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OTA Creek Turnpike by Carolyn Braaksma

OTA Creek Turnpike

by Carolyn Braaksma

poured concrete
Dimensions: 9'-16' high x 3520' w
Project Agency: Oklahoma Department of Transportation
Artwork Location: Sound wall south side of Turnpike from S Memorial Drive to Mingo Road
Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Artwork

The enhancments for the highway sound walls are meant to reflect Tulsa's cultural and natural landscape. The buffaloes are based on the iconic American Indian buffalo that formerly roamed the Oklahoma prairie. The stalks of flowers signify the prairie flowers. Ther large composite flowers refer to Oklahoma's blanket flower. They are carved in a style that is reminiscent of the historical Art Deco buildings in Tulsa. The intent for this type project is to develop images that are suitable for both short and taller walls. Although the images are repeated, they are reconfigured to give more variation in the layout and to disguise repeat.

The Artist

As a public artist, Carolyn Braaksma has been creating large-scale public art commissions for more than 20 years. She has successfully completed projects for municipalities and local governments, DOTs, educational institutions, and other agencies. With a strong design sensibility, her award-winning work often incorporates site-specific imagery and local references to create a special sense of place.

After graduating from Metropolitan State College in Denver with a degree in fine art, Braaksma attended welding school and became a welder for an iron erection crew. As a welder on many local construction projects, Braaksma realized the potential of concrete as an art material. While doing graduate work at the U of Minnesota, she found out that public art offered a special opportunity to integrate art, familiar construction materials, sites with high visibility and public appeal. Braaksma strives to incorporate specific ideas of history, culture and community and to translate these ideas into an accessible visual language.

As a well-established artist, Braaksma has successfully completed public art commissions throughout the United States. Her company, Braaksma Design Inc. specializes in integrating public art into large-scale infrastructure projects, using familiar materials and stretching construction processes that are fundamental to the projects. Her projects have included enhancements for highway infrastructure projects as well as works that incorporate outdoor paving, seating, wall enhancements and landscaping. In addition to working with concrete and steel construction elements, she has produced designs for terrazzo and stone floors.