NORMAN – The City of Norman revealed its newest art installation in the Ruby Grant Community Park. This art, titled Gems, is part of a partnership between the City of Norman, installation artist Nathan Pratt, OG&E, Illuminating Engineering Society of Oklahoma City, Norman Arts Council and Norman Public Arts Board.
Ruby Grant Park is a Norman Forward quality-of-life project built on 153 acres of former Grant Family Farm land west located at 3110 W. Franklin Road. The property was left to the OU Foundation upon Ms. Grant’s passing, who then sold it to the City of Norman to be developed as a park. Proceeds of the sale were used to create endowment programs for music educators at the University of Oklahoma College of Music.
The installation of Gems includes a collection of twenty-five illuminated firefly sculptures that reflect park namesake and beloved educator Ruby Grant’s passion for the arts and nature. The fireflies were cast in bronze locally at the Crucible Foundry in Norman, made possible by substantial production donations from OG&E and the Illuminating Engineering Society of Oklahoma.
“Gems is a tribute to a beautiful soul who cared deeply for the arts,” said Norman Arts Council’s Public Arts Board president, Liz Barfield. “These fireflies are a powerful addition to the public art already found throughout the park and reflect the inspiration through artistic collaboration.”
“This partnership is a great example of how local private and public entities can unite to positively benefit our Norman community,” said Norman Mayor Breea Clark. “The installation utilizes local talent and organizations to bring public art to the visitors of Ruby Grant Park. Everyone was able to come together to make this addition a special place to remember life of Ruby Grant through this impactful partnership.”
Not only does the art pay tribute to Ruby Grant, the installation serves as an educational hub for biodiversity and sustainability in the local community. The area around the installment has been surrounded with vegetation selected to create a habitat for fireflies and pollinators. OG&E distributed pollinator seed packets to event attendees in an effort to encourage visitors to replicate the same practices at home.
“OG&E is proud to be a part of a partnership that supports local arts while also promoting awareness for how visitors can care for the environment,” said Kirby Nickolas, OG&E Senior Manager of Brand & Marketing. “Education was so important to Ruby Grant, and it’s important to OG&E, too. This installation will not only light up Ruby Grant Park – it will also promote biodiversity and sustainability throughout the Norman community and beyond.”
“We are always looking for collaborative opportunities to apply our mission to our community, to improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public,” said Illuminating Engineering Society of Oklahoma City Section President Chris Martin. “The illumination of these fireflies is a really unique detail of the installment and will be a reminder of the never-dimming light of Ruby Grant that she brought to the lives she touched.”
Oklahoman artist Nathan Pratt has created hundreds of sculptures in various mediums throughout his career. Pratt, a University of Oklahoma alumnus, is bringing his talents back to Norman with his latest creation.
“It is my hope that Ruby Grant’s legacy will be illuminated each time the public sees this installation,” said Pratt. “I am grateful to participate in the creative process that honors the desires of a true gem in this community.”
The installation was unveiled on Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Ruby Grant Park located at 36th Ave NW. The unveiling included coloring sheets for children and light snacks. To learn more about the Ruby Grant Park unveiling, call (405) 366-5472.
About Norman Forward
Norman Forward is a citizen-initiated proposal to renovate, expand, construct and fund Quality of Life projects, such as multiple recreational facilities, libraries, parks, athletic venues, public art, trails, swim complexes, and other quality of life projects throughout Norman. The initiative came to the City Council from community groups, stakeholders, and Norman residents, who prepared an initial package using analysis and information from recreational planning professionals and research firms. Norman voters approved the program by a 72% majority in 2015. For more information about Norman Forward, visit normanok.gov or follow us on Facebook.
Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of OGE Energy Corp. (NYSE: OGE), is Oklahoma's largest electric utility. For more than a century, we have provided customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas the safe, reliable electricity needed to power their businesses and homes with the nation's lowest electric rates, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Our employees are committed to generating and delivering electricity, protecting the environment, and providing excellent service to nearly 871,000 customers. OG&E has 7,081 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by low-sulfur coal, natural gas, wind, and solar. OG&E employees live, work, and volunteer in the communities we serve. For more information about OG&E, visit us at OGE.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.