Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Park Art Installation | New

A “Garden of Quotes” in Andrews Park commemorates the words and wisdom of some notable people who made their home in the city.

“In Their Words” is the work of Oklahoma City artist MJ Alexander, a park-scale installation of stenciled sculptures and words of present and past Norman residents sandblasted on the park’s sidewalks. Hoda Kotb, Nadia Comaneci, Vince Gill, Dr George Henderson and many more are among the celebrities celebrated.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the art installation will take place today at 5 pm at Andrews Park, 201 W. Daws St. Visitors can gather at the pavilion near the amphitheater.

A collaborative and community-based effort, the installation “is inspired by those who inspired,” Alexander said in an artist statement, with the Andrews Park trails becoming a source of discovery for “observations, wisdom and humor of those who walked the streets of Normand.

The stencils were made by PremiereCraft of Oklahoma City. The sidewalk sandblasting was done by Joe Dillon of Titan Mobile Blasting in Oklahoma City.

The stencils were installed in frames for display throughout the park by Chris Downey of Can-Do LLC in Norman.

In Their Words was made possible by the Norman Forward 1% for Art program, led by Debby Williams, Head of Public Art.

The program was approved by Norman voters in 2015.

It is the fifth piece of public art created under the program, including more located in parks, sports facilities and libraries, and more are planned.

Alexander works at the intersection of lyrical arts, reportage, poetry and imagery, celebrating the people and places of the Great Plains.

His work has been published by The New York Times and Time magazine and featured in more than 25 solo exhibitions, including a European premiere in 2018 at the Crypt Gallery in London and dozens of group exhibitions.

She is a veteran of community newspapers and the Associated Press in New York City and is the past chair of the journalism department at St. Michael’s College in Vermont.

Inducted in 2019 into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, she is the author and illustrator of “Salt of the Red Earth: A Century of Wit and Wisdom from Oklahoma’s Elders” and “Portrait of a Generation: Sons and Daughters of the Red Earth ”winner of the Oklahoma Book Prize.

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