Official News Release to Statewide Media

For Immediate Release, April 18, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY — — Oklahomans for the Arts, the state’s flagship arts advocacy organization, will host Arts Day at the Oklahoma Capitol May 7. More than 40 arts and cultural organizations from across Oklahoma will host exhibits in the 4th Floor Rotunda in a show of support and appreciation of the Oklahoma Arts Council and the arts funding legislators provide. In addition, arts advocates from across the state will meet with legislators. Last year, more than 400 people from every corner of the state attended the event.

A New Kick-Off Event

This year, a new kick-off event will energize advocates and legislators. The kick-off will begin at 9 a.m. It will include statements and policy updates from Busby and Kirt as well as special introductions of legislators and arts leaders by Jim Tolbert, Chairman, Oklahomans for the Arts.

It has never been more important for citizens to advocate for arts funding,” said James Tolbert, OFTA Chair. “In recent years, arts and cultural funding has faced unprecedented

attacks in the legislature. The Oklahoma Arts Council has been among the top agencies targeted for the greatest percentage of cuts even though their appropriation generates an impressive return on investment.

 “Through Arts Day at the Capitol, we hope to inform lawmakers about the value of public funding for the arts and how it improves the quality of life in their communities.”

Two Oklahoma arts leaders will serve as co-chairs of Arts Day at the Oklahoma Capitol. Ken Busby, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa and Julia Kirt, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition will spearhead the third-annual advocacy event, May 7. It is the first time co- chairs have been named to the event.

“I’m excited to be co-chairing Arts Day at the Capitol with Julia Kirt,” said Busby.  “The arts contribute to the cultural life of every community across our state.  Reminding people of the important role the arts play in economic vitality and educational opportunities is essential.”

Julia Kirt and Ken Busby

Julia Kirt and Ken Busby

Arts Day at the Capitol runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Following the event, a reception will be held for arts advocates and legislators at the JRB Art Gallery in the Paseo. For more information, visit the Oklahomans for the Arts Facebook page, www.facebook.com/OklahomansfortheArts.

About Oklahoma Arts Council Funding

More than 80 percent of the Oklahoma Arts Council’s appropriation is returned to Oklahoma communities every year through matching grants to arts organizations and schools. The remaining 20 percent is invested in programs that advance Oklahoma art and culture industry. This includes the popular Leadership Arts program, an intensive training and education program that is equipping local arts leaders for competition and innovation.

Board of Directors, Oklahomans for the Arts

James R. Tolbert III, Chair (Oklahoma City); Governor Bill Anoatubby (Chickasaw Nation); Billie Barnett (Tulsa); Joy Reed Belt (Oklahoma City) Bill Cameron (Oklahoma City); Ryan Cunningham (Oklahoma City); Charlie Daniels (Bartlesville); Nance Diamond (Shawnee); C. Kendric Fergeson (Altus); Linda Edmondson (Oklahoma City); Linda Frazier (Tulsa); Ann Graves (Tulsa); Will Jones (Deer Creek); Michael E. Joseph (Oklahoma City); P. Vincent LoVoi (Tulsa); Melvin Moran (Seminole); Desmond Mason (Oklahoma City); Roxana Lorton (Tulsa); Larry Nichols (Oklahoma City); Bob Ross (Oklahoma City); Suzanne Tate (Oklahoma City); William Von Glahn (Tulsa); Dr. Peggy Wisdom (Alva).

Arts Day Video, 2012-2013

Post Script: Kirt was recently named the new executive director of Oklahomans for the Arts to replace outgoing director Jennifer James. We will be distributing an official news release about this just prior to Arts Day. Stay tuned for information about this next chapterof leadership for OFTA!