fun to look at, and gloves were included at several exhibits, so you could put them on and then pick up the pieces and look at them from all angles.
Highlight #4: Picking up a beautiful handmade journal at Polypress Letterpress Shop. The journal with a wonderful bird painted on it and made with cool paper by Elizabeth and Park will be finding some poetic purpose soon.
Highlight #5: Meeting Violet and Maggie who have started an art zine called She God at their first issue party at Sound Pony (next door to the Cain’s Ballroom). The zine is beautiful and quirky and deep without being snooty, like all good zines ought to be. I used to do a zine called Okie Load, so I got to tell them a little about it before I started feeling 100-years-old and shut my mouth. This old lady doesn’t understand tumblr, but you can check out She God there. You need to get a copy of it, too.
Highlight #6: Seeing Dallas glass artist Aaron Tate demonstrate how to make a goblet with a seahorse base at the Tulsa Glass Blowing Studio. The demonstration was streaming live on the Internet, and Tate asked the audience for what they wanted him to make the stem from, and seahorse was the consensus. I really enjoyed seeing the artwork he had on display.
Highlight #7: Free food and wine! I didn’t have to buy dinner last night. I ate canapés and cheeses and fruit and had really decent wine at several places, chocolates, too, and a bunch of little pretty things that were good but who knows what they were? Everyone seemed to be a lot better dressed and richer, but that has never stopped me from taking advantage of the offerings.
Overall, the whole experience was inspiring to the poet in me. The top of my head kept being taken off. I’ll find it later in the week. Who’s coming with me in April?