50 STORIES 50 YEARS: SUGAR FREE ALLSTARS
The Grammy-featured, family funk super duo Sugar Free Allstars educates and performs in communities across the state. Their work cultivates artistic discernment in students and economic vitality in central Oklahoma.
Member Chris Wise had this to say about the importance of public funding.
“We founded and organized a family music festival in OKC called Wiggle Out Loud that, in addition to performances by kids/family musical oriented acts, has a strong emphasis on healthy lifestyles through exercise, healthy food choices, and the arts. The Oklahoma Art Council helped to fund this free event in it’s second year, which had an estimated attendance of 7,000 people.
“It provided a community gathering place for families to enjoy themselves all day while patronizing local businesses such as food trucks serving healthier food options and craft vendors offering family friendly wares.”
The positive economic effects of the Wiggle Out Loud festival are clear: sellers of food and other wares have the opportunity to do business with the thousands who attend. Wise said Wiggle Out Loud also provide direct social benefits “by providing an annual family friendly community event that continues to grow each year.
“Further budget cuts to OAC would mean less grant money available to help fund this increasingly important family community event that is quickly becoming one of the most highly anticipated festivals of the year.”
The Sugar Free Allstars are also part of the Oklahoma Arts Council’s Performing Arts Corp.
Wise said, “Performing Arts Corp allows schools to apply for a grant to bring us in to do two music related workshops plus a school wide concert. We have done these visits in many small communities that have little exposure to the arts and have seen how excited the students get to be able to experience a live concert, many for the first time ever.”
Additionally, Wise said, “The Performing Arts Corp grants have provided positive effects in the communities we visit by encouraging students… by exposing them to and teaching them about higher quality music and its influence on what they listen to today.
“As budget cuts to the OAC continue it will definitely have an affect on many schools’ capacity to bring us in via the Performing Arts Corp grant. In turn this will greatly hinder the ability of the smaller communities we visit to expose their students to high quality arts experiences that help fulfill Oklahoma Academic Standards requirements.”
This story celebrates 50 years of the Oklahoma Arts Council and how the state’s investments have positive ripple effects on communities across Oklahoma. See other stories or follow this link for more information.