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Opening of 'Wing'

Ribbon-cutting ushers in the completion of art project in downtown Enid

  • 2 min to read

when i watch this video, when i watch the women filing out of her wing one after another, strong, courageous,...

Posted by Romy Owens on Monday, July 27, 2020

ENID, Okla. — A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in downtown Enid Saturday, July 25, 2020, to usher in an art project that has been on display since being completed earlier this month.

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"Under Her Wing Was the Universe" is a sculptural pavilion by Romy Owens and is located on land south of the Stride Bank Center. Although it faced a number of delays, due to finding the right materials, weather and permitting, the artwork was completed and opened to the public about three years after Enid City Commission approved the location and some funding for the project in a July 2017 meeting. The majority of funds for the project were raised privately.

Owens said a large-scale celebration for the project will be held for several hundred supporters when it is safe to gather in public without masks.

In the infancy of the project, Owens shared her concept for the artwork.

"The concept, at its very purist core, is the idea that you would find or seek shelter under a bird's wing and the universe would be revealed to you," she said. "In thinking about how little baby birds are under a mama's wing, or how people find shelter and through the course of spending time in a different place, they find different forms of community, that is it at its most basic form."

The lighted structure is designed to mimic the stars of a night sky, something that is becoming harder to see in urban areas of the nation.

As the project neared completion, Owens found herself arranging a grand opening in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic and realized she was going to have to think outside the box, as she had to do many times regarding the project.

"As soon as I started to tease out the idea of a ribbon-cutting ceremony, it became clear that there was no way to have a large public event safely," she said, referring to social distancing being recommended by health officials due to the coronavirus.

She said the idea of people gathering in large crowds, some potentially without masks made her feel uncomfortable.

"I felt like a controlled event with masks and social distancing that was captured on video for public viewing online was the safest way to celebrate the completion of the 'Wing," she said. "The women who participated were all remarkable advocates for me and this project. It was beautiful to share this moment with them, and I'm honored by their support."

Owens said the project was "so unique and non-traditional, it seemed fitting that the ribbon cutting would be the same."

She shared the video on social media, accompanied by this text, "When I watch this video, when I watch the women filing out of her wing one after another, strong, courageous, compassionate, wise, generous, and resilient, I cry. Every time, I cry. Thank you, dear friends, for championing this project from beginning to end. Saturday was truly special, and I am grateful not only for these women but every woman who has stood by my side. I hope you'll support me again when I launch my next project. And I hope you will take bold and daring risks in all that you pursue."

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