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OK Contemporary Art Reference Library

About the Oklahoma Contemporary Art Reference Library

The Oklahoma Contemporary Art Reference Library (OCARL) is a collaboration between Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, ArtDesk magazine, Kirkpatrick Foundation and Christian Keesee, chairman of Kirkpatrick Foundation and founder of Oklahoma Contemporary.

These organizations are dedicated to the support, development and enjoyment of contemporary art. By partnering together, the library system hopes Oklahoma City and County residents gain a deeper understanding of contemporary art and artists and their role in our society.

Books, supplies and resources for the OCARL have been made possible by a generous grant from Kirkpatrick Foundation.

The books in this collection include general overviews of art history, highlights of specific movements or areas in art, artist biographies, exhibit catalogs and art criticism. Many items are oversized and contain high-quality prints of contemporary art.

Issues of ArtDesk magazine are available for free to all customers in Metro Library locations.

This new collection offers a distinct point of view, while the multi-organization partnership provides Metro Library many opportunities to connect with communities around the county and help them see the role that contemporary art can play in their lives.


Metropolitan Library System Contemporary Art Reference Library sponsored by the Kirkpatrick Foundation / photo of book open of mickey mouse

Metropolitan Library System Contemporary Art Reference Library sponsored by the Kirkpatrick Foundation / photo of a stack of books from the Contemporary Art Reference Library

Browse the Collection

Learn About Contemporary Art

About Our Partners

ArtDesk is a free, quarterly publication devoted to the contemporary arts, performance, and thought. We keep readers informed by focusing on regional and national events, exhibitions, and education, promoting creative literacy and appreciation. ArtDesk debuted in October 2013, and is published by the Kirkpatrick Foundation.

Visit ArtDesk to Learn More

For more than 30 years, Oklahoma Contemporary has been a vital resource for contemporary art experiences of all kinds in the region. In our new home, we create opportunities for different communities to experience art, encounter new ideas and explore their creative potential through:

  • Free exhibitions and related programming
  • Performances
  • Innovative Studio School classes and workshops for adults and teens
  • Camp Contemporary and Early Childhood Studio classes
  • School Group Visits and daily public tours
  • Free weekly programs, including artist talks, panel discussions, live music, dance, poetry, film screenings, hands-on making activities and more

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, formed at the Fairgrounds in 1989 as City Arts Center by Christian Keesee and Kirkpatrick Foundation Director Marilyn Myers, is a nonprofit organization committed to providing the community with quality, accessible and affordable arts programming and education. Through corporate funding and private donations, Oklahoma Contemporary is able to educate Oklahomans through adult classes and workshops, art camps and classes for local youth, art exhibitions, lectures and additional educational programming. Oklahoma Contemporary was the recipient of the first grant ever awarded by the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and plays a key role in the development of Oklahoma City’s visual arts landscape.

Visit Oklahoma Contemporary to Learn More

Kirkpatrick Foundation, founded by John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick, is a private foundation located in Oklahoma City. Since 1955, the foundation has funded a wide range of endeavors, primarily in the arts, culture, education, animal wellbeing, environmental conservation, and historic preservation.

Visit the Kirkpatrick Foundation to Learn More