The art world in Tulsa is flourishing from the newly named Tulsa Arts District to the exciting renovations at Gilcrease Museum, but it’s not only the art landscape evolving. Tulsa is attracting the artist themselves. With the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, the George Kaiser Family Foundation selects 27 artists to receive a $20,000 stipend alongside fully subsidized living and workspace. This year one of TU’s own is a recipient. Associate Professor of Art and Photography and Director of the Alexandre Hogue Gallery, Dan Farnum is a 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellow.
“The Tulsa Artist Fellowship is a terrific opportunity to work alongside highly talented artists from across the country,” Farnum said. “I am at a turning point in my career, and I am starting a new project. I applied because I was excited at the possibility to be in an environment that would help push my artwork to new places.”
Farnum’s artistic expression didn’t come at the tip of a paintbrush or even in a high school art class. He found art in the world around him, and as a teenager, that was skateboarding and the local music scene. “I realized I could translate my interest of skateboarding and music as a teen into making documentary photography work about youth culture,” he said. “Most of my projects during and after graduate school are ways of looking at adolescence and the process of becoming an adult in different environments. These interests also overlap my desire to document socio-economic factors that impact communities, which I usually depict through the stories of young people.”
During his fellowship, one of Farnum’s projects will specifically focus on present-day race dynamics in Tulsa. “The centennial of Tulsa’s race massacre is coming up soon. My new artwork will be in preparation for that moment in our city’s history,” he explained. “My project will likely be comprised of portraits and contextual photographs of communities impacted by lingering issues of inequality.” He will also incorporate video and sound for a more immersive experience.
TU has strong connections with the Tulsa Artist Fellowship program with several fellows teaching classes at TU or providing internships for TU art students, but Farnum is the first artist from TU to be accepted into the program. He hopes to pave the way for other artists in Tulsa, especially TU students. “This will allow me to have a direct connection between the other fellows and our students at TU. I think this situation will be mutually beneficial for everyone involved,” he added.
If you are interested in learning how to take classes with Professor Farnum, check out TU School of Art, Design and Art History.