May 20, 2021 - Joy Reed Belt

“Hallelujah! Santa Fe Creativity and Madness is on.” Thus read the header of an email I received last week. Well, that email got my immediate attention. On a global level creativity and madness have been “on” for centuries. But this email was referring to a series of weeklong workshops, which I have attended several times, that are presented annually in Santa Fe. These workshops, which are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, offer accredited Continuing Education to Physicians, Nurses, Psychologists, Counselors, and Therapists. In my experience, studying the demonstrated link between creativity and madness especially among the subpopulation of writers, poets, musicians, dancers, and visual artists is fascinating. Almost equally as fascinating are the creative and gifted people who attend the conference as either participants or presenters...



Loretta Young



May 6, 2021 - Joy Reed Belt


Relationships are as important in art as they are in life. It is in the connections that form relationships where one finds beauty and meaning. Our most primal human relationship begins before we are born, making it intense and enduring. As we know, the strength and degree of happiness found in the mother-child relationship affects us all of our lives. In fact, that relationship will be universally celebrated this Sunday. Similarly, it is the relationship of line, shape, texture, form, color, and value in a painting that will illicit our initial response and determine our degree of attachment to a particular work...



Beth Hammack, "OK-OK!," 2021, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 72 in., $3,800



April 22, 2021 - By Joy Reed Belt


There are times in all our lives we will always remember as turning points. We realize something significant has happened, but at the time, we are not sure why it is so significant. One of those times for me occurred in 1977, when I was appointed by the National Endowment for the Arts to be on the national panel to select art for the then new Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. The project was sponsored by the Government Services Administration, the GSA. The GSA had introduced an Art and Architecture Program whose mission it was to place art in all Federal Buildings. When speaking about the program, its then Director, Jay Solomon, stated, “America has evolved culturally to the point of having an aesthetic vision out of the museum and into people’s daily lives---into their government buildings.” Initially the building’s architect recommended a nationally recognized artist to the GSA, but in 1972 the GSA, in an effort to increase acceptance of the art at the local level, began using panelists appointed by the National Endowment of the Arts. The GSA also began purchasing existing art instead of commissioning art for specific locations...



Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building Memorial



April 15, 2021 - By Joy Reed Belt

Most of my life I have felt like I was the wrong age at the wrong time. As a child I really wanted to be older than I actually was. Why did I have to wait until I was six years old to start regular school when I could already could read and was as tall as the other kids? Why did I have to wait until my teens to have certain privileges when most of my friends were already teenagers? If I could learn to drive and promised to be very careful, why did I have to wait until I was sixteen to get a Driver’s License? For years I consciously tried to look and act older. To me, older was better! Much better!...



Shane Scribner, "Karissa Fadin," Oil on Panel, 24 x 24 in., $3,000


When Does One Become an Artist?

April 8, 2021 - Joy Reed Belt

 One of my young colleagues asked me an interesting question the other day. She asked,” When Does One Become an Artist?” To put her query into context here are some facts. My colleague is a smart, artistically talented and a technically competent young woman from Edmond, who after graduating from high school was offered scholarships to both the Chicago Art Institute and The Pratt Institute in New York City. She decided to attend Pratt and major in Visual Communications. When Covid became rampant, she elected to take a gap year, return to Oklahoma City and work in our Gallery. So, when she asked me “When Does One Become an Artist?” I thought she really was asking when she will be confident in asserting that she is an artist. What must she achieve in sales, education and/or technical competency to be able to tell the public that she is an artist and not feel like an imposter? While giving consideration to my response, I recognized that she had asked a very profound question, so I decided to reach out to five artists and three curators in an attempt to find a universal answer to that question. When you read their responses you will note that the curators gave more objective answers while the artists I queried personalized the question...


"Mother Earth Laid Bare" by Alexander Hogue



April 1, 2021 - Joy Reed Belt

Last night I dreamt I was installing an exhibition of Michele Mikesell’s paintings on the walls of a large vessel parked in the Suez Canal. That’s probably because Michele’s paintings which are scheduled to be part of an exhibition opening in our Gallery tomorrow, Friday, April 2, 2021 have not yet arrived from Spain. Michele and her husband, photographer Barry Snidow, currently live and work in Spain most of the year. Last week we received all of Barry’s incredible photographs, but we are still waiting for Michele’s paintings. What will we do if they do not arrive? We will just have to do another digital pivot as we have been doing for over a year now. In fact, on Tuesday we sent out an email featuring the work of Michele and Barry and have already sold several of her paintings...



