BOB DYLAN CENTER UNVEILS STATE-OF-THE-ART COMPLEX DURING VIP GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION–HUNDREDS OF LUMINARIES AND MEDIA FROM AROUND THE WORLD TRAVEL TO TULSA FOR PREMIERE–LEGENDARY MAVIS STAPLES LAUNCHES 3 DAYS OF CONCERTS AT WORLD-FAMOUS CAIN’S BALLROOM
BDC-PRESENTED PERFORMANCES TO COME BY PATTI SMITH ON MAY 6 AND ELVIS COSTELLO ON MAY 7
TULSA, Okla. (May 5, 2022) — The Bob Dylan Center (BDC) opened its doors to visitors today for the first time, launching its VIP Grand Opening celebration that attracted hundreds of invited luminaries and members of the media from around the world. Visitors were welcomed to a 29,000-square-foot complex of curated exhibitions drawn from more than 100,000 items created and/or collected by Bob Dylan throughout his unparalleled seven decades as one of the world’s most important and iconic cultural figures.
Artifacts on display include handwritten lyric manuscripts to some of the world’s most treasured songs, previously unreleased recordings, never-before-seen film performances, rare and unseen photographs, visual art and other priceless items.
Steven Jenkins is the Director of the BDC, following three decades in numerous museum and nonprofit leadership positions in the San Francisco Bay Area. A lifelong Dylan fan and aficionado of his creative work, Jenkins recently relocated to Tulsa to helm the Center’s exhibitions, public programs and daily operations. According to Jenkins, “As an avid listener and fascinated follower of Dylan’s every surprising and illuminating turn, his work has brought me a lifetime of aesthetic pleasures, confounding challenges and profound joy. I am honored and thrilled to take on this dream job, and I thank Steve Higgins and everyone at ASA for this incredible opportunity.”
The Center’s Grand Opening Celebration will be highlighted by concert events featuring three of the world’s most acclaimed musical artists, all of whom have cited Bob Dylan as a strong influence on their work: Mavis Staples on Thursday, May 5 (a special event only for BDC Founding Members and members of the media), Patti Smith and her Band on Friday, May 6 and Elvis Costello and the Imposters on Saturday, May 7. All shows will be held at Tulsa’s famed concert venue Cain’s Ballroom, and tickets are available for the latter two here.
Artfully designed exhibits, drawn from and inspired by the vast holdings of the Bob Dylan Archive®, will utilize cutting-edge technology to create immersive and unique experiences for Center visitors. Announced for the first time are:
The Church Studio Control Room, sponsored by the legendary Tulsa recording studio, will enable visitors to experience hands-on mixing of a regularly changing selection of original Dylan recordings. The first two are “I Want You,“ from the artist’s Blonde On Blonde album, and “Knockin‘ On Heaven’s Door“ from Dylan’s soundtrack to Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. This exhibit will also relate little-known stories behind the recording of numerous Dylan classics, including “Like A Rolling Stone.”
The Columbia Records Gallery, sponsored by Dylan’s longtime record company, will chronicle the artist’s 60-year career and impact on music and culture through deep exploration of era-defining songs. The first half-dozen to be featured when the BDC opens are “Chimes of Freedom,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Jokerman,” “Not Dark Yet,” “Tangled Up In Blue” and “The Man In Me.”
A 16-foot-high metalwork sculpture, designed and built by Bob Dylan at his Black Buffalo Artworks studio, will grace the internal entrance of The Bob Dylan Center. The decorative elements of the impressively assembled structure reference American industry, and combine to form an abstract entry gate to the Center’s reception area, ticket counter and retail space.
Membershipsto the Bob Dylan Center are now available. An array of levels will provide members with unlimited admission to the Center when it opens on May 10, 2022, plus first access to admission booking, discounts on exclusive merchandise, private tours and more. Founding Memberships—which include lifetime memberships to both the BDC and the Woody Guthrie Center, an exclusive invitation to the VIP grand opening of the Bob Dylan Center and permanent recognition on the center’s donor wall—are also available. Information regarding public admission to the Bob Dylan Center is available here.
Both the Bob Dylan Center and the Woody Guthrie Center operate under auspices of the American Song Archives, a project of the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF). GKFF acquired Dylan’s vast archives in 2016 and Guthrie’s in 2010. Located in Tulsa’s burgeoning arts district just steps from the city’s renowned Woody Guthrie Center, the Bob Dylan Center® was designed by renowned architectural and exhibit design firm Olson Kundig, led by design principal Alan Maskin.
59 Productions, world-leading specialists in design for stage and live events—including the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the record-breaking David Bowie Is exhibition and the decor concept design for the Met Ball—is collaborating with Olson Kundig on exhibition design and media development.
