There weren't many gatherings due to COVID-19 last year, but several artists are working to welcome people back into the community and to visiting Oklahoma City.
Automobile Alley district manager Joe Hudson said art is meant to be captivating. He hopes adding some new artistic features downtown will help get things back to normal.
“It, you know, brings the community up,” Hudson said. “It can make a boring place vibrant. Be whimsical. It can be fun, exciting, whatever you need it to be.”
Downtown Oklahoma City Initiatives is ramping up round two of their micro-grant programs to give artists and other creators the opportunity to express themselves during the pandemic.
Michael Hoffner is preparing for Round Two of the program. During Round One, he created a hopscotch board with a social distancing theme.
“Instead of numbers on the hopscotch board, there were like social distancing reactions that were kind of humorous,” Hoffner said. “At the beginning of the game, there would be calm admonitions like, ‘ahem,’ or ‘hey there.’ As you got closer and closer to the other side, they got increasingly more like, ‘OMG,’ or ‘that's too close.’”
This round, Hoffner wants to talk to professionals downtown about how the past year and a half has been for them.
“I'm interested in how the pandemic has impacted the way we interact with buildings and how to make people content and happy with the spaces that they're in and how that might have changed or been altered due to pandemic,” Hoffner said. “I'm hoping that people will enjoy the opportunity to talk to someone who will listen to about what their experience has been.”
Hoffner is one of nine creators to receive a grant for this program. Recipients received between $1,000 to $3,000 in funding for their projects that will go up all around downtown.
These projects are expected to be installed in September.