Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Oklahoma’s Murals and Masterpieces

Oklahoma is home to a thriving — and sometimes surprising — arts scene. Creativity tells the state’s story, from its rich Native American history to its ever-evolving modern landscape of innovators and creatives. The state’s museums are home to expansive collections of Indigenous art, detailed works of the American West and contemporary creations like colorful urban murals.

The arts scene doesn’t stop in museum corridors. In addition to museums, Oklahoma offers an array of hands-on art workshops for every skill level, as well as public art to discover. Independent galleries and open studios offer chances to meet with artists. From exploring festivals to classes to interactive exhibits, groups will have plenty of opportunities to explore their creative side.

ARTesian Gallery and Studios


In Sulphur, the Chickasaw Nation’s ARTesian Gallery and Studios offers everything an art lover needs: work spaces, a gallery and even an art supply store.

“It’s a one-stop art shop,” said Marcus Milligan, director of visual arts, media and design for Chickasaw Nation Arts and Humanities. “We had this idea to create a place where people get a full experience of art.”

From those first seeds of an idea, ARTesian grew into a haven for connecting with other visionaries and carrying inspiration all the way through to an incredible finished project — or simply enjoying those creations as an enthusiastic guest.

ARTesian features rotating exhibits of Native American art. It also welcomes artists from the local community and throughout the U.S. to create and showcase their practice in the studio space.

The space offers classes on weaving, painting, ceramics, drawing and more, as well as special holiday-themed classes. Groups can explore the gallery, tour the studios and potentially have a chance to meet the artists as well.

Paseo Arts District

Oklahoma City

The lively Paseo Arts District in Oklahoma City was built in 1929 and boasts over 20 galleries featuring more than 80 artists. All are within walking distance of each other, and between the studios are restaurants, boutiques and other hangouts worth exploring. It’s a great place to take a casual stroll, popping from gallery to gallery before stopping for lunch in a local eatery. In addition to gallery spaces, the district also offers interactive workshops where groups can foster their own creativity.

“We’re the first arts district in Oklahoma,” said Amanda Bleakley, executive director of the Paseo Arts Association. Back in the ’20s, the Paseo was initially developed as a shopping area but has evolved into much more. “It’s morphed into a really unique arts district,” Bleakley said.

Buildings in the district are adorned with pastel colors and clay tiles, and creativity can be found around every corner. The neighborhood is home to several art shows per month and hosts an annual Paseo Arts Festival each summer.

Groups can register in advance for hands-on lessons and workshops. A local favorite is Prairie Arts Collective, which offers stained-glass classes.

“If a group wanted to come in and book a class ahead of time, Prairie Arts would be the best one,” Bleakley said.

Other classes in the district include pottery, needlepoint and more. But groups should book in advance to ensure there is a one-day workshop on the roster that fits their interests. To catch most of the galleries and art spaces at their peak opening hours, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are the best days to visit.

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art


Art-minded travelers (and even locals) often overlook university museums, but they feature some of the most robust and accessible art collections in the U.S. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is a great example. Located in Norman on the beautiful campus of the University of Oklahoma, the institution is often praised as one of the top university museums in the country. The permanent collection features an array of works including traditional and contemporary Native American art, Southwestern art, French Impressionist works, Asian art and much more.

Groups of up to 70 can explore the museum’s collections on their own, and the museum can accommodate guided docent tours for groups of up to 50. Groups should book at least a month in advance to ensure docent availability.

The Gilcrease Museum


The Gilcrease Museum is a must-see for groups that prefer experiencing art in a museum setting rather than through workshops. This Tulsa treasure was founded in 1949 by Thomas Gilcrease of the Muscogee Creek Nation. It’s home to an expansive collection of North American art and features more than 350,000 items.

The Gilcrease is well known for its Indigenous pieces, which represent cultures across the Americas and span millennia. The museum is also one of the largest holders of art of the American West, including paintings, sculptures and other pieces that tell the story of Oklahoma’s past. Along with the permanent collection, the Gilcrease offers rotating temporary exhibitions year-round.

The museum is housed on 450 acres, so groups that like to get outdoors can explore the grounds in between perusing exhibits.

Tulsa Mural Tour


Tulsa Tours offers a wide range of experiences to get to know the city better, and their mural tour is a great way to explore the lively local arts scene. While many of Tulsa Tours’ offerings are guided, the mural tour is a self-guided adventure that groups can explore together.

“[The mural tour] came about at the beginning of the pandemic, when people were being socially distanced and wanted to be outside,” said Jeffrey Tanenhaus, founder of Tulsa Tours. “I thought I could create something to help people discover downtown in a socially distant way.” Since then, the tour has taken off and has remained popular. “The murals are great to look at no matter what’s going on in the world,” Tanenhaus said. “I put together my favorite murals that were downtown and then expanded to those a little bit beyond downtown.”

Tanenhaus continues to update the tour as new murals are added to or removed from the city’s creative landscape.

“It’s a curated collection of murals that I think help tell the story about Tulsa, whether it’s the past or present culture here,” he said. He suggests making the most of the tour by scoping out the route and choosing the murals that most resonate with your group — following the map in order isn’t required.

“Aim for those murals that you’re interested in, whether it’s for the artistic quality or for the historic quality of what they represent,” Tanenhaus said.