Individual Artists of Oklahoma is a 501c(3) organization. Members are committed to sustaining and encouraging emerging and established artists in all media who are intellectually and aesthetically provocative or experimental in subject matter or technique.
Individual Artists of Oklahoma was founded in 1979 by three poets as a grass-roots alternative arts organization. IAO is committed to sustaining and encouraging emerging and established artists in all media who are intellectually and aesthetically provocative or experimental in subject matter or technique.
IAO creates opportunities for Oklahoma artists by curating and developing socially relevant exhibitions in one of the finest gallery spaces in region. The IAO Gallery features works and exhibitions that display innovative and thought-provoking concepts and approaches that broaden the dialogue with the community and enhance the public’s understanding of the role of contemporary art and the artist.
IAO develops an appreciation of contemporary art by providing support for artists in all media through audience development, community participation, and publicity. All works and exhibitions presented at IAO are selected from applications submitted to the Visual Arts, Film and Video, Poetry, or Performance Committees. The programs cover a broad range of expression by artists of all ages, at various levels of professional recognition, and who are diverse in race, philosophy, culture and economics. Selected program applications effectively demonstrate original contemporary themes and the technical ability to successfully convey the artists’ intentions.
IAO is led by Laurence Myers Reese (né Laura), Executive Director. Reese joined IAO March of 2016 after a year long search for a director. 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 education, exhibitions and other efforts to support artist statewide.
Reese received his undergraduate degree in fine art from the University of Oklahoma in 2012 and has since curated exhibitions throughout the state. He is a graduate of the Oklahoma Arts Council’s Leadership Arts, the Mid America Arts Alliance’s Artist INC and recently completed OVAC’s regional 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. He is an active member of the arts community, locally and regionally, and serves as board vice president of the FRINGE Women’s Art Organization and president of the Oklahoma Printmaking Network.
“I am overjoyed to bring my passion for supporting artists to IAO. With an artist’s perspective and curatorial experience, I plan to continue the organization’s history of strong programming and bring a new energy to IAO,” Reese said. “IAO is fortunate to have supporters statewide who believe in the mission of the organization. As director, my vision is to build upon the history of the organization, creating new programming and opportunities for artists of all disciplines. I plan to connect with members of our community as well as inspire new confidence in IAO and its mission of supporting individual artists.”
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.
2017-2018 Fiscal Year Board of Directors:
Joe Hopper, President
David Smith (Spontaneous Bob), Vice President
Kathy Reynolds, Treasurer
Suzanne Thomas, Secretary