Art Installation wins International Award

Virtual Sky, the Oklahoma City Convention Center’s, showpiece art display won a Silver in the International Design Award competition.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Winning a top award at an international design competition shows how committed the City of Oklahoma City is to fund and produce public art that stands well against those types of projects in much larger cities.

Virtual Sky, the suspended LED light sculpture that spans the two large public atriums at the Oklahoma City Convention Center, won Silver in the International Design Awards (IDA) competition in the Architecture Categories of Public Art and Public Art Installations. Now in its 15th year, IDA attracts thousands of designs submitted by companies and designers around the world competing for the top prizes in this prestigious competition.

“On or off the LEDs in Virtual Sky and the physical elements of the work display a serenity, a feeling of contained energy,” said Randy Marks, Oklahoma City Public Arts Manager. “Then when the light programs are running it explodes into a dynamic interpretation of an Oklahoma sky. We anticipate that Virtual Sky will be an integral part of any visit to OKC and the OKCCC for many years to come.”

Susan Narduli, a Los Angeles-based artist and architect who has designed pieces across the country that push the intersection of art, media, technology, and architecture, was the project lead with support from 5Ten Visuals, Developer Tommy Etkin and OKC Arts.

“It is an honor for the entire design team,” Narduli said. “The realization of Virtual Sky required a great deal of imagination and commitment, and I am grateful that we can all share in its success. I hope this award will bring public attention to the beautiful new Convention Center, the city’s visionary MAPS initiative, and the leadership of OKC Arts in delivering meaningful artwork and experiences to the people.”

The project, which began in March 2019 was fast-tracked and completed in December 2020. Virtual Sky and other public art projects result from the Art Ordinance adopted by the Oklahoma City Council in 2009 with one percent of the construction cost of any building, facility, trail, or park built by the city funds public art.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in OKC,” Narduli said. “During the installation of Virtual Sky, I spent many nights at Scissortail Park where I had a magnificent view for finalizing the piece. So many people asked me questions about what I was doing, and many thanked me for creating artwork for their city. That sense of community is a beautiful thing and a testament to the fine work of city leadership, city planners, and the Arts Commission in supporting the creation of meaningful public spaces.”