The Paseo Arts District‘s first art gallery, The Elms, opened in 1920. It was in fact the first artist studio and gallery to open in Oklahoma City. Last Friday, December 3, the district welcomed its latest gallery, Visions In The Paseo, dedicated to the Fine Art of Photography, and its featured photographer is local rising star, Gary Thomas.
The Paseo is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; its curved two-block street has maintained its Spanish revival architecture with original stucco buildings and clay tile roofs still intact. During the 1950s and 60′s it went through the cultural changes that eventually formed it into an arts district in the 1970s. The first annual Paseo Arts Festival was held on Memorial Day weekend in 1977, and today the Paseo district is home to 17 galleries and more than 60 artists. There are also restaurants, boutiques, shops, and other businesses in the area.
The grand opening of Visions In The Paseo now means that photographers will finally have a highly visible venue for displaying their work. The goal of the studio is to bring in the best of fine art photography from local, national, and international artists. Each month the gallery will feature a new photographer as well as the best of the best from throughout the year.
According to owner Glenn Fillmore, there are a lot of people, even within The Paseo, who do not consider photography an art. When planning his gallery, he wanted to change that mindset, and this became the reason for creating a high class gallery that features only photography.
Fillmore has been a photographer since the age of eight when he began developing and printing his own black and white images in his grandfather’s darkroom. His grandfather, a professional photographer, sparked this interest when he gave Fillmore his first camera at the age of five.
While he has been a photographer all his life, he began to shoot professionally around 10 years ago, focusing on landscapes and wildlife. After spending a summer managing another gallery on The Paseo and having a great time meeting people and talking art, he decided to give his own gallery a go and opened up Visions In The Paseo.
His plans for Visions In The Paseo are to make it more than just an art gallery, but rather a destination art gallery for Oklahoma. By making this a destination gallery, locating it at a high end location, and keeping it for photography only, he plans to attract first class photographers from around the world. You can find more of Glenn’s work on his website. Especially check out his Africa selections.
The featured artist for the month of December is Gary Thomas. a local favorite who has been shooting for over 14 years. While he does much of the usual fare—portraits, weddings, and children—his real love is for the extreme in visual photography. This includes sky diving, the use small flash lighting, pyrotechnics, unusual locations, and because this is Oklahoma, diverse weather conditions.
The show for December is entitled Such Moments Define Us. According to the artist, “Over the years I have proclaimed loudly that the image is not about me, but the subject we are making the image of. I still hold fast to this statement, but this time the images I will be sharing are all about me and the moments in my life that have defined me as a man and a photographer.” To see a sampling of what is on display, visit the Visions In The Paseo website and to see more of the work of Gary Thomas, check out his website.
The gallery opened around 6 PM on Friday and it was a never-ending stream of people throughout the evening. The images were outstanding and a good time was had by all. Many of those who were featured within the images were on hand as well.
Around 7:30, Gary Thomas held an impromptu photo shoot in front of the studio using a couple of models to demonstrate the types of lighting techniques he used in capturing his work shown in the gallery. A large crowd formed to watch the display and Thomas even got some of them involved in one of the shots.
Visions In The Paseo is a very open and well-designed gallery giving you easy access to view and enjoy these works of art. It keeps to its Paseo heritage while bringing a welcome change to the art district through its focus on photography. If you are in Oklahoma City and looking for something to do, or even if you are just passing though, take a little time to check out The Paseo art district, and I highly recommend that you make a stop at Visions In The Paseo.