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Working with Quraeshi, Jones began to help organize a design charette around the rehabilitation of downtown.The blast had caused 5 million in property damage in an area that had already seen better days.Facilitators held participants to the same standards that they would professional artists, and the results corresponded in kind.
“If it could help our students who happened to be artists, couldn’t it help people who were desperate to express themselves and had no way to do so?
” With this in mind, she began to ruminate on organizing a workshop designed specifically for survivors and relatives of victims.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial, which honors the victims and survivors of the bombing of the Alfred P.
Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1995.
The bomb had exploded beneath the Murrah Building’s second-floor daycare center, leaving 19 children dead and sending six to the intensive-care unit at the city’s children’s hospital.
While these efforts provided immediate relief, the larger task of rebuilding would be months in the making.There was also a call with then-NEA Director of Design Samina Quraeshi about how design could help Oklahoma City heal from the largest act of domestic terrorism the country had ever seen.Across the city, Mary Frates, executive director of the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, received a similar call from Jane Alexander, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts at the time.This included designers, developers, civic leaders, engineers, architects, residents, and the financial community, all of whom shared their visions and concerns over how a rebuilt Oklahoma City might take shape.*** Kathleen Silovsky, who survived the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, creates a mask at the NEA-supported workshop held by Oklahoma Arts Institute to help survivors express their feelings and begin the healing process. Jill Evans While the design charette would address an entire city’s needs, the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain decided to focus their efforts on those immediately impacted by the bombing.When musicians called, she sent them to the convention center and churches, where families waited for news about relatives.She arranged for the three young artists to make tape murals on hospital room windows of the youngest survivors.“The Arts Institute should do something, and when you do, we’re here to help,” Alexander told her longtime friend.*** Jones began working 20-hour days, leaving her office blinds open so that the glare of floodlights illuminating recovery efforts six blocks away would keep her grounded through the night.It was a story that deserved to be told outside Quartz Mountain.” In a powerful validation of these workshop participants as artists, an exhibition of their work was organized at the Oklahoma State Capitol, before touring to nine other cities around the state.Most people, Frates said, associated the bombing with objects such as stuffed animals and trinkets that had been left at the bomb site as a makeshift memorial.