Supporting experimental and thought-provoking artists of all disciplines and creating space for artists to impact the community.
IAO started as a grassroots organization in 1979. Founded by three poets, the vision was to create an organization to support a group of artists who went against the grain.
Since then, IAO has grown to become the bastion of creative freedom for Oklahoma’s artistic community, with a space that supports programs for poets, visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, dancers and more. The space hosts events for artists, our community, and shares the space with non-profit organizations. We focus on developing quality, inclusive programming with artists who push limits, experiment with media, ask challenging questions, and who bring a different perspective.
With an interdisciplinary focus, a physical location and conceptual freedom for artists to experiment, IAO is rich soil for growth. Artists, creatives, and individuals have the power to come together to create lasting community changes. IAO is that space.
IAO is led by Executive Director, Laurence Myers Reese (né Laura). Reese joined IAO in March of 2016 after a year long search. Reese is an active member of Oklahoma’s artistic community and has been recognized for his leadership in arts administration. Before joining IAO, Reese served as programs coordinator for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC), where he oversaw grant-making, education, exhibitions and other efforts to support artist statewide.
Reese received his undergraduate degree in fine art from the University of Oklahoma in 2012. He is a recent fellow in the triennial, regional OVAC Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship. Reese has organized exhibitions for the Norman Arts Council, Living Arts of Tulsa, Academia Non Grata (Estonia) and the Urban Land Institute, among others.
Reese has first-hand experience with IAO as an artist, having curated exhibitions and shown with the organization several times through different leadership. “I know the importance of knowing who we serve at IAO,” Reese said. “IAO has the unique power to connect diverse groups together in one space. Artists and the arts have the power to engage and grow our community in new directions. I’m glad to bring my dedication to this important work to IAO.”
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Individual Artists of Oklahoma has a working volunteer board, half of whom are artists. Each board member contributes financially at some level, as well as devoting time to programming and to secure donations from our community. IAO's board members also chair committees, including those that oversee programming areas.
2016-2017 Fiscal Year Board of Directors:
Joe Hopper, President
David Smith (Spontaneous Bob), Vice President
Kathy Reynolds, Treasurer
Suzanne Thomas, Secretary