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Tulsa painter chose art over CIA



Michelle Firment Reid spent her childhood traveling around the world while her dad worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. Reid herself worked on graphics and disguises for the CIA during college before devoting her life to painting.

"I could have eventually become a spy, but I couldn't have done my art," she said. "Art is something I'll be doing until I'm dead. It's part of me and I can't imagine not having it in my life."

Reid and her husband eventually moved to Tulsa, where she has worked for the past 11 years. She is the first artist to be featured in the "art on shARTel" exhibit series in the Tulsa World Gallery at the Oklahoma Heritage Museum.

The exhibit of Reid's work, titled "From Here to There," is her first show in Oklahoma City, filled with detailed mixed-media paintings. Many of the works merge writing with rich color landscapes that Reid textured with lace.

"I keep changing and reevaluating my painting," Reid said. "I keep my work fluid. I'm always pushing myself and trying new things. It's not always the same day in and out."

Karlee Chill, the director of museum exhibitions at the Oklahoma Heritage Museum, said the "art on shARTel" series is a reflection and contrast to the rest of the museum.

"We created a space in the museum specifically for rotating exhibits "? a blank canvas that would be able to house temporary exhibits," Chill said. "Our goal for the Oklahoma Heritage Museum is to focus on Oklahoma's people and tell those stories in an unconventional way." "?Allison Meier


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