Washing the Dust Off Our Souls

The great Spanish artist Pablo Picasso is credited with stating, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

We in Cleveland County are extraordinarily fortunate to have close at hand a wealth of artists—painters and sculptors, vocalists and instrumentalists, writers and poets, and so many more—who are helping us keep our souls shiny and bright, no matter our personal daily trials and tribulations.

In this, our Local Artists/Musicians issue, you’ll find two feature stories that introduce six local “creatives.”

One features three, very stylistically different visual artists—JUURI, Skip Hill and Brett McDanel—who in addition to their amazing talent share a “tenacious stubbornness,” a trait the author says is necessary to move an artist from “starving” to “thriving.” Some of the work is playful, some dead serious, but I’m betting you’ll be amazed at the artistry displayed by all three.

The other story showcases three musicians who have gained notoriety (the good kind) both locally and further afield. Heartbreak Rodeo, a popular acoustic band composed of David Hanson, Michael Bendure and Chris Walsh, is “all about fun”—fun for them and for everyone who watches them, says Hanson. Derek Paul performs solo acoustic gigs, as well as with his current rock band the Patron Aints. The Patron Aints perform Monday evenings at The Deli in Norman, and Paul also hosts a songwriters’ and storytellers’ event at Norman’s Hollywood Corners Tuesday evenings. The third featured musician is Kierston White, who performs solo as well as with a group of other local female country singers known collectively as the Tequila Songbirds. She can be seen performing at The Deli as well as at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City.

If it’s art and music you’re looking for, a trip to Branson, Missouri, might be in order. Our Road Trip column this month takes us on a journey to this vacation favorite, which offers repeat visitors something old, something new.

We think you’ll also enjoy this month’s Giving Back column, which shines the spotlight on an organization that, through various community programs, reaches out to young athletes with disabilities, raises money to restore Oklahoma City schools’ athletic fields, provides the soccer community with coaching and support, and participates in many other community undertakings.

These and other stories in this issue highlight just some of the people who make our community great, from our talented artists and musicians to our generous and caring business owners and residents who regularly go out of their way to help friends and neighbors in need—together, they help all of us “wash the dust of daily life off our souls.”