The new Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center is shown on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at dusk [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives]

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center will begin offering limited public access Wednesday to its eagerly awaited new Automobile Alley headquarters and exhibitions. 

As previously reported, the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the Sooner State the week of Oklahoma Contemporary’s planned March grand opening for its new $30 million home, forcing the organization to postpone the opening festivities and shift to virtual programming. 

Established in 1989 at the OKC Fairgrounds as City Arts Center, Oklahoma Contemporary’s new downtown Oklahoma City campus at at NW 11 and Broadway was completed after 12 years of planning and two years of construction. 

The multidisciplinary arts center is allowing people to make reservations to access its new building starting today via a free timed-ticketing system. To register for timed tickets, click here. 

This is the first chance the public has been given to enter the shiny new 54,000-square-foot main facility designed by Oklahoma City’s Rand Elliott Architects. The building’s “Folding Light” concept allows the exterior to capture and react to sunlight. 

Oklahoma Contemporary will allow five people to enter the building every half-hour, which will allow more than 2,400 square feet of socially distancing per visitor. 

The nonprofit arts organization is using strict protocols for sanitation, limited capacity and social distancing that will allow guests to safely explore the space while seeing the long-awaited inaugural exhibition, “Bright Golden Haze.” Masks will be required for all staff and all visitors older than age 3 – the arts center’s Visitor Experience team will provide masks for those who don’t have one – and hand-sanitizer stations will be available throughout the building. 

“Hopefully that provides an environment where everyone can socially distance and we’ll continue with our updated and stringent sanitization protocols,” Oklahoma Contemporary Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis told The Oklahoman. “I’m hopeful that … people feel safe and comfortable in a very limited capacity being able to explore the new arts center.”


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