I just returned from the opening weekend festivities for the first National Weather Center Biennale in Norman, Oklahoma. I was looking forward to meeting the *curators, the *jurors and other artists and I wasn’t disappointed. It was also a real treat to see the extraordinary Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. It definitely deserves its reputation as one of the best university art museums in the country.
During an early morning run through the University Campus, past gorgeous examples of Cherokee Gothic architecture, I was reminded of the importance of connecting with new places. Recently I’ve been feeling quite distressed about some of the actions and choices being made by our government. It was healing to spend a little time in the heartland, absorbing the positive energy of successful collaboration. I witnessed not only a deep pride of place amongst the locals as well as a sense of global connectedness and concern – for climate change and for the ongoing integrity of our entire planet. It was great to witness the energetic enthusiasm of this first-time collaboration between the weather scientists and the art community.
Viewing the diverse art in this exhibit reminded me of the broad role that art can play in enriching people’s lives and helping to expand our understanding of what it means to be human. The personal connections with people and place imbued this exhibit with a lasting value far beyond the inclusion of my artwork.
Alan Atkinson, curator and Instructor, OU School of Art and Art History
Berrian Moore, director of the National Weather Center, Norman, OK
Erinn Gavaghan, executive director of the Norman Arts Council
Ghislain d’Humières, director of the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma
Christoph Heinrich, the Frederick and Jan Mayer Director, Denver Art Museum
Jacqui Jeras, Broadcast Meteorologist for WJLA-TV in Washington, DC
Spencer Finch, American artist, specialist in glass and light installations