Oklahoma Arts Day at the Capitol 2019
The 2019 Oklahoma Arts Day at the Capitol on April 3 was an amazing event for arts advocacy in our state. Click here to learn more about Oklahomans for the Arts and how the arts benefit all Oklahomans. We are grateful to these organizational partners and sponsors for helping to make this event possible: Norman Arts Council, Oklahoma City Arts Council, Oklahoma Museums Association, Route 66 Alliance, and Sonic. Additionally, we are incredibly thankful to our volunteers who helped us all day. We could not have done this without all of you!
Advocacy Training Highlights
Arts Day attendees once again had the opportunity to attend advocacy training, which featured presentations from OFTA legislation liaison Jerrod Shouse as well as Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Rebecca Fine.
Both stressed the importance of individuals meeting with elected officials to ask for support of the state’s investment in the Oklahoma Arts Council and for additional funding for arts education.
According to the State Department of Education, the number of art and music classes offered in Oklahoma has fallen even as enrollment climbed. Last year, Oklahoma had 1,110 fewer art and music classes than four years prior, leaving nearly one out of every three students without access to fine arts classes.
Fine, an education policy analyst, said that access to arts classes in rural districts was lower than in urban areas and that programs had been hard to maintain as state funding for the Arts Council and other organizations had been slashed in recent years. Read more of her report on fine arts education in Oklahoma here.
Participants also discussed effective advocacy tactics and messaging before heading upstairs to meet with elected officials.
Our program on the second floor rotunda of the Oklahoma Capitol building opened with voices from the OK City Chorus of Sweet Adelines. Then our Interim Executive Director, Danielle Ezell, welcomed everyone to Arts Day 2019 and invited several legislators to speak including: Rep. Ranson, Rep. West and Rep. Hasenback. They shared stories of how the arts and culture have impacted their lives and their districts in Oklahoma.
Celebrating with the arts & music
Throughout the day we had musicians performing and artists demonstrating their work. We are so thankful to be able to feature so many talented artists and performers from Oklahoma. Check below for ways to find and follow the work of these artists & performers:
Sarah Day-Short: www.sarahdayshortart.com/, Facebook- @sarahdayshortart, Instagram- @sarahdayshortart
OK City Chorus of Sweet Adelines: www.okcity.org/
CRUSA String Quartet
Virginia Sitzes: www.virginiasitzes.com/, Instagram- @virginiasitzes
Emma Difani: www.emmadifani.com
Irmgard Geul: www.irmgardgeul.com, Facebook- @IrmgardGeulArtist, Instagram- @irmgardgeul, Twitter- @IrmgardGeul
Wood Willow: Social Media- @woodwillowmusic
Lunch with Legislators
While eating delicious BBQ, advocates had a chance to talk with their legislators about the arts in Oklahoma. Oklahomans for the Arts encouraged constituents to advocate for all Oklahomans to have access to the arts by increasing funding to the Oklahoma Arts Council and Arts Education. These two fact sheets helped us tell our story with data to back it up: Arts Education and Oklahoma Arts Council.
Greeting on the Senate Floor
Former OFTA Executive Director and now Senator Julia Kirt gave a welcome on the Senate floor to close out the activities for the day. Check out more photos from the event below (all photos from JD Merryweather and Kristen Swartley). Join us next year to continue to urge our legislators to increase funding for the Oklahoma Arts Council and Arts Education!