FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lori Brooks | 405 951 0000 | email@example.com
Media kit: bit.ly/Davisdirector
The Oklahoma Contemporary Board of Trustees announced today that Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis will step into the newly created role of director, overseeing all departments of the arts center, when Eddie Walker retires this spring.
"I’m very pleased and excited that our Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to appoint Jeremiah director of Oklahoma Contemporary. As artistic director over the past six years, Jeremiah has grown in his role just as Oklahoma Contemporary has grown,” said Board President Robert Clements.
“We knew we would transition to this new organizational structure at some point,” Clements continued. “As Eddie departs, Jeremiah is the ideal person to assume the new director role. We are also creating the new position of deputy director. That hire will have responsibility for administrative functions and support Jeremiah as he focuses on strategic and big-picture areas for Oklahoma Contemporary.”
Since 2016, Davis has led the plan for the growth of Oklahoma Contemporary’s artistic and educational programs, including the transition to the institution’s new $30 million campus in downtown Oklahoma City. Davis has overseen forward-looking curatorial programming, including Ed Ruscha: OKLA, Chakaia Booker: Shaved Portions, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: Oklahoma is Black, Jeffrey Gibson: Speak to Me and this spring’s John Newsom: Nature’s Course.
“In particular, I was impressed with Jeremiah’s response to COVID-19, which hit just as we were scheduled to open our new facilities,” Clements said. “All existing plans were put on hold, but Jeremiah immediately began efforts to offer programming in new ways. We held classes and programs online, and we increased outdoor programs when possible. Though we couldn’t host many visitors in the building, our digital offerings reached broader audiences geographically.”
Davis has continued and strengthened Oklahoma Contemporary’s educational efforts through the launch of Studio School and the expansion of youth and family programs. He has also grown performance as a core part of Oklahoma Contemporary’s mission, helming initiatives like the Art + Tech and Women in Performance series and launching partnerships with RACE Dance Company, OKC Rep, Painted Sky Opera and Tulsa’s Fire in Little Africa.
In his new role, unifying the organization under a single executive, Davis will work with the Board of Trustees and leadership staff to conceive, develop and oversee the artistic vision and strategic focus of Oklahoma Contemporary.
"As we contemplate this transition, our future has never been brighter,” said Founder and Chairman Christian Keesee. “The diversity and breadth of our mission will always bring evolving directions to Oklahoma Contemporary. This move will keep our programming fresh, innovative and new."
Prior to joining Oklahoma Contemporary, Davis focused on immersive theatrical production, working with some of the most accomplished artists in the country, including Tony Award-winning designer Christine Jones, Sleep No More producer Randy Weiner, international composer Andile Khumalo and trans-disciplinary artist Cosmo Whyte. He has collaborated with leading theatrical institutions, including Woodshed Collective, New York Theatre Workshop and St. Ann’s Warehouse, as a dramaturg, writer, consultant, producer and technical director. He has also taught at New York University, Barnard College and the Todoroff Conservatory.
“Steering Oklahoma Contemporary’s artistic direction with our board, staff and community during this dynamic time has been the honor of a lifetime,” Davis said. “In this expanded role, I will double down on our mission to encourage artistic expression in all its forms. We’ll increase community engagement through envisioning innovative ways to interweave contemporary art, bold ideas and diverse audiences and by fulfilling our promise to be the locally indispensable, internationally resonant center for art and culture our region deserves.”
“With the talent of our staff, the commitment of our board and the support of our community, anything is possible. I am forever grateful to Board President Robert Clements, Founder and Chairman Christian Keesee and our entire board for entrusting me to steward the organization into its next phase.”
Davis will assume his new role March 1 and begin recruiting efforts for a new Deputy Director in early February.
A media kit featuring this press release and high-resolution photos of Davis, exhibitions, programs and the new building can be found at bit.ly/Davisdirector. Interviews with Davis and leadership can be organized through Lori Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org). Past press releases and information are archived at oklahomacontemporary.org/media.
About Oklahoma Contemporary
At the new, state-of-the-art Oklahoma Contemporary, visitors explore art and creativity through exhibitions, performances and a wide variety of educational programs. At its core, the multidisciplinary contemporary arts organization is an inclusive space. Exhibitions and most programs are free. You are always welcome here.
In addition to the 8,000 square feet of galleries for visual art, the arts center’s new downtown home includes a flexible theater, a dance studio and nine classrooms for Camp Contemporary and Studio School. The 4.6-acre grounds also include The Studios, a renovated warehouse that houses ceramics, fiber, printmaking and sculpture classes. Campbell Art Park, the Sculpture Garden and North Lawn lend outdoor space for exhibitions, programs and performances.
After providing contemporary art experiences of all kinds for 30 years at the State Fairgrounds, these new, centrally located facilities dramatically increase Oklahoma Contemporary’s capacity to meet growing demand for arts and culture across our city, state and region.
Oklahoma Contemporary is a regional 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by businessman and philanthropist Christian Keesee and Kirkpatrick Foundation Director Marilyn Myers.