March 18, 2021 - By Joy Reed Belt


I think all of us want to feel that our lives will have mattered. Several things have happened over the past few months that have made me re- think how I would like to be remembered.  Probably the most dramatic has been the event of Covid and its daily reminder of death. The recent 8th anniversary of my late husband’s death and the approaching Easter season has caused me to think about my life more philosophically and introspectively. This week when I started reading John Anderson’s book about the battle over the Barnes Collection, “Art Held Hostage,” my thoughts began to race. The book is making me think more critically about the distinction of what I will actually leave behind and what I would like my legacy to be. For you see, those two things are not always the same thing...




March 11, 2021 - Joy Reed Belt

It was Mark Twain that said, “Clothes make the man.” Twain also went on to say that “Naked people have little or no influence on Society.” Well, that’s one man’s opinion. But if Twain was right and clothes do make the man, then I think we can agree that “Plants make the space.” Whether the space is indoor or outdoor, plant and vegetable life provide definition, purpose, and drama to the environment in which it exists. Last week, while installing a new show, “On the Way to Santa Fe,” in the main room of the Gallery, a truck pulled up out front and a man unloaded two ornate bronze urns and began carrying them inside. While my staff was surprised, I knew that the urns had been sent by a dear neighbor, who after deciding to downsize to a smaller home, thought the Gallery would make a wonderful home for her much loved 30” urns. At my direction, the urns were placed on each side of a large brick fireplace in the Main Gallery, underneath a wonderful southwestern landscape painting, “Silent Sentinel” by O. Gail Poole. While the urns held their own against the expanse of brick, they did not really add warmth or drama to the tableau. A designer who had stopped by the Gallery to pick up something for a client, suggested that we might want to put cactus plants in the urns. I immediately called Victor at Calvert Plants and sent him snapshots of the fireplace. He had the two cactus plants delivered that afternoon. As you can see, the cacti transformed the entire space, and the painting became more impactful...



March 4, 2021 - By Joy Reed Belt

Growing up, most of the people I knew were working on some sort of a collection. Even kids my age were collecting model trains and airplanes, marbles, dolls, coins, fishing lures, books, toy soldiers, autographs and baseball cards. As I matured, I noticed that adults were often defined by their collections. The collectibles they acquired were usually more expensive and obvious like cars, boats, art, homes, jewelry and antiques. My dad, for example, acquired books about sporting dogs throughout his lifetime, which created a highly respected Library about Sporting Dogs. While I admired people who were very disciplined about their collecting, I just tended to collect the things I liked. For instance, I enjoyed owning an entire series of books, like the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew Mysteries, which I paid for out of my earned allowance. For a few years I was really into acquiring a line of manufactured prints of women called “Cameo Pictures,” which I got with the Green Stamps my mother gave me. But those activities can’t really be called collecting, because all I had to do was make sure I bought each book or “painting” in a series as soon as it was released. In my teens I decided to start a poster collection, but gave that up because I wanted to surround myself with things that were one of a kind. I haven’t changed much over the years. My eye and my affection seem to go to things that I determine to be unique...

News: The Art of Travel , February 26, 2021

The Art of Travel

February 26, 2021

Last week when I stopped in at Soup Soup, aptly enough buying some soup, I picked up a copy of “Luxiere,” a local Lifestyle and Real Estate Magazine. I was attracted to the magazine because its cover featured an image of a wonderful Denise Duong painting. The inside article about her work entitled, “The Art of Travel,” reminded me of the relationship between art and my own travels. For an artist like Denise, travel stimulates creativity. Familiar colors and objects seen in dramatically different settings, makes them see and feel things differently, inspiring them to draw and paint. Although I am not a generative artist, travel stimulates me to think in new and wondrous ways. When I travel, my curiosity is unpacked. I delve as much as I can into the art and culture of the place I am visiting...

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