In September 2016, CLS student Dahlia Rainwater took active citizenship to the next level by organizing, planning and executing a live street art competition to showcase emerging artists and provide them with an opportunity to exhibit their work on a larger scale. The event, Tulsa’s Young Professional’s annual NEXT/NOW art show, gave five artists the chance to show off their talents by competing to become a Tulsa landmark.

NEXT/NOW began in 2006 as a visual art show and later evolved into a fashion show. In 2015, the event attracted nearly 400 attendees to view runway collections from seven fashion designers. In 2016, the 10th installation of NEXT/NOW chartered new territory.

Artists at the NEXT/NOW live street art competitionDuring the event, local mural artists were given one hour to create a work of art inspired by a Tulsa landmark of their choice. The artists were selected by committee based on the artistic quality, creativity, originality and skill demonstrated by their application and samples of work, and a five-member judging panel evaluated the work they created at the event. The prize for winning the NEXT/NOW competition was a commissioned mural in the historic Brady Arts District and a $1,000 prize package.

The NEXT/NOW Art Show is organized by TYPro’s Arts and Entertainment crew, a group Rainwater was elected to lead for 2016.

“I got involved with TYPro’s to play a more active role in the continued growth of Tulsa and to be a catalyst for the change I and other young talent like me want to see,” she said. “I was born and raised in Tulsa, and I started my family here, so it is important to me to get engaged with an organization like this.

“The mission of our crew is to promote the economic vitality of the arts and entertainment in Tulsa. This event is just one piece of that larger mission. Putting on an event of this magnitude requires coordinating many different parties, including community partners, businesses, volunteers and sometimes government relations. The classes I have taken at CLS have empowered me with the knowledge and skills needed to effect positive change in my city by promoting Tulsa’s rich culture to the next generation of leaders.”

All artwork created at NEXT/NOW was auctioned off at the 2016 TYPro’s Boomtown Awards in November with proceeds benefitting the TYPro’s Foundation.

Charles Caleb Burgess, an artist known for his work with acrylic and aerosol, was selected as the winning artist for the 2016 event. His mural was based on the Sacred Rain Arrow Statue, created by Allan Houser, which stands in front of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa.

Photos in this story were provided by Dahlia Rainwater and taken by photographers Chris Wylie and Stephanie Cameron.

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