A state-of-the art immersive audio experience, designed by creative technology company Art Processors, integrates seamlessly with the interactive experiences woven throughout the Center. Utilizing proximity-detection technology, visitors can choose to be enveloped in the songs and eras of Bob Dylan’s artistic journey as they explore the Center. By using audioguide devices, visitors can access touchpoints throughout the Center to listen to songs and other audio clips, revisit landmark moments spanning Dylan’s long career and tune in to rare film and video footage—essentially curating their own Center experience.
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About Steven Jenkins
Jenkins is a thirty-year veteran of the nonprofit sector, having held leadership positions at San Francisco Bay Area organizations including University of California Press, Glide Foundation, San Francisco Film Society/San Francisco International Film Festival, Frameline/San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, San Francisco Cinematheque, Film Arts Foundation and the Ansel Adams Center for Photography. Jenkins served as Editor-in-Chief of Artweek and Bay Area Citysearch; Senior Editor of see: a journal of visual culture; and has contributed hundreds of articles on visual arts, music, film, literature and culture to national publications including New York, Out, California, Detour, SF Camerawork, Photo Op and Publishers Weekly. His books as a writer and editor include City Slivers and Fresh Kills: The Films of Gordon Matta-Clark and Model Culture: James Casebere: Photographs. As a curatorial and development consultant he has guided programming and fundraising efforts for a wide variety of nonprofits and independent artists. Jenkins earned a B.A. in English at UC Berkeley and an M.A. in English at San Francisco State University.
About the Bob Dylan Center®
To be anchored by a permanent exhibit on the life and work of Bob Dylan, the Bob Dylan Center® is committed to exploring the myriad forms of creativity that enrich the world around us. When it opens in the Tulsa Arts District in May 2022, the center will serve to educate, motivate and inspire visitors to engage their own capacity as creators. Through exhibits, public programs, performances, lectures and publications, the Center aims to foster lively conversations about the role of creativity in our lives.
As the primary public venue for the Bob Dylan Archive® collection, the Center will curate and exhibit a priceless collection of more than 100,000 items spanning Dylan’s career, including handwritten manuscripts, notebooks and correspondence; films, videos, photographs and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments and many other elements. More information at bobdylancenter.com.
About Bob Dylan
An up-to-date overview of Bob Dylan’s career can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/3n03F2I.
About the George Kaiser Family Foundation
The George Kaiser Family Foundation is a Tulsa-based charitable foundation dedicated to providing equal opportunity for children through investments in early childhood education, community health and civic enhancements. Part of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the American Song Archives operates the Woody Guthrie Center and the Bob Dylan Center, and preserves and maintains the archives of these and other important American artists. More information at gkff.org.
About Olson Kundig
Now in its sixth decade of practice, Olson Kundig is a collaborative design practice whose work includes cultural and museum projects, exhibition design, commercial and mixed-use design (including wineries and sports facilities), private and multi-family residential, hospitality projects, places of worship, interior design, product design and landscape design. With deep roots in the Pacific Northwest, the firm and its staff of over 250 work with clients around the world. More information at www.olsonkundig.com.
About 59 Productions
59 Productions is a multidisciplinary design studio with a passion for story-driven design. The studio’s work spans a broad range of disciplines including design for the stage, exhibition design, architecture, projection-mapping and large-scale events, as well as VR, AR and interactive design. Regardless of the medium, 59’s approach is based on the harnessing of innovative thinking, extensive research and world-class design skills to create memorable storytelling experiences. More information at 59productions.co.uk.
About Art Processors
Art Processors is a global experiential design and technology company that partners with cultural and tourism organizations around the world to invent new realities of human experience. As specialists in interactive media and exhibition design services, Art Processors has set a new standard for immersive storytelling, alongside the company’s unique technology platform, working with leading cultural centers such as The J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.); the Museum of Old and New Art (Hobart); and the National Museum of Australia (Canberra). More information at https://www.artprocessors.net/.
Mark Davidson – Director & Curator, The Bob Dylan Archive
Parker Fishel – Curatorial Consultant, The Bob Dylan Archive
Key Consultants (Exhibition Design):Olson Kundig, Exhibit Design Lead,59 Productions, Media Development and Digital Interactive; Jennifer Lebeau, Filmmaker; Sean Wilentz, Historian & Author; Lewis Hyde, Author; Ellipse Studio, Content and Copywriting; Tillotson Design Associates, Lighting Design; Coffman Engineers, Exhibits Structural Engineer; Art Processors, Audio Guide; Brown Bag Creative, Graphic Production; CREO Exhibits, Exhibit Fabricator; BBI Engineers, Audio/Visual Integration; Black Buffalo Ironworks, Gate Fabricator.
Key Consultants (Architecture): Olson Kundig, Design Architect; Lilly Architects, Architect of Record; Wallace Engineering, Structural Engineer; Phillips + Gomez, MEP and Fire Protection Engineer; Crossland, General Contractor.