Community Art Project called Cherished Possessions Sweeps through Stillwater

Story by Kristen Duncan, OSU Museum of Art

The Oklahoma State University Museum of Art is providing opportunities for engagement in a community art project titled Cherished Possessions. Inspired by the exhibition In the Mind of a Collector, the project delves into why humans collect and treasure certain objects. Participants are invited to share a small object that they treasure or something they collect. Museum staff will then photograph each participant with their chosen possession. Photographs will then become part of the exhibition and will be on display in the mini vault at the Museum along with any written comments participants would like to share. The Museum is hosting several events including a Second Saturday on March 14, inviting the community to experience In the Mind of a Collector and contribute to Cherished Possessions

“Just as each work of art in this exhibition has a story behind how and why Kravis acquired it, we wanted to hear stories from our community and what objects they cherish. By sharing their stories, we can enrich each other’s lives, and work together to make something great as a community.” said Cat de Araujo, Associate Curator of Education.

Beginning in January, Museum staff started sharing their own Cherished Possessions before partnering with community organizations and hosting events. Casey Ihde, the Visitor Services and Education Specialist brought in a very unique stone which was once a part of a fountain on her grandmother’s lawn. 

“When my cousins and I were young, this fountain was a central part of many games. It was a great home base and even a way to cool off on a hot day. After her passing, the fountain was broken up and distributed among all her grandchildren. Every time I see it, I think of her and the joy she brought to many.”

The museum staff were inspired by George R. Kravis’s words “Sharing my collection with others has always been a pleasure; more recently it has become my mission.” As they formulated programs and education around the exhibition, the theme of collecting and sharing became prominent. A very unique part of the George R. Kravis II Collection is the great quantity of radios that Kravis collected. “Creating an opportunity for the community to have an outlet to share became so important.” Araujo said. “We have had visitors bring in so many unique things. There have been teddy bears, books, a teapot, gifts from loved ones, and even a lightsaber. Each object is a small window into someone’s life. It will be amazing to see how many people participate and come back to see this project grow!”

A very unique part of the George R. Kravis II Collection is the great quantity of radios that Kravis collected.

Cherished Possessions is an ongoing community project and will grow with each event and group participation. There is also an open invitation to bring a cherished possession in to be photographed during the museum’s open hours. Cherished Possessions will be on view as a part of In the Mind of a Collector through July 18, 2020, at the Museum. For more information about Cherished Possessions or to schedule a group event to participate contact Cat de Araujo at catarin@okstate.edu. To learn more about In the Mind of a Collector, visit museum.okstate.edu.