The Norman Transcript

Features

June 23, 2014

Dreamer Concepts expanding gallery

NORMAN — Tall barrel ceilings boast the newly acquired space that one Norman art gallery will have to showcase local artists in a new way.

Just as the artists she features reimagine the blank space of a canvas, Amber Clour, Dreamer Concepts executive director, has been working to fill the spaces of the gallery’s new location at 428 E. Main St.

Dreamer Concepts is a Norman-based gallery that aims to encourage, promote and provide opportunities for growth for local artists of all ages. When the organization itself began to outgrow its previous building, Clour said she knew it was time to move.

Transitioning from 980 square feet to 2,700 square feet, Clour said the new building will allow more space for exhibits and events to happen simultaneously. With removable walls in the works, features like these will allow three or four galleries to be on display at once.

“This allows space for everything from emerging artists to the young elementary works of art,” Clour said.

Exposing the younger generations to the values of art is one thing Clour said will always pay off.

“We want to plant that seed,” she said.

The seed was planted for Clour on a trip to Paris while exploring various galleries there and in Ireland. It was in one Paris contemporary art gallery that she came face to face with a Gustav Klimt painting, and the spark was lit.

“I fell in love,” she said.

Clour’s background in jewelry-making and T-shirt design also are contributing factors to her passion for art. But with each gallery and community she visited, the inspiration grew into what is now called Dreamer Concepts.

“Each community had its own little arts niché, and it was valued.” Clour said. “At that moment, the seed had been planted and I did everything in my power upon returning to Oklahoma to grow that desire to learn more.”

With that, Dreamer Concepts opened on Dec. 1, 2006. Amber said eight years earlier, she would have never thought they would be expand this much this soon.

Because the organization runs solely off donations, Clour said raising money is one of the biggest ongoing challenges.

“Getting people to give to the arts is a little bit more challenging than getting them to give to other things,” Clour said.

Aside from donations, commission from sellable pieces that are featured are split between the gallery and the artist, with 40 percent of profits going toward general operating expenses for Dreamer Concepts and 60 percent going to the artists.

And with more space comes more opportunity to not only showcase work but allow the pieces to be purchased, circulating art throughout the community, Clour said.

Pam Battle, fundraising and retail sales volunteer, said the existing programs are already beneficial, but the new space will allow for program expansion and something new for the community that doesn’t currently exist.

With an outdoor patio, stage space for live music, removable gallery walls and plans for learning spaces, Battle said the additions will create a draw to Main Street beyond the Second Friday art walk.

But beyond the bells and whistles of the new building, Clour said the goal to involve the public is to be what their tag line boasts: a community art space.

“I feel like we umbrella anything that we can that is related to the arts,” Clour said. “I may not get it, I may not like it, but if it provokes thought, then that’s what it’s all about.”

The diversity in mediums and art content is one feature of Dreamer Concepts that volunteer Trae Carson said offers a unique community art outlet.

“It is the only local scene where you can see the works of a fashion designer one day and a graffiti artist the next,” she said.

With hopes to reopen later this fall, the current space sits empty but full of ideas.

“It’s hard to envision right now,” Clour said. “But at night when you drive by, you’ll see the exposed barrel roof uplit and beautiful lighting that highlights the works in the gallery. We’ll be the place you either want to start at or stop when it comes to an art event.”

For more information, visit dreamerconcepts.org.

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