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PARTY ARTY: Annual Oklahoma Arts Day celebration returns to Capitol

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OKLAHOMA CITY – As funding for programs continue to get slashed on both the national and state levels, nothing takes more cuts and bruises like the arts. While politicians think they are just putting a few painters out of work, when looking at the lasting effects of cutting arts funding, so many more are hurt in the long run. It’s one of the reasons Oklahomans for the Arts, a statewide nonprofit that speaks up for public funding for the art and arts education, was founded.

Now more than ever, community leaders from across Oklahoma will come together and rally at the State Capitol from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 12 to celebrate Oklahoma Arts Day, a special event designed to “raise awareness among state legislators of the economic and social impact of state funding for the arts in urban and rural communities,” said Julia Kirt, Executive Director of Oklahomans for the Arts.

“Oklahoma Arts Day is a yearly event at the Capitol where we try to encourage people who care about the arts community to speak to their elected officials about funding the arts,” Kirt said. “It’s an advocacy with visibility that has become something that’s really important at the Capitol, one that makes sure that people who care about the arts are seen there and show up. “

Kicking off with advocacy training for anyone who wants to learn more information about arts-related policies, Oklahomans for the Arts will be working with Let’s Fix This OK, a group that does a lot to facilitate “people feeling comfortable about talking to their legislators about issues they care about.” There will be a kick-off event with performances and legislators will speak about the state of the arts, encouraging advocates and allowing plenty of time for some one-on-one with their elected officials.

“Our goal is for the Oklahoma Arts Council to be funded well,” Kirt said. “As a state agency for the arts, it affects every community in the state. The short term goals are about building connections between constituents and their elected officials, so those elected officials know that there are people who care and are working to make their communities better.”

Kirt said she has seen how the arts has built up many communities across the state, brining pride and helping citizens to connect with each other, but sadly, she’s also seen how funding cuts, especially in rural and marginalized areas tear apart every facet of the community, from numerous job losses to a lack of civic events designed to bring people together.

“The state budget is really a map of the priorities of our state, our shared collected goals, which to us is to continue funding the arts; we chose to do this and it is important to us,” Kirt added. “As various programs get zeroed out from this budget, it shows our state doesn’t prioritize the arts. But there are those who do understand their value and they will make sure that their elected officials know the same.”

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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