Erica Bonavida is Oklahoma City's Artist-in-Residence for 2019. The program is managed by the Planning Department’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. Bonavida, a painter who uses a realistic style, works from a studio on the first floor of historic City Hall, 200 N Walker Ave.
About the program
The City started the Artist-in-Residence program to promote and accelerate the arts in our community, incubate an artistic career and foster an entrepreneurial approach to the business of art. Eligible artists are in the City’s Pre-Qualified Artist Pool.
A selection committee met twice to consider submissions and interview finalists, selecting Bonavida as the artist for the inaugural year of the program.
The City pays Bonavida a $750 monthly stipend. From her City Hall studio, she works on art projects, displays finished pieces for sale, engages with the public, cooperates with partners downtown to market and promote events and activities, and works to grow her career as a professional artist. Bonavida handles her own sales and keeps all of the proceeds.
Bonavida is on site for at least 12 hours per week, and plans and presents quarterly public education and engagement activities.
The program is funded by the General Fund. The Planning Department will gauge the program’s success this year, and ideally for at least another two years, before making it permanent if it goes well.
Artist-in-Residence programs have been used in public and private settings across the U.S. to support local artists. City residents benefit from the artist’s new knowledge, ideas, experience and audiences, and the artist gets special access to community leaders, visitors, expertise and public spaces. Visitors to City Hall can enjoy the new displays, experiences and approaches produced by the artist, which can lead to engaging, imaginative and resonant interactions.
The program complements the City’s 1% for Art ordinance, which requires 1 percent of the construction budget for City projects to be spent on public art, and the artist is often chosen from the Pre-Qualified Artist Pool.
Artists in the pool were selected based on submissions of their work and remain in the pool for three years. They can be selected for public projects with budgets under $25,000 and are recommended by the Arts Commission for private projects as well. The pool is one of the recommendations of AMP UP OKC, the public art master plan for Oklahoma City funded by National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grants.
About the artist
Erica Bonavida is a native of the Oklahoma City metro whose realistic paintings use still life settings as subjects. She’s a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma with degrees in painting and French.
The unending possibilities of textures and color inspire Bonavida’s paintings, in which she pairs individual fabrics and textures based on personal, tactile and experiential memories. The paintings incorporate fluid movement and scale, subtle shifts in color, undulating forms and distinct, limited color harmonies.
Still life paintings date to at least as early as ancient Egyptian tombs. In the Middle Ages, symbolic arrangements depicted Biblical scenes and to decorate illuminated manuscripts. And during the Renaissance, artists popularized still life paintings of flower arrangements. Still life artwork continues to inspire contemporary artists, including paintings of modern-day food and objects in a hyper-realistic style that prove even the most mundane objects can be made into beautiful masterpieces.