Living with Art in the Garden Tour

“The tour focuses on installation art, which is a very elusive concept – it has no solid definition,” explains Lisa Mitchell

By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: September 2010

Lisa Mitchell, media chair for the Living with Art in the Garden Tour, sits in Lynn Dickason’s garden at 4747 S. Yorktown Pl. in Tulsa.

Lisa Mitchell, media chair for the Living with Art in the Garden Tour, sits in Lynn Dickason’s garden at 4747 S. Yorktown Pl. in Tulsa.

Every year, art lovers and garden lovers unite at the annual Living with Art in the Garden Tour, presented by Living Arts of Tulsa. “The tour focuses on installation art, which is a very elusive concept – it has no solid definition,” explains Lisa Mitchell, media chair for the tour. “Many people think of it as only sculpture, but installation art is a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional experience and can be anything that is dear to the artist’s heart. It is art that you can see, hear, feel, touch and smell.”

Examples of the tour’s past installation art include plastic materials and shower curtains shaped like flowers; landscape music produced by wind chimes, mobiles and wind harps; bricks imprinted with words and quotes; metal sculptures; blown-glass designed as an abstract bouquet; and sepia and black-and-white photography. “All of the installation art in the gardens are contemporary pieces. Living Arts of Tulsa is the oldest organization promoting contemporary art in Oklahoma,” says Lisa.

The fun art adventure takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 25-26, 2010. It begins with a short drive to the Sand Springs line, and continues throughout downtown and midtown Tulsa. Seven distinctly different gardens will express the personalities of the homeowners, artists and landscapes. Some gardens are small-scale and densely planted, with hide-and-seek artwork, while some boldly incorporate artwork into the landscape. “People generally think of a garden tour as beautiful, tidy and manicured, but we specifically choose gardens that are quirky and exciting,” explains Lisa, who is an artist and a long-time member of both Living Arts of Tulsa and the Tulsa Garden Club.   

At each garden site, Oklahoma Master Gardeners and artists will be on hand to answer questions and share ideas. The artists will also be offering their works for immediate purchase or commission. “Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras and take lots of pictures,” says Lisa. “This tour is perfect for gathering ideas for your own garden and artwork.”

For each tour, a committee chooses one installation artist to highlight, and this year’s site-specific artist is Walt Kosty of Tulsa. Kosty’s concept is titled “sit.sat.set” and involves physical items as well as social media, GPS mapping and public participation. Each of the gardens will feature the concept, and Kosty’s installation will be the main attraction. The ­gardener or homeowner chooses a chair and a place to set it in the ­garden, and the artist encircles the chair with materials of his own choosing. On Kosty’s website and Facebook page, he has also invited the public to create and photograph their chair installations. He will then create a GPS map of all of the installations. “The idea is to situate the chair facing something that catches your eye,” says Lisa. “I have never seen anything like this – linking art, social media and so many other people! It’s such a fun, interesting concept.”

This tour is one of the most important annual fundraisers for Living Arts of Tulsa. As a 501(C)(3) organization, Living Arts’ many programs and classes depend upon fundraisers, grants and donations. A few of their programs include operating the Myers Art Gallery, spoken word events, poetry slams, drumming circles, video races, performance and dance troupes, and the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration.   

The gardens on the 9th annual Living with Art in the Garden Tour are located at 1450 E. Fir Dr. in Sand Springs, 1708 W. Easton Ct., 1524 S. Newport, 3167 E. 22nd St., 3828 S. Utica, 4407 S. Atlanta Pl., and 4747 S. Yorktown Pl. in Tulsa. Tickets are $10 each ($5 for students with ID), are good for both days of the tour, and may be purchased at any of the gardens. Sponsors are Southwood Landscape & Nursery and Custom Exhibits. The tour takes place Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, September 26 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. If you’d like to volunteer to host a garden shift, call Christy Fell at (918) 607-1937. Volunteers receive a free tour ticket. 

For more information, contact

Living Arts of Tulsa

(918) 607-1937

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About Author Sheryl Sowell

Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.

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