The Girlie Show
This November, art, talent, taste and culture from all over Oklahoma and beyond will converge in the historically beautiful Farmers Public Market building in downtown Oklahoma City for the fifth annual Girlie Show.
Challenging the common definition of fine artwork, the Girlie show provides a unique venue for local artists to display and sell their art, which ranges from paintings and sculptures to cards and clothes.
An “art show with a curve,” the Girlie Show brings a big-city impressiveness to its exhibit, with food, music, and a unique style that earned a favorable mention in the New York Times last year.
The Girlie Show was founded in 2004 by friends Marilyn Artus, Dawn Harth, and Erin Merryweather, who each grew up in Oklahoma.
“It’s such a huge party,” laughs Artus, one of the organizers of the show. “It’s fun. It just has an energy.”
Their passion for art drew the three founders together, along with their desire to create a scene in which they could both showcase and sell their art. When their creations didn’t quite fit in at typical painting and sculpture galleries, they decided to broaden the definition of fine art. Thus, the Girlie Show was born.
“We felt there was need for a venue for people to show off what they’ve made,” says Harth. “We wanted to create a show that would highlight pieces that may not be considered fine art, but are more than just arts and crafts.”
Besides the fact that all entries must be original and handmade, the appropriately named Girlie Show has only one other requirement: all participating artists must be female.
“The Girlie Show is about women and women artists because it was based on us,” Merryweather says. “We wanted to focus on promoting women artists and giving them a setting in which they could promote and sell their artwork.”
While the show focuses mainly on unveiling the hidden local talent within our own state, artists of all ages also come from Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, and even as far away as California, Chicago and Canada to participate in the Girlie Show.
Unlike other art shows that tend to focus on only one genre, the Girlie show is a unique blend of everything from fine art to handmade crafts.
“To us, it’s all art,” Merryweather explains. “We didn’t want to exclude different mediums.” So while not excluding the more typical painting and sculpting one might expect to find in a local art show, the Girlie Show has expanded her definition of art to include any type of handmade product. “We just kind of broadened the definition of what artwork is,” she adds. This broadening results in an irresistible blend of artists that falls somewhere in the range between crafter and fine artist. Displays range anywhere from paintings to handbags, glass designs to jewelry, intricate metal work to clothes.
“Seeing a painter next to someone who does embroidery – it’s the combination of it all that’s overwhelming,” says Merryweather. “Anybody could walk in there and find something.”
If you’re looking to buy, artwork can range anywhere from two dollars to a thousand. Even though all the artists are women, those who attend the show cater to no single demographic. Men and women, young and old alike, come to view and possibly buy the pieces on display.
To participate in the Girlie Show, artists submit an application along with photos of their work. The Girlie Show received over 100 applications last year but only has room for around 50 artists. Applicants are selected based on originality, style, uniqueness and taste. The Girlie Show is not strict on the product or medium, but rather encourages artists to “challenge the definition of art.”
“One of the best parts about the show is opening up the applications and seeing what people have made,” says Harth. “Every year we have a surprise. Just when we think we’ve seen it all, something else comes up.”
Expenses for the show are funded solely by ticket sales, entry fees and advertising sponsors. Any money an artist makes from the sale of her products is hers to keep.
Hart says, “I love it when people from different areas hear about the show – they’re so impressed. They never expected to see something like this in Oklahoma. I love being a part of forwarding the Oklahoma image,” she adds.
The Girlie Show will run from Friday to Saturday this November 7-8 in downtown Oklahoma City in the Farmers Public Market building at 311 S. Klein. Tickets can be purchased at the door, online or ahead of time at various locations in the metro area. Check out www.thegirlieshow.net for more information on ticket sale locations and prices.