Commerce Bank Launches First-Ever Online Art Exhibition Supporting Oklahoma City Community, Local Artist

‘What Matters Most’ art commission inspires hope, positivity

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Commerce Bank has launched What Matters Most, a community-based, commissioned art project and online exhibition, one year following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of the Covid-19 global pandemic. In its inaugural year, What Matters Most sought to inspire joy and creativity following a year marked with extraordinary changes, challenges, and uncertainties for many. Commerce worked with Allied Arts, as well as seven other organizations in different cities within Commerce’s retail banking footprint, to commission an illustrator to promote new and uplifting artwork. The artists were asked to create a piece around a theme inspired by Commerce Bank’s purpose statement and the events of the past year and how they have caused many to re-evaluate priorities and shift our focus to what is most important. Oklahoma City artist Kristopher Kanaly was commissioned for What Matters Most.

Since its founding, Commerce has had a long tradition of supporting the arts and is committed to helping people do what they’re dreaming of and take care of the things they love. The What Matters Most project provided an opportunity to reinforce the healing power of the arts, its cultural importance and its ability to connect people and communities.

“Now more than ever, as we’ve passed the 1-year anniversary since the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, it’s crucial to remind ourselves of positivity and to find things that inspire us and lift our mood,” said Shannon O’Doherty, Chief Executive Officer of Commerce Bank, Oklahoma. “As we find new ways to connect and pull closer together, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been, and the uncertainty we’ve faced. It is in this spirit that Commerce sought to foster creativity and energy that can help shine a light on what matters most. This project was a wonderful opportunity to do just that, all while supporting the wonderful work of Allied Arts and one of Oklahoma City’s talented artists, Kristopher Kanaly.”

Kanaly’s final piece is titled Stepping Into the Abundance. When asked to provide a statement around how his art responds to the theme, Kanaly said, “What I have found to be so important during all of this is our health — something we might have taken for granted before the pandemic. Not just physical health, but mental health, as well. Being quarantined inside our home, we have spent a lot of time growing new plants and finding joy in seeing them thrive. We have a whole corner dedicated to plants near a big window along with plants in each bedroom. We love taking long walks through nature exploring all the different plant life and when I think of health, I can't help but think of thriving plants. What I wouldn't give to experience a forest in a different world!”

The painting was created digitally and is available printed on a 40"x40" giclee canvas. An image of Kanaly’s final work as well as those of the other seven artists are displayed in an online gallery, WhatMattersMostArt.com, and promoted on Commerce Bank’s Instagram page. To learn more about the project, the art organizations that supported the effort and the featured artists, visit WhatMattersMostArt.com.