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Young Chickasaw artist to appear at Artesian Arts Festival

SULPHUR, Okla. – An epiphany struck Kaitlyn Tingle when she was merely 12.

Attending her first art class, she realized a profound love for drawing.

Now, Tingle, an 18-year-old Chickasaw citizen, will be exhibiting her creative works at the Artesian Arts Festival May 26 as one of its youngest featured artists.

While this is the first year to showcase her talent at this arts festival, Tingle is no amateur. She has an array of awards and achievements under her belt.

She turned heads with a meticulous butterfly drawing in 2014. That year, she earned a first place ribbon at the Chickasaw Nation Butterfly Art Contest.

In 2017, she wowed judges again by repeating the win.

Her butterfly served as the artwork accompanying all materials promoting the 2018 Dynamic Women of the Chickasaw Nation Conference.

She has competed in the Red Earth Youth Art Contest as well as the Southeastern Art Show and Market (SEASAM) capturing first place awards at both competitions.

After graduating from Sulphur High School in 2017, Tingle is continuing her education at Oklahoma State University where she is majoring in sociology with an emphasis in anthropology and art history.

Her dream is to one day become a museum curator, combining her passion for art with her love of historical artifacts.

"I believe that someone who is a museum curator must be able to appreciate not only current art, but also ancient art," Tingle said. "I really enjoy admiring other people's artwork and I think seeing all the styles from different cultures would help give me inspiration for my own pieces."

As an artist, she enjoys including different Native American objects into her art and wants her pieces to please art aficionados.

"I hope that people will find an appreciation for art in the Chickasaw culture and to be exposed to various artistic talents, and maybe it will inspire them to create some type of art of their own."

Colored pencil and graphite are her favorite mediums. She also enjoys using charcoal.

"I'm a perfectionist, so I try my hardest to make my work look as realistic as possible," Tingle said.

Tingle is the daughter of Gary and Michele Tingle. She credits her parents with instilling her with talent and wisdom beyond her years.

Throughout her career as an artist, her father has been by her side coaching and supporting her each step of the journey.

"My father would be the one who inspired me to draw," Tingle reflected. "He was a talented artist in his youth and still is very talented. He does all of the matting and framing for my artwork. I look to him when I'm having trouble on a piece and need advice."

While her father imparted wisdom on the arts, her mother nurtured her to find pride in her Native American heritage, letting it weave throughout each aspect of her life.

"My mom has encouraged my brother and me to be proud of, and to embrace, our Native American heritage and where we come from," Tingle said. "I want to do my part and contribute to preserving not only Chickasaw history, but Native American history in general."

Tingle will be bringing a variety of her artwork to the festival, some old and some new. She said she likes to keep it a secret until she is ready to showcase it.

The Artesian Arts Festival is one of America's fastest growing Native American arts markets and will feature more than 100 artists. The Artesian Plaza is located adjacent to the Artesian Hotel and Spa, 1001 W. First Street, Sulphur, Oklahoma.

Musical entertainment, tribal dance demonstrations and food vendors are also planned, as well as a special area for children's activities and a senior citizens' arts and crafts booth.

For more information about the Artesian Arts Festival, contact the Chickasaw Nation Division of Arts & Humanities at 580-272-5520, or by email at


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