October 28, 2011

Turning Point: Oklahoma Arts Conference

Suzanne Tate, Executive Director, Oklahoma Arts Council and Ken Busby, Executive Director, Tulsa Arts & Humanities Council, Oklahoma Arts Conference 2011. Tate retires in early November after 20 years of public service to the state. (Oklahomans for the Arts asked her to serve on the Board of Directors and thankfully, she's agreed.)
Oklahomans for the Arts reached a critical turning point this week in our development as a new nonprofit. We co-sponsored the annual Oklahoma Arts Conference in Tulsa, which had record attendance thanks to the incredible leadership and planning of the Oklahoma Arts Council. (They founded the event five years ago.)

A public art project, a mosaic, was one of the conference activities.

The mosaic will be installed as a public art piece by the Tulsa Arts Commission on a location near the Brady Arts District.
 There were many highlights. For starters, every registered attendee - there were nearly 400 - automatically received a one-year membership in Oklahomans for the Arts. We were able to make a presentation on Wednesday to the Oklahoma Arts Council board and another presentation to the entire conference on Thursday. We received great feedback and support from so many people across the state!

Jim Coles served as a panelist. A planner with the City of Tulsa, he administers the Tulsa Arts Commission.
I think what was most meaningful was talking to arts leaders from places like Lawton, Skiatook and Alva. We could have basked in their presence all day long just listening to them talk about the amazing things taking place in their hometowns. Did you know that Northwestern University has a new arts professor who hails from the Chicago Arts Institute?

Ken Kelsey and Brandice Guerra, art professors, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, Oklahoma
And, the Bluegrass Festival in Skiatook -- they're contemplating a new brand identity that is so awesome and creative! We hope we can write about it soon.

Joel Gavin, Public Relations and  Marketing Director, Oklahoma Arts Council, talks to organizers of the Skiatook Bluegrass Festival during "speed dating" with OAC.
We loved hearing the retired military spouse from Lawton tell us about how after her husband's last tour of duty in Germany, they could retire anywhere they wanted. They decided on Lawton not only because of connections to Fort Sill, but because of the arts!

For a second, we wished we could be part of it all -- from Guymon to Broken Bow and Durant to Bartlesville. Then, we remembered, we can be! By advocating for public funding for the arts we get to help preserve everything these places are and everything they are still becoming.

Oklahomans for the Arts loves Tulsa. What an amazing city!

Man, we love Tulsa's Blue Dome District. Can we live inside this building?
We love you, Blue Dome.

Next year, the Oklahoma Arts Conference will take place in Oklahoma City. We hope to see you there!

Homeward Bound | Turner Turnpike southwest toward Oklahoma City | We always take pictures while driving.