Check out four unique opportunities to learn creatively in OKC.
1. Gain understanding under the sea
Factory Obscura will open its temporary immersive installation Seed Reef on Feb. 9 by artist Emma Difani and collaborator Malcolm Zachariah. Visitors will experience the sculpted paper installation of a coral reef as it transforms from a colorful, vibrant section full of coral, fish and sea life to a barren wasteland of bleached coral skeletons, representing the threat and result of pollution. Then, visitors will be encouraged to help restore, or “seed,” the damaged reef by constructing their own corals and reef inhabitants to add to the installation, helping visitors understand the beauty and complexity of this unique environment and humankind’s impact upon the planet. Seed Reef will be open through April 24.
In addition to visiting Factory Obscura’s permanent Mix-Tape immersive art adventure, the organization provides a plethora of opportunities for kids and families to learn and play together. Pick up scavenger hunts or learning guides at the box office to enhance kids’ experiences or find free activity sheets or a virtual tour at factoryobscura.com. School and homeschool groups receive special discounts.
2. Art education goes virtual
Students can now visit the Oklahoma City Museum of Art virtually through the organization’s free Virtual Field Trip program. Students in grades 2 through 12, as well as college students, are paired with a museum educator for a live 45-minute experience. Teachers can choose from sessions like STEAM at OKCMOA, examining art for context and exploring museum careers, as well as lessons around special exhibits. In conjunction with the museum’s 2021 Painters of Pompeii exhibit, students were able to speak with a practicing archeologist who has excavated at sites around Italy, including Pompeii.
“This is a great example of a program we would not have been able to offer in-person,” said Rosie May, director of curatorial affairs and audience engagement. “With virtual learning, the sky is the limit, and we are excited to offer innovative sessions like this as new exhibitions open throughout the year.”
All in-person and virtual field trip sessions align with Oklahoma academic standards and encourage creative and critical thinking. Find out more at okcmoa.com.
3. Accommodations for those with sensory sensitivities
The Civic Center Music Hall has partnered with nonprofit KultureCity to become a certified Sensory Inclusive Venue. KultureCity is recognized nationwide for efforts to effect change in the community for those with sensory needs, and this initiative in particular helps public entertainment venues serve guests with sensory needs and processing issues. One of the significant barriers for individuals with sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation is the overstimulation and noise in a venue like the Civic Center.
“The Civic Center strives to make our shows accessible to all patrons, and this partnership will provide resources to a large but often unaccommodated part of our community,” said Ford Altenbern, project manager for the Civic Center Foundation.
All Civic Center staff and volunteers have undergone training focused on awareness of sensory sensitivities, including autism, dementia, PTSD and other conditions, as well as best practices for assisting patrons. Guests will have access to sensory tools available for check out, as well as a social story to help prepare patrons for their visit. Learn more at okcciviccenter.com/
4. Level up!
Merging STEAM and contemporary art, Oklahoma Contemporary’s exhibit Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art explores the impact of video games on modern life. With nods to favorite games through the decades, like Super Mario Bros., Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda, the exhibit showcases both the opportunities video games offer for creative expression and how gaming influences culture. Originally curated by Teresa Bembnister for the Akron Art Museum in 2019, the exhibit presents the work of 22 national and international artists.
“The artists tackle topics crucial to contemporary life, including the role of consumer products in shaping personal identity and technology’s ability to create credible — yet false — imagery,” said Bembnister. “Some use their artwork as a platform to advocate for justice for marginalized people.”
The gaming theme continues throughout the museum, with free arcade games in the Creative Lounge, a selfie-spot installation in the lobby and quirky retro and new artist-made products in Shop Contemporary. The hands-on Learning Gallery features displays on video-game history, careers and music, and visitors can also play indie and VR games, make video game-inspired art or collaborate in a large-scale pixel project.
Open World will be on display through Feb. 21. Visit oklahomacontemporary.org to reserve free advance tickets.