News Column

The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, Steve Lackmeyer column

June 11, 2014

By Steve Lackmeyer, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

June 11--Exhibit C, a Bedre Fine Chocolate store, gift shop and display of Chickasaw art, history, crafts and jewelry, is on track to open shortly after Bricktown's July 4 festivities.

A July 7 opening is tentatively set for the store and gallery at 1 E Sheridan. Many of the display shelves, cases and mounts for art displays are already in place, and stock has already started to arrive, said Paige Williams, Chickasaw Nation Department of Commerce director of tourism.

"We already have some of the art arriving and we are storing it in the offices," Williams said. "We want to wait for the Bedre chocolates until right before we open so we can get it fresh off the line from Davis, Oklahoma."

The Chickasaw Nation already has a presence in Bricktown that includes sponsorship of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and the "Warrior" statue at the Chickasaw Plaza along the Bricktown Canal.

Exhibit C, however, provides the state's busiest entertainment district with an answer to requests long made by visitors to sample Oklahoma's American Indian culture.

The storefront being built out for Exhibit C has been vacant for almost 20 years, dating back to when it was previously home to the manufacturing operation of Bunte Candies.

Williams said the 7,000-square-foot gallery and store will feature new Chickasaw artists every four months. The retail shop will offer Chickasaw artisan works such as jewelry, pottery, paintings and clothing, the full line of Bedre Fine Chocolate and books from Chickasaw Press, as well as Chickasaw Country-branded items.

Williams said Exhibit C's design embraces the history of the approximately century-old Bricktown warehouse by keeping the exposed concrete columns and ceiling, while also maintaining a warmer environment through the use of light colors and unfinished wood.

Williams hopes art displays in the windows and a lounge area stocked with American Indian and Chickasaw art and history books facing the west storefront will quickly draw visitors' attention.

Johnny Baier, director of the American Banjo Museum immediately east of Exhibit C, said he is eager to see another visitor-oriented attraction as a neighbor.

"Anything that's going to be a tourist-driven entity in Bricktown will help everyone here," Baier said. "The majority of our business is tourist driven. So we're looking forward to anything where we can partner with an attraction so close by."



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Source: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City)

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