OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The first two lines of ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’ repeat themselves for emphasis.
“There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow…” it sings.
So in a quiet, green corner of the Oklahoma History Center, lot artists Lori Oden and Larry Jack put their heads together with a few other staffers at the museum and came up with this.
“I’ve driven by a couple of times,” says Oden, “and you can kind of see the golden haze and the fabric blowing in the wind.”
The installation consists of 600 feet of golden fabric, a few lights in the trees and something called a zoetrope.
They aren’t merry-go-rounds, warns Jack, who built them in his home workshop.
Oden adds, “The cutouts are really cool because they give that sense of light at play.”
Zoetropes, he explains, are spinning devices meant to catch the light or throw shadows to match the song.
“This one over here,” motions Jack, “It has an elephant on it which refers to the part of the song that has corn as high as an elephant’s eye.”
There are 13 of these kinds of exhibits around the Oklahoma City metro.
This one is just across the street from the governor’s mansion.
“Yes,” laughs Oden. “Even the governor can see it.”
Each pays tribute to that catchy tune that paints a picture of a cowboy riding through the countryside and appreciating the special way the sun peeks through the corn, or how the breeze is ‘so busy it don’t miss a tree’.
Oden continues by explaining, “The phrasing and how we could possibly use some of the imagery from song.”
‘The sounds of the earth are like music,” goes the song, another line repeated twice for emphasis.
Through billowing fabric or lights and shadows, it’s hard not to hum that tune, and even think of ‘weepin’ willers a laughin’ at whoever walks, or rides, through.
For more information on the Oklahoma Contemporary project, click here.
To locate the other installations around the city, click here.