OKLAHOMA CITY – On Dec. 8 the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum will open Visions of Reality by Greg Burns in its Tulsa World Gallery. Since the Museum’s opening in 2007, the gallery has been committed to showcasing the works of Oklahoma artists like Burns.


Burns works in ink and watercolor, drawing intricate details first with a pen and following with watercolor. Born with Arthrogryposis, a muscle and joint disease that affects the use of his arms and legs, he draws with the pen in his hand and adds watercolor by holding the brush in his teeth.


“People always say that I paint with me teeth, but I don’t; I paint with my brain,” said Burns.


Oklahoma landmarks remain a favorite subject for the Oklahoma City artist, and he’s well known for his prints of state schools and universities. Though his style appears realistic, Burns says he interprets what he sees and produces his own version of reality.


“What I strive for in my pictures is to capture the reality of something as truthfully as I can,” said Burns. “Like life itself, it’s organic. It’s not perfect.”


Burns received his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1971 and unexpectedly made a career out of art. Though he had anticipated becoming a clinical psychologist, with artwork just being a hobby, his immediate success in selling his pieces changed his mind. Burns received the Governor’s Art Award in 1978 and has since been honored by numerous organizations. He has received the Native Son Award from the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the Power to Dream Achiever Award from the Tulsa Dream Institute and the Oklahoma Association of Higher Education and Disabilities A.C.C.E.S.S. Award, among others. The Oklahoma Health Foundation named him an Oklahoma Living Treasure in 2000 and Bishop McGuinness High School awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001.


Burns’ involvement in the community has included serving on the Oklahoma State Art Collection Committee, serving as a board member and officer for the Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled and involvement with the Art Education for the Handicapped Committee for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. He is also a board member for A New Leash on Life, which develops the abilities of dogs to meet a variety of human needs. Burns has exhibited at the annual Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts for 33 years and has been featured throughout Oklahoma, Colorado and southern Florida.


Burns also is featured in the Gaylord-Pickens Museum’s Perseverance exhibit in its Oklahoma Through Its People Gallery, alongside the likes of medical researcher Dr. Jordan Tang, civil rights activist Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher and prima ballerina Maria Tallchief.


“Greg not only gives back to our state through his incredible artwork, he also gives his time and talent to community organizations and is an ambassador for Oklahoma wherever he goes,” said Shannon L. Rich, president of the Oklahoma Heritage Association and Gaylord-Pickens Museum. “He is featured in the Museum’s Perseverance exhibit, but he is the epitome of all the characteristics highlighted here – perseverance, pioneer spirit, individualism, generosity and optimism.”


Burns’ exhibit in the Tulsa World Gallery, which will include pieces specially created for the exhibition, will highlight landscapes and landmarks from Oklahoma to Colorado to Italy that are meaningful to the artist.


“To me every picture is practice for the next picture,” said Burns. “You’re confronted with a clean piece of paper, and the first line is really hard. The second line is a little bit easier. And the 300th line is quite a bit easier. My true pleasure really comes from doing it in the first place.”


Visions of Reality will be on display Dec. 7 through March 12, 2011 at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. An opening reception will be held Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Museum at NW 13th Street & Shartel Avenue. The reception is open to the public and will include wine and appetizers. The reception is free for Museum members and free with paid admission for non-members. RSVP to Corie Baker at 405.523.3212 or clb@oklahomaheritage.com.


Burns also will be on-site for an artist talk and demonstration on Sunday, Dec. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m., in conjunction with free admission at the Museum from 1 to 6 p.m., thanks to Downtown in December’s Oklahoma City Community Foundation Free Museum Sundays. All original artwork in the exhibition will be for sale, and the Museum Store will also have cards and prints available for sale.


Through high-tech, interactive exhibits, the Gaylord-Pickens Museum allows visitors to experience Oklahoma’s story through its people. Video-driven displays and computer touch screen provide guests a unique look into the lives of famous and everyday Oklahomans who have impacted our state, country and world.


For more information about the Museum, the Tulsa World Gallery or Visions of Reality, visit www.oklahomaheritage.com or call 405.235.4458.




Director of Communications & Marketing

 Oklahoma Heritage Association

Gaylord-Pickens Museum