Maps are portals to the imagination — creative and often beautiful ways of imagining a place and its people. Old maps offer us a chance to see our history written over the land, whether it’s a few tents at a railroad crossing, the Muscogee Creek allotments or the now-vanished trolley tracks. Maps also offer us a vision of the future and of paths not taken: of the city laid out as a hub-and-spoke system, of fabulous islands in the middle of the Arkansas River or a once-thriving Greenwood riven by a highway. And in this age of big data, maps also allow us to view the often invisible lines that run through our city and play an essential role in inhabiting Tulsa as a human place.
Taken together, these images provide an exciting new way to see Tulsa — its past, present and future. Although often created for the most practical purposes (like setting boundaries or establishing insurance rates), these maps also become art objects in themselves. Their vivid colors, fanciful artwork and sometimes strange abstraction strike the eye, even as they invite us to see our home and ourselves in new and often surprising ways.
This exhibition has been made possible through a year-long collaboration between the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities, Gilcrease Museum, McFarlin Library, the Tulsa City-County Library and the Tulsa Historical Society.
Saturday, June 30 at 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Zarrow Center for Art & Education
124 East M.B. Brady Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103-2014