After a national search that provided an impressive pool of over 200 candidates, Tulsa Artist Fellowship is excited to announce Carolyn Sickles as our director.
Sickles brings experienced arts leadership to Tulsa. She has conceived and implemented innovative contemporary arts projects in New York City and South Florida as an artist, independent curator, educator, and administrator; most recently as Director of Visual Arts & Engagement at Abrons Arts Center in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. During her time at Abrons Arts Center, Sickles supported a multidisciplinary community of artists while engaging with diverse audiences through innovative and accessible arts initiatives including the oversight of studio-based, curatorial, social practice, and education residencies; exhibitions; gallery education experiences and discursive public events; school partnerships; center-based arts classes for youth and adults; professional development workshops for artists, administrators, and public school teachers. These programs have received praise from The New York Times, Modern Painters, Village Voice, and PBS Art21.
“Tulsa has become a thriving contemporary arts community where socially activated artists can participate in meaningful exchange while experiencing, many for the first time, a sustainable livelihood,” said Sickles.
Established by the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) in 2015, Tulsa Artist Fellowship provides visual and literary artists with a $20,000 stipend, living and workspace in the Tulsa Arts District. Currently, there are over 40 artists in the program with a wide range of artistic disciplines. Sickles is responsible for overseeing all operations and programming.
“The Tulsa Artist Fellowship staff has done an amazing job establishing what has become one of the nation’s largest artist residency programs,” said Stanton Doyle, senior program officer with the George Kaiser Family Foundation. “In the program’s third year alone, it received over 700 applications. The George Kaiser Family Foundation is thrilled that Carolyn has come to Tulsa to help grow the program and its offerings and raise its national profile.”
Sickles’ studio-based work and curatorial projects have been exhibited throughout the country. As an independent educator, she has facilitated workshops for New Museum, Dia Art Foundation, Guggenheim Museum, Textile Arts Center, and e-flux; served as a visiting critic at NARS (NY Art Residency & Studios) Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), The Wassaic Project, Residency Unlimited, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Department of Art and Art Professions at New York University, and Hunter College at City University of New York; and guest lectured for Teachers College Columbia University, The New School at Parsons School of Design, and Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human Development at New York University. She holds degrees in Museum Leadership (M.S. Ed.) from Bank Street Graduate School of Education, Sculpture (B.F.A.), Art History (B.A.) and a Certificate in Gender Studies while attending programs at Florida Atlantic University, Massachusetts College of Arts and Design, and Kansas City Art Institute. Sickles has relocated with her husband Nathan Pape, a musician and math educator, from Brooklyn, New York.
“It was critical that my next institutional partner recognized the transformational power of the arts and demonstrated a dedication to cultivating accessible cultural platforms,” said Sickles. “The George Kaiser Family Foundation and Tulsa Artists Fellowship are addressing systemic change within a field that has historically struggled with labor practices. I am thrilled to be a part of this dynamic organization that deeply impacts the trajectory of creative lives.”