Responding to Yesterday's Tragedy in Oklahoma

Posted by Mr. Robert Lynch, May 21, 2013

Robert L. Lynch Robert L. Lynch

Dear friends and colleagues,

As we continue to hear more news about the devastating tornado that passed through the town of Moore on the outskirts of Oklahoma City yesterday, we at Americans for the Arts send our thoughts and prayers to the artists, administrators, and all those affected.  When natural disasters strike, there is no way to fully comprehend or process the pain they inflict.  They are arbitrary, and yesterday’s horrific storm makes us feel powerless.  As we try to contact friends and colleagues in the area, and know that many of you are doing the same, we realize that while we can’t stop these tragedies from happening, we can join together to help others pick up the pieces.  Moore and Oklahoma City are resilient, creative communities, and we are here to support them as best we can.  Americans for the Arts staff have been in touch with many of our partners and colleagues in the area, including the immediate-past Chair of our Board of Directors, Ken Fergeson of Altus, OK, and continue to monitor the situation.  We hope to be able to share more information soon, and in the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

Oklahoma, you are in our thoughts today. I have included below some emergency resources to help you start on the long road to recovery, and know that we are always here to answer questions, to help, and to send you our hopes for a brighter tomorrow.

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Shattering Teenaged Observations of My Hometown

Posted by Tiffany Barber, Jul 27, 2011

Stage Center in Oklahoma City

I remember as a teenager vowing to never return to this place. Oklahoma City was by no means 'cool,' and the record-breaking, triple degree summer heat doesn't help. But thanks to the Thunder, a recession-resistant economy, low cost of living, and a booming energy industry, Oklahoma City has become a bonafide destination spot. And its arts sector is responding. What’s even more surprising is that I’m starting to think this place isn’t SO bad.

Local art walks have gained a lot of attention as economic activators and community redevelopment tools, see: downtown Los Angeles. In fact, in researching for this blog post, I read that Columbus, OH, is using art walks as public health stimulators! Oklahoma City's Plaza District employs a similar model.

Though not as large as downtown Los Angeles and without the express interest of improving people’s heart rates, the art galleries and small, independently owned businesses along NW 16th Street have banded together to breathe new life into the once blighted area. Second Fridays are always LIVE on the Plaza, featuring music, rotating exhibitions, special events, and local shopping.

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Oklahoma: A New Frontier for Arts, Culture, & Innovation

Posted by Tiffany Barber, Jul 28, 2011

Price Tower Arts Center

One of the wonderful things I’m re-discovering about Oklahoma is that art, culture, and innovation aren’t just thriving in OKC, but all across the state!

Tulsa, the state's second largest city, is chock full of arts and culture innovators - from the Greenwood Cultural Center to the Philbrook Museum, which is currently exhibiting a collection of Robert Rauschenburg's iconic prints, multiples, and other projects that resulted from his long-term relationship with Los Angeles-based publishing workshop, Gemini G.E.L.

Tulsa’s Living Arts, a unique contemporary art space, organizes an annual New Genre Festival with the support of the Warhol Foundation and the National Performance Network. Going on its 19th year, the New Genre Festival brings provocative contemporary art and performance to Oklahoma and endeavors to challenge the preconceptions around the role of art in culture by supporting artists working in nontraditional media, action-based performance, and unsanctioned guerilla methods.

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