From authentic red dirt music by the Red Dirt Rangers to five paintings by legendary artist Georgia O’Keeffe, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is offering a thoroughly diverse sampling of American culture at its next Family Day.
The museum will celebrate Family Day in honor of the special exhibition “American Moderns, 1910-1960: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell” from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Sponsored by Sonic, the event will offer free admission to the museum as well as an array of free family friendly activities.
“It’s to celebrate the exhibition, but it’s also to really open the doors to our community and welcome everyone in to really experience all that the museum has to offer. So there’s something for kids, there’s something for adults, and they don’t have to be burdened by the admission charge. So that’s a blessing,” said Chandra Boyd, senior associate curator of education.
Venerable Payne County band the Red Dirt Rangers will give its debut performances at the museum at 3 and 4 p.m. Sunday. Since the Family Day goes with “American Moderns,” Boyd wanted a band known for making “real traditional American music” with instruments like the guitar, mandolin and fiddle.
“I went to Stillwater, so I’ve heard them play since I was a lot younger,” said Boyd, an Oklahoma State University graduate, with a laugh. “I love them, and they do such good kids’ music.”
Magician Jim Green, a returning favorite, will perform at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
“He is such a huge hit. I mean, the kids love him, the parents love him,” Boyd said. “He puts on a great show.”
Hourly prize drawings and giveaways, scavenger hunts and story times provided by the Metropolitan Library System will be included in the festivities. Docents and staffers will offer guided family tours of “American Moderns” every hour from 1 to 4 p.m.
The traveling exhibit, which closes Jan. 6, features 53 paintings and four sculptures from the Brooklyn Museum. “American Moderns” includes artworks by Georgia O’Keeffe, Norman Rockwell, Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses and many others.
Alison Amick, the Oklahoma City museum’s curator of collections, said “American Moderns” explores how several 20th-century U.S. artists addressed questions like “what is really America, what is unique (about it) and what is our artistic heritage” in their work.
“There is a lot of variety,” she said. “It really does give a sense of the number of different approaches artists had and how they were all influenced by the same things but in their own different ways.”
With the diverse artworks in “American Moderns,” museum staffers are planning a wide range of hands-on art activities for Family Day. Adults, teens and children can create cubist collages, mixed-media cityscapes, zany hats and O’Keeffe-style flowers.
“Really, all ages can do them. You know, a teenager’s not going to get bored with them. But a little kid’s not going to struggle too much; they may need a little bit of help from Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa,” Boyd said.
Local artist Clarissa Sharp will not only paint faces — always the most popular Family Day activity — she also has been researching Rockwell’s 1944 painting “The Tattoo Artist” and has prepared some retro-style temporary tattoos just for Sunday’s event.
O’Keeffe’s work will be well-represented, too. Four of her paintings are featured in “American Moderns.”
Along with her famed flower studies, the traveling show includes the distinctive “Fishhook from Hawaii — No 1,” which the artist painted in 1939 while living in the islands and working on a series of never-used illustrations for Dole Pineapple, Boyd said.
In addition, Family Day visitors can see the museum’s own O’Keeffe painting, 1927’s “Calla Lily (Lily-Yellow No. 2),” which is back on view in the second-floor galleries after touring Europe as part of a prestigious traveling exhibit.
“They can see the whole museum. They can check out ‘American Moderns,’ they can go up to the third floor and see the way the galleries have been newly reinstalled and see more of our permanent collection, plus Chihuly,” Boyd said, referring to the museum’s vast collection of Dale Chihuly glass art.
“There have been a lot of changes in the galleries, so it’s fun to see what all we have coming out from the vault.”