Candy — Bedre Chocolates, to be specific — soon will be sold from the Candy Factory Building in Bricktown.
The Chickasaw Nation, which previously located its Chickasaw Country tourism offices in the north half of the building’s first floor, is preparing to open a showcase of the tribe’s art, entertainment and culture in the storefronts facing Bricktown’s main entry at 1 E Sheridan Ave.
Exhibit C also will include a gift shop selling pottery, art and jewelry created by members of the Chickasaw Nation, and an American Indian art gallery. The gallery and store represent a continued investment in Bricktown by the tribe that also includes sponsorship of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and the “Warrior” statue at the Chickasaw Plaza along the Bricktown Canal.
Promoting Chickasaws’ art, culture
“Opening of this new gallery and retail space marks another significant step in our efforts to promote tourism in Chickasaw Country and throughout Oklahoma,” said Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby. “Exhibit C offers a great venue to feature the diversity in arts and culture that are an integral part of the attraction Oklahoma holds for visitors from around the world. We believe this new space offers an opportunity for Chickasaw artists to connect with the thousands of visitors to Oklahoma City who have a genuine interest in Native American Culture.”
Paige Williams, Chickasaw Nation Department of Commerce director of tourism, said Exhibit C adds to an already robust list of merchants she has called neighbors since the Bricktown office location opened in 2010. The art gallery will be the first in the district and offer authentic pieces of artwork by Chickasaws typically not available in the immediate area.
“The pieces offered at Exhibit C will be hand-crafted from Chickasaw citizens, giving tourists the chance to take home an authentic memory of their visit to our state,” Williams said.
Williams added Exhibit C also will promote attractions in Chickasaw Country south of the metro.
“The Chickasaw Nation values the amenities and attractions Bricktown offers to visitors,” Williams said. “It’s one of the highest if not the highest trafficked visitor destination in Oklahoma. It’s a great venue to share the Chickasaw story and the vision Gov. Anoatubby has provided us in southeast Oklahoma.”
The storefront being built out for Exhibit C has been vacant for almost 20 years, dating back to when it was previously home to the manufacturing operation of Bunte Candies.
Williams said the 7,000-square-foot gallery and store should open by summer, and will feature works from Chickasaw artists, with a new artist featured every four months. The retail shop will offer for purchase Chickasaw artisan works such as jewelry, pottery, paintings and clothing, the full line of Bedre Fine Chocolate, books from Chickasaw Press as well as Chickasaw Country-branded items.
Mallory O’Neill, district manager of the Bricktown Association, said the new store and gallery will be a popular addition to the variety of shops and restaurants already open in the entertainment district.
“Bricktown is an entertainment district that sees national and international visitors,” O’Neill said. “So this is an exciting addition.”