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Miami Mural Festival - Man Spray Paints Large Mural

Oklahoma Murals

You might have noticed that Oklahoma is having a serious mural moment these days. New murals are popping up from everywhere between Miami (as seen in our 8th season opening show – see below) all the way to Erick near the Texas panhandle. 
 

Here are a handful of events and Oklahoma’s highlight murals to steer toward on any cross-country Oklahoma road trip:

1.) OKLAHOMA CITY’S PLAZA WALLS

The epicenter of Oklahoma muraling is, without a doubt, Oklahoma City’s Plaza Walls, which earned the top spot for public art nationwide by USA Today in 2021.

Every October the Mural Expo sees national artists come and go over a weekend of art, music, and food to re-do the walls on the back alley, just off NW 16th Street. We were there last year and put together this short piece for Gallery America Online 
 


It’s run by the Oklahoma Mural Syndicate, which helped Miami, OK plan its mural fest that is covered in Gallery America’s July 2022 episode.

Another key Oklahoma City–area mural event is Sunny Dayz, featuring self-identifying female and non-binary artists. It’s next scheduled in Edmond, Oklahoma in August 2022. 

See SunnyDayzMuralFest.com for more details.


2.) OKLAHOMA CITY’S THIS LAND

Perhaps the biggest mural in the state is Rick Sinnett’s “This Land,” adorning an old grain elevator near Bricktown in downtown Oklahoma City. A past episode of Gallery America covered the difficulty he had to fund such a grand-scale project, and how the community (led by the heroic efforts of the late Robbie Kienzle) rallied around it. Watch it here:


3.) TULSA

Of Tulsa’s many murals, a few stand out as must-sees, notably the 30-foot Black Wall Street Mural, painted in 2018 by Kansas City artist Donald “Scribe” Ross alongside I-244 off Greenwood Avenue, and the Woody Guthrie mural outside the Woody Guthrie Center in the Tulsa Arts District.

For an expanded list, check out https://www.tulsa.tours/murals-tour


4.) MIAMI

Yes! The Miami Mural Fest 66 (covered by our July 2022 episode), held every April, began in 2017, and has quickly instilled a sense of local pride that’s turned the northeast Oklahoma town into a state highlight of public art. 

You can follow some of the featured 2022 muralists on their Instagram pages, including:


5.) ANADARKO 

Modern murals, as we know them, got a huge boost from Mexico muralists like Diego Rivera, who in the 1920s started making giant murals for the public at large. A decade later, the US got in the swing of it during the WPA era, when famed Kiowa Six painter Stephen Mopope added these stunners inside the Anadarko Post Office – the best place to send an Oklahoma postcard.


6.) HOMINY

The Osage town of Hominy features a surprising number of murals – 40 by one count – on and off its main street buildings. The project began in 1990 – well ahead of the mural craze – with many the work of local Blackfoot artist Cha’ Tullis, whom you can meet at his studio/shop on Main Street - chatullisgallery.com


7.) ERICK

A quarantine-era addition to old Route 66 in Erick, off I-40 near the Texas border, tributes the “King of the Road” composer and Erick native Roger Miller. It’s the work of Brian Lewis, a North Carolina muralist whom you can follow on Instagram here.


Rhys Martin, the Tulsa-based president of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, has long hoped Route 66 towns would add murals like this so road trippers could have something to see even on days when businesses are closed. He told us recently that mural fever is affecting town after town in Oklahoma – and hopefully more. He said, “You have communities like Erick, way out by the Texas border, who said ‘we don’t have a lot, but we can do a mural.’ And they have this great new mural.”
 

Here’s to more great new murals!
 

Stay arty Oklahoma.