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Tingle to put busy life on pause for Artesian Arts Fest


"Sweet Dreams" features a Luna moth, dream catcher and crescent moon. Chickasaw spirals, representing wind and the circle of life, are also incorporated in the drawing.

STILLWATER, Okla. – Life interfered with Kaitlyn Tingle's art projects, but she is getting back in the groove by showing new works at the 2022 Artesian Arts Festival. It kicks off June 25 at 9 a.m. in downtown Sulphur, Oklahoma.

The young Chickasaw artist earned a bachelor's degree in sociology with an emphasis in anthropology from Oklahoma State University in May 2021. She began working with children in February 2022 at Grand Lake Mental Health Center. The facility serves 12 Oklahoma counties and operates 20 clinics offering personalized mental health care.

"I really enjoy helping people, particularly children," she said. Tingle serves children's care coordinator for the health center. "I provide support for children undergoing therapy. I can be an advocate for them, help with housing, or food. My job is great, and many differing tasks are required."

She will exhibit her art in the first in-person Artesian Arts Festival since 2019. The Chickasaw Nation-sponsored festival was forced online since COVID-19 altered life for an entire nation in March 2020. A single day, in-person festival is planned this week.

"You know, COVID did not affect my art, because I put it aside and concentrated on school. I am an introvert by nature, so I hunkered down in my room, studied, and took all the precautions to avoid infection," she said with a laugh, "and it was pretty natural for me."

Tingle may label herself an "introvert," but her award-winning art tells a different story.

She has an array of awards and achievements under her belt.

She turned heads with a meticulous butterfly drawing in 2014, earning 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 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 and was named "Emerging Artist" of the year at the Red Earth Festival three years ago.

At the upcoming festival, Tingle turned to her tried and true butterfly art and has even expanded to offer patrons "stickers" that can be purchased, placed on refrigerators, cars, mirrors, or any surface of their desire. The stickers are reproductions of her art where she uses an iPad and digital art technology.

Additionally, Tingle will bring a new twist to her colored pencil art.

Her piece titled "Sweet Dreams" features a Luna moth, a dream catcher and crescent moon. Luna moths are spectacular not only because of a more than 5-inch wingspan, but also for their seafoam green and yellow coloring. Tingle explained the First American inspiration behind the work was a dream catcher.

"I thought about dream catchers, and it reminded me of nighttime, so I incorporated the crescent moon, too." First Americans crafted dream catchers to ward off bad dreams and negative thoughts while they slept. Spiral Chickasaw symbolism is also shown on the moth's wings, just as in another piece Tingle titled "Life's Journey."

"Life's Journey" features a monarch butterfly with traditional Chickasaw symbolism. The spiral included in the work represents wind and each person's passage from birth, through life and into the afterlife.

She will offer about a dozen artworks during the Artesian Arts Festival on June 25.

"Life's Journey" is part of the art Tingle will display at the June 25 Artesian Arts Festival hosted in downtown Sulphur, Oklahoma.

"I am proud to be a Chickasaw woman and thankful to belong to a tribe that recognizes and honors dynamic Chickasaw women and the important role of women in our heritage, traditions and culture," Tingle said. "I believe butterflies represent strong and independent Chickasaw women. It shows how beautiful and resilient they are."

About Artesian Arts Festival

Hosted by the Chickasaw Nation, the Artesian Arts Festival is a celebration of all art expressions.

The one-day event features diverse art media created by elite First American artists, showcased at the Artesian Plaza, 1001 W. First St., in downtown Sulphur, Oklahoma.

Open to the public at no cost, the Artesian Arts Festival welcomed more than 11,000 visitors in 2019, the most recent in-person festival. The Artesian Online Art Market was launched in 2020 and 2021 and will also be available this year.

For more information, visit or call (580) 272-5525.


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