Big changes are on the way for both Opening Night and Festival of the Arts.
Beginning in 2024, Festival of the Arts will shift from a six-day event to a four-day event. The change has been sought by Festival artists for decades, as the six-day event made Festival of the Arts one of the longest, most rigorous festivals in the country. The change also allows us to introduce several new and improved programs like Emerging Artists and Fresh Paint.
Emerging Artists will be an artist mentorship program, allowing aspiring artists to partner with a Festival artist to learn the ins and outs of selling their work professionally. A new Emerging Artists section at Festival of the Arts will showcase their incredible creations.
The Fresh Paint Mural Project was an Opening Night staple that is transitioning to Festival of the Arts, where it will reach a much wider audience. This program partners local BIPOC artists with professional muralists who assist them as they create an 8’ x 8’ masterpiece.
This program will be shifting away from Opening Night which, after 37 years, will officially come to an end for Arts Council OKC.
For decades, we’ve partnered with our great volunteers to host one of OKC’s longest-running family-friendly New Year’s Eve events. In recent years, we’ve seen our vibrant downtown welcome countless more NYE events, which is wonderful for our city. Given this phenomenal growth in family-friendly options, we’ve made the decision to close out Opening Night’s historic run and refocus our people and financial resources on the expansion of our broader arts offerings. Moving away from Opening Night allows us to greatly enhance programs like Art Moves and All Access Arts.
Art Moves brings free pop-up art displays and performances to areas across Oklahoma City and will offer a wider variety of locations moving forward.
All Access Arts provides free art education to underserved communities, including classes in schools, recreation centers, and senior living facilities. Our Creative Aging initiative in senior living facilities will be greatly expanded with a new Creative Writing program catered to some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens.
Years of thought, discussion, and data went into making these changes. We’re excited about the future and can’t wait for you to see the new ways we’ll continue to achieve our mission of bringing the arts and the community together.