A photography exhibit at Living Arts compares north Tulsa in 1992 and today

Posted at 6:45 PM, May 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-31 20:15:27-04

TULSA -- For the 96th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riot that left hundreds wounded and dozens dead, Living Arts is holding a photography exhibit comparing the city’s past and present.

Hanging side by side on the walls of the gallery are photos of north Tulsa from 1992 and photos taken in the last few months.

“Twenty-five years is a long time to some people, but in the history of a desperate community that needs economic development, it’s not a long time,” Steve Liggett, the artistic director for Living Arts, said. “Especially when lots of changes have been happening around it but not directly in it.”

Fifteen photographers, both African American and white, went into north Tulsa to capture snapshots of every day life in 2017.

Walt Kosky was one of them. Kosky shot the photographs out of the window of his car. He said during this project, however, he got out and visited with the residents.

“Today is the day 96 years ago when what’s called the ‘race riot’ took place, but if you go to north Tulsa it is called the ‘race massacre,’ “ Kosky said.

He said he lives in the area and over the years he has noticed the landscape and buildings have changed but the people have not. Kosky said he noticed most of the homes are boarded up.

“Yeah there are new buildings being built and the educational is a little bit shaky, but the true essence is our hearts haven’t changed,” Kosky said.

One of Kosky’s photos featured in the exhibit is of a burned home. He said the photo is symbolic of the community.

“It’s almost as though the house is waiting for someone to take hold of it’s hand and suddenly make it new again,” Kosky said. “To take the plywood off the windows and live in this neighborhood and be part of this place.”

Kosky said he hopes people who see his photos walk away not thinking of Tulsa as north, south, east or west but as one community.

The exhibit opens Friday at 6 p.m. at Living Arts. Prior to the opening there will be a panel discussion about the photos at 5 p.m.

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