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Oklahoma State Capitol

2017 Oklahoma Arts Conference

True North

Keir JohnstonKeir Johnston
Keir Johnston studied fine art at California State University at Northridge where he painted his first mural at the age of 18. Through the process, he found the immense standing of its social impact and the profound community involvement it entailed to be an ideal way to express himself to a broader-reaching audience. Becoming an advocate on many social issues and through involvement in community groups, Johnston has worked collaboratively in the production of murals with inmates at state penitentiaries and with youth in detention centers. He has worked with older adults, with students of all ages ranging from elementary school through college, and with individuals with disabilities. Johnston has also taught workshops for the general public. One of five international artists who founded the Philadelphia-based collective Amber Art & Design in 2011 to create meaningful, transcendent public art, Johnston and his team have been working primarily within marginalized communities that have little or no access to art. With a mission to leverage art from a point of renewal and service, the team at Amber Art & Design creates public art with a platform that allows and invites individuals and communities to grow, express, and aspire.

Keir Johnston's Schedule
Community Collaboration
Date: Wednesday – October, 25 2017 Time: 9:45am - 11:15am
Room: 205 Track: Community Development
Utilizing the Amber Art & Design collective as an example, this session will cover best practice techniques for fostering community engagement and collaboration. Focusing on the collective’s unique approach to their organizational creation and practice, Keir Johnston will discuss how the collective’s hands-on public art projects and community involvement have been key factors in new partnerships with institutional, academic, and local and national organizations.
About Amber Art & Design
Date: Wednesday – October, 25 2017 Time: 3:15pm - 4:45pm
Room: 402 - 404 Track: Community Development
This session will provide a general introduction to the Philadelphia-based Amber Art & Design collective, the media that they incorporate into their work, and their general approach to community engagement, public art making, and community narrative sharing. The presentation will provide an overview of the lead artists, their chronology, and the evolution of the organization. Recent projects and examples of neighborhood-based public art projects will be shared and discussed. The presentation will include creative tactics that can be applied when renewing the use and function of architecture in a process that engages the community.
Parachute Cloth Murals
Date: Thursday – October, 26 2017 Time: 9:45am - 11:15am
Room: 205 Track: Community Development
Known commonly as parachute cloth, Polytab is a light-weight material that is becoming increasingly used to create large public mural projects. By painting on parachute cloth, the mural can be completely designed and painted in a studio space and then later installed on an outdoor wall. This method allows the mural creation to take place despite harsh weather conditions, and artists are not required to work on scaffolding in order to paint the mural. Parachute cloth murals also are less likely than the direct application of paint to damage the exterior surface of buildings. With 15 years of experience in utilizing parachute cloth to create murals, Keir Johnston of Amber Art & Design will discuss how this unique material and painting practice transcend the traditional experience of creating public art. Johnston will provide a basic overview of how to get started with a parachute cloth mural in your community.

For more information contact our Assistant Director.