A distinctive shade of blue-green is the color adopted by those working to eliminate sexual violence. That's why Resonator Institute, 325 E. Main is throwing a Teal Party called Art Against Violence on Sept. 28. It's a fundraiser for the Norman Women's Resource Center. Doors will open for the event at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 with proceeds going to the center that provides temporary and emergency shelter for those victimized by domestic and/or sexual violence and rape crisis services.
The Teal Party will include a runway fashion show at 7 p.m. along with an evening of live music and a visual art exhibition by several area artists. Resonator has been an alternative presence in Norman's arts scene for a few years. Part of this fundraiser's intent is to further integrate the institute into the community. Resonator communications manager Helen Grant and musician Joseph Nicolle and others have been instrumental bringing the project to fruition.
"When I was still at Norman High School I learned of women being taken advantage of at parties," Nicolle said. "I met somebody it had happened to directly. It was so much more frequent than I'd been aware of. I thought we should have a show to spread awareness, raise money and help some people out."
Resonator aims to strengthen its ties to the Women's Resource Center and provide a space for others to learn more about these problems and ways to eliminate them.
"We're open to hosting any events that want to address these topics in our community," Grant said. "We also have one planned focusing on immigration issues. These topics matter to artists and other creative people and the events allow us to use our platform responsibly. Our new location on Main Street has really upped our visibility. Last Art Walk we received the most donations ever from people just walking by and checking us out. We also hosted an event during Pride weekend."
Grant is a professional writer with an undergraduate degree in that discipline from the University of Oklahoma. She worked for OKC.net for four years and is currently employed at Big Foot Creative.
Another key organizer of the Teal Party is Resonator board member Jacob Sargent who volunteers at Oklahoma City's Palomar Family Justice Center that's dedicated to ending family violence. He arranged for the Women's Resource Center to send a representative to the event for an overview of services provided and needs for continuing to provide them. Artists will be donating work to be raffled off with proceeds going to the Center.
"Resonator's mission is to provide a place for artists to collaborate," Grant said. "Promote challenging art, give musicians and other creative people a platform if we can. And also have an educational component. We have a grant from the Norman Arts Council and we'll be improving the facility for this mission in our new Main Street location. We hope to have artists in here regularly using the printmaking studio equipment and honing their craft."
The Teal Party's fashion show kick-off will be curated by Oklahoma City designer Michael Eugene Stutson Jr. aka Studdabudda. He likes to create and espouses a "Deconstruction Construction" ethos. A quote from Rhianna, "Work work work work" is posted at his Etsy page. Stutson incorporates American pop imagery into his handmade garments. He's a self-proclaimed, "Music Fashion Art Rebel." Stutson started out making his own clothes to avoid looking like everyone else. There's sticker on his sewing machine that states, "[Expletive] your corporate fashion designers." There's a hip hop street vibe in Stutson's threads which makes sense because he rocks the mic as well, with some of his rhymes posted at Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
"Me and Studda are good friends," Nicolle said. "His designs are 80s style punk. He's going to have models at Resonator and do a small runway show."
"He sews everything himself," Grant said. "Finding pieces and putting them together to make something new."
The Teal Party will include visual art on display by Skelly Queen, Atsalt, Zeejay, Layla Collins, Callie Murphy, Cheryl Murphy, Christy Phelps and Dawn Jaiye.
"Layla Collins is the one who inspired me to start organizing this fundraiser," Nicolle said. "Cheryl Murphy is her grandmother who has been an artist her entire life. Atsalt is 17 and draws abstract caricatures. Dawn Jaiye is a fantastic artist who lives in his studio. His work is inspired by African tribal art. I think he'll be doing live art with body painting."
Live music will be performed by a disparate group of musicians including Glen, Nova, S. Reidy and LA Sheds.
"Glen is an entity from another place who has landed on earth," Nicolle said. "His albums are about his journeys through the world. It's kind of low-fi hip hop by a talented underground artist. S. Reidy is a punk rapper. LA Sheds used to be called Trash TV and it's a kind of really cool Beastie Boys sound."
Nicolle's musician name is Nova.
"I'll be playing and I do kind of weird low-fi stuff," Nicolle said. "My set will be all electronic. Some of the other guys will probably pull out a guitar or ukulele."
The Teal Party is certain to be a diverse and fascinating event with the ultimate goal of fostering love and eliminating violence.