Oklahoma Arts Day at the Capitol 2019
On April 3, some of our 84 Hospitality Group team had the chance to join Oklahomans for the Arts for Arts Day at the Oklahoma Capital. It was an amazing event for arts advocacy in our state.
The program on the second-floor rotunda of the Oklahoma Capitol building opened with voices from the OK City Chorus of Sweet Adelines. Then 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.
Throughout the day there were musicians performing and artists demonstrating their work.
Arts Day attendees 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.
Participants also discussed effective advocacy tactics and messaging before heading upstairs to meet with elected officials.
While eating lunch, 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
Former OFTA Executive Director and now Senator Julia Kirt gave a welcome on the Senate floor to close out the activities for the day. The 84 Hospitality Group plans to join again next year to continue to urge our legislators to increase funding for the Oklahoma Arts Council and Arts Education!