My guest for this episode is Romy Owens, an artist and curator who makes site-specific installations, as well as smaller objects, in reaction to place, community, and transformation. Last fall I had the opportunity to visit Under Her Wing was The Universe, her enormous public sculpture that was installed in 2020 in Enid, Oklahoma.
In this episode I talk with Romy about her commitment to raising $100,000 for that outdoor public sculpture and native prairie landscape as a gift to her hometown. As it turns out, $100,000 was just the beginning, and while it all worked out in the end, it wasn’t exactly easy getting there. Not only did Romy have to raise a lot more money than originally projected, she had to stand up to the naysayers in the community.
Romy is an artist that knows how to effectively measure success. Community collaboration, fundraising, overcoming controversy and yes, using spreadsheets are just a few of the topics that you won’t want to miss in this conversation.
Romy Owens shares the leap of faith she has taken with her art and with her community. (3:30)
Conceiving the project Under Her Wing was the Universe. (9:55)
Relationships that informed the piece and Alyson’s reaction to seeing it in person. (12:10)
Naming the piece and finding value in all that is revealed in the universe. (16:06)
Securing space for the project and making the connections that brought city approval. (20:04)
Funding from the city and how Romy planned to cover the rest. (23:50)
Launching a GoFundMe fundraiser. (26:40)
Meeting tight deadlines and overcoming obstacles along the way. (28:26)
Overcome your fear of hearing “no” when raising funds. (30:33)
Handling the controversy that comes with creating interesting art. (33:02)
Key collaborators and supporters in creating a piece of this scale. (36:27)
Keeping track of your progress with a system that actually works. (41:09)
Measuring success and setting goals in specific and meaningful ways. (43:24)
Ideas for generating interest in your art. (49:32)
Intro and outro music by Wildermiss
About My Guest
Romy Owens is an artist and curator living in Enid, Oklahoma. She makes site-specific installations, as well as smaller objects, in reaction to place, community, and transformation. Her curatorial work attends to a similar focus. Both Owens' artistic and curatorial practices are presently centered around community art designed to impact social change, using art as a method to broaden our understanding of specific issues.