Visual Communications alumni give back to OSUIT through ART Plus fundraiser

Visual Communications alumni give back to OSUIT through ART Plus fundraiser

Sara Plummer
Visual Communications alumni give back to OSUIT through ART Plus fundraiser

For the fourth year, OSU Institute of Technology’s School of Visual Communications is hosting ART Plus, an art show and sale featuring work done by alumni that benefits the VisCom student scholarship fund.

ART Plus is April 7 from 6 to 9 p.m., at Fly Loft, 117 N. Boston Ave., in downtown Tulsa’s Brady Arts District. Proceeds from the sale go to the Visual Communications Student Scholarship Fund.

“In its first three years, the event has raised more than $42,000 for scholarships aimed at second-year students, so they can continue their education,” said James McCullough, dean of the School of Visual Communications.

One of the artists making his ART Plus debut is Ret. Sgt. Legrand Strickland, who graduated from the Graphic Design program in 2005.

Strickland, who grew up St. Louis, was a member of the in the U.S. Army and National Guard. In February 2010, he was injured after an improvised explosive device, or IED, exploded near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border killing two of his fellow soldiers. Strickland lost both legs above the knee and sustained a traumatic brain injury.

Strickland, who has always painted, uses the medium to express his ideas and emotions.

“I can just relax, I don’t have to be too picky. I can do what I want to, no parameters,” he said, which is very different than working as a graphic designer. “Clients, they are precise and want things done a certain way. My art is all about being in the moment. I make a lot of mistakes, but it’s gotten looser and more expressive. Fine art is expressive. It’s about the meaning. It’s dynamic.”

This year more than 20 Visual Communications alumni and instructors have donated pieces for ART Plus.

McCullough said the main goals of the event are to raise scholarship funds so second-year students can continue their education in VisCom programs, and to raise awareness of the School of Visual Communications and the artistic talents of its alumni.

“It’s a great outreach and awareness opportunity for us to be down in the Brady Arts District and be part of the First Friday event,” he said. “There are large crowds and excellent interaction between our current students and our alumni.”

Strickland said he learned about ART Plus after seeing McCullough talking about the event on a morning news program.

“I saw (McCullough) on there, and I had to know more about it,” he said. “It’s necessary for OSUIT and VisCom to be understood and to be seen. And paying for secondary education and going to college, everyone should have the ability to make that happen. If I can help make that happen, I’ll do it.”