News: Routinely Yours, November 12, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Routinely Yours

November 12, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Never have I thought of myself as a person with a lot of routines, or thought I particularly enjoyed routines. WRONG! Recently I have realized that only in my dreams am I a free-wheeling spontaneous soul. Reflecting on my life and lifestyle, I realize that I am, and always have, been a creature of habit and routine. At my age that’s good to know.
The most consistently troubling loss I have experienced in these last months has been the loss of routine. Staying safe and protecting others has meant that I change the way I have always done things, as well as, not doing many of the things I have always enjoyed. Those daily losses have been stressful, and stress is cumulative. For several years now I have taken weekly Pilates lessons and looked forward to them and relished the mental and physical benefits. I considered those lessons “My Time." Several months ago, when the Mayor asked us all to shelter in place, my Pilates lessons were canceled. Oh, how I missed them. No amount of exercising at home gave me my “fix.” Ultimately, my thoughtful instructor developed a protocol that allows me to enjoy private lessons in a safe environment. 
News: Process Matters, November  5, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Process Matters

November 5, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

The prevailing theme for me this week is process. Not the political process, although it has certainly been vying for my attention, but the artistic process. In 2011, I was given a very interesting lesson on the importance of process in creating art when the Oklahoma sculptor Holly Wilson, invited me to her home for a studio visit. After accepting the invitation, I thought it might be interesting to take a videographer with me to document our conversation. I was so glad I did. When we arrived Holly, a master storyteller, began talking about the work she was creating for her upcoming exhibit at the Gallery. She was making a series of one of a kind small bronze figures each imbued with its own character and story. Holly’s influences are grounded in her childhood and enriched by oral traditions that stem from her Native American roots. As she began showing me some of the figures she had already cast, I was astonished by the scale of the work and the amount of detail that had been lavished in each piece. When I began asking questions about her casting process, Holly offered to do a bronze pouring of a small figure in her driveway.

News: Ice Princess, October 29, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Ice Princess

October 29, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Well I don’t know how your Halloween plans are coming along, but this year I began
playing my role of “Ice Princess” several days early. On Monday afternoon, due to
freezing rain and ice laden trees, the power totally went out in my home as well as at
the Gallery. After struggling 24 hours without heat or electricity, I decided, with the
encouragement of colleagues and friends, to move to a pet friendly hotel in downtown
Oklahoma City. Ordinarily I would tough it out at home. But I decided to seek comfort
since I am undergoing a series of procedures on my back in an effort to eliminate
chronic pain and felt I really needed a place to rest. What I have discovered is that
staying a few days in a hotel is akin to suddenly becoming a Princess. There are people
available and willing to do things for you. Almost any reasonable request will be granted
to make sure you have an enjoyable stay. The staff seems to think it’s normal for you to
kick back and relax. They have no expectations that you be particularly charming or
News: Do You See What I See?, October 22, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Do You See What I See?

October 22, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

A month or so ago if I had been asked to select a word to characterize how I felt about myself and the period of time in which I was living, I think I would have selected the word “Vulnerable.” The word describes my status on a lot of levels. In fact it is descriptive of most people. By all reports we, as citizens of the world, are currently vulnerable to all manner of threats: climate change, racial, social and political unrest, economic uncertainty, a pandemic that refuses to disappear, and one crisis after another...

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News: First Friday, October 15, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

First Friday

October 15, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

On Friday evening, October 2nd, the Gallery participated in The Paseo’s Gallery walk for the first time since February. I admit to being a little anxious at how it would go. Positioned near the front desk, I watched people stand in the entry, visibly relaxing their shoulders, as they scanned the room. I watched as their breathing and their facial expressions gradually changed, most often with smiles, but occasionally, almost tearful...

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News: Do Artists Ever Really Die?, October  1, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Do Artists Ever Really Die?

October 1, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Somewhere I read that when an artist dies they leave behind two bodies: a physical body and a body of work. When Michi Susan died last week, she left a third body. A third body comprised of scores of artists, patrons, and at least one gallery owner, whose lives she supported, enriched and changed. My friendship with Michi began a little over 20 years ago when John purchased The Elms, the former studio, home and gallery of Nan Sheets. It had become a run down day care center and John spent several months restoring the center portion of the venerable structure before leasing it as a Gallery to a husband and wife who were both artists. When they decided to close their Gallery, I asked John if he would lease the The Elms to me. He was incredulous and said “No! You already have a career and a business and work more hours than a reasonable human should.” Furthermore, he said that although he had given me painting lessons "to relax," I didn’t have any real knowledge or experience in managing a proper gallery.

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News: A Meaningful Life, September 24, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

A Meaningful Life

September 24, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

The owner of one of the businesses in Paseo and I meet fairly regularly to discuss issues related to The Paseo. We are both are committed to the community and value the viewpoint and support of each other. One afternoon, several months ago, he came by the Gallery to give me a wooden Ruth Bader Ginsberg bobble-headed doll. Later he told me that he bought the doll for me because he admired both of us. He did not know how meaningful that doll was. For instance, he has no way of knowing that in the 1970’s I wrote my dissertation on the role of support systems in the attainment of women. He has no idea that I was a charter subscriber to “MS” Magazine. Nor does he know that while in graduate school I purchased a large monoprint of Bella Abzug, a former U.S. Representative and leader of the Women’s Movement, which enjoyed a very prominent place in my apartment...

News: Wearable Art, September 17, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Wearable Art

September 17, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

One morning last week, after spending too much time at home taking calls and responding to emails, I rushed to the Gallery only to realize that I had forgotten to put on any jewelry. Momentarily flummoxed, I considered going back home to pick up something, but decided instead to grab one of the necklaces in our inventory and model it for the rest of the day. I got several compliments and I felt very put together. But my absolute need to wear that necklace, or any piece of jewelry, surprised me. Why did I feel incomplete without jewelry? Throughout the day I thought about some of the reasons we wear jewelry: it’s a way to express our personality, it can complete an outfit, it make us feel accepted and/or it has personal and emotional significance. For me on that day, I concluded that since I was dressed very simply in all black, I felt I needed jewelry to make the statement to our customers that I valued art and design. So, I was using it as a form of self-expression.
News: Working: Applied Creativity, September 10, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Working: Applied Creativity

September 10, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

The act, psychology, content, purpose and the intrinsic reward of “Work” has always fascinated me. Growing up, I would interview almost every adult I met, even perfect strangers, about the kind of work they did, how they got their job, and whether or not they liked it. From a very young age, I desperately wanted a job. Of course my parents would tell me that my job, was to go to school and make good grades. I would counter by telling them that I needed a real job so I could practice working...

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News: Aging Well, September  3, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

Aging Well

September 3, 2020 - By Joy Reed Belt

September is my birthday month. As such, it has always been a wonderful celebratory time as well as a time of gratitude for a meaningful and interesting life that I share with my friends. Additionally, September has also been my designated time to have body parts removed and repaired. These physical tune ups started when I was a little girl and elected to have my tonsils removed during my birthday week. I made that decision because I was told I could eat ice cream for seven straight days following surgery and I wanted my birthday to last for seven days. Maybe my logic wasn’t all that great, but I did receive lots of gifts as well as more ice cream than I could possibly eat. Several years later it was in September that I had an appendectomy. And so it’s gone throughout my life, the most recent being a knee replacement in September of 2017.

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