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Palette opener

Nouveau Cru brings local art and performance to the party

Brianna Kay Todd (BKT) Design

Vanessa Herron

Eric Dean believes in the creative energy of Tulsa.

“We are this shining little star of culture and talent that more people need to know about,” he said. “So many great artists not only come from Tulsa but are in Tulsa right now that nobody knows about. It’s a community. Let’s know each other.”

Dean is the founder and host of Nouveau Cru, a new group seeking to heighten local artists’ exposure to help them sell more work. Dean is joined in this mission by Vanessa Herron (social media, artist recruitment) and Vanguard owner Simon Aleman (ticket sales, artist deposits, venue logistics).

Nouveau Cru is all about bringing a different type of foot traffic to artists.

If an artist buys a booth at an outdoor arts festival, they may be at their booth for three days, six hours a day. They’ll see a lot of people walking by their booths during that time.

“[But] most of those people will be walking past you,” Dean said. “They’ll walk past you once, and they may not walk past a second time.”

“What we do is essentially create a party in the middle of all of our artists, so if someone gets there at 8 and stays till the end of the show, they’re going to be at your booth 10, 12 times before the end of the night.”

At a Nouveau Cru event, the crowd will be surrounded by art while dancing and partying. They’ll have a high likelihood of conversing with the artist and getting to know their work better. Hopefully, this will translate to higher sales for the artists.

Nouveau Cru’s first art party will take place, Sept. 7 at the Vanguard. Approximately 20 vendor booths—offering paintings, photography, sculpture, jewelry, and more—will be set up around the edge of the room. From 8 p.m. to midnight, a string of performances—bands, comedians, and dancers—will entertain onstage. DJ Kylie will spin between acts.

“It’s a 21-and-up event, so there’s also a bar. Everyone’s got a good buzz. It’s just a real good mix,” said Dean, who hit on this formula about four years ago when he started putting on art shows at the now-defunct Creative Room, where artists could sell their goods while bands played. “We learned that the two things mixed really well.”

After the stage acts end at midnight, booths will remain open and the DJ will continue playing until the bar closes at 2 a.m. “Classy casual” attire is encouraged.

Nouveau Cru
Friday, Sept. 7, 8:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m.
The Vanguard, 222 N. Main St. | $10

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