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FULLY FUNDED: Gourmet school cafeteria eats raise money for Eugene Field’s arts program

Photo courtesy Current Studio.
Supporting the Eugene Field Elementary arts via a fundraiser.
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OKLAHOMA CITY—When Kelsey Karper and Romy Owens founded Current Studio, an experimental art-space in the Classen Ten-Penn neighborhood, one of their first things they did was plug themselves into their new community to see what challenges were facing the area and figure out, hopefully, how they could help.

Upon joining Eugene Field’s Community Action Board, they were shocked to learn that due to budget cuts, the school had been recently forced to get rid of their visual arts programs.

“They did have a visual arts program prior to the cuts, so they had this classroom just sitting there, being unused,” Karper said. “We knew that this is something we could respond to in some way so we started formulating a plan as to how to exactly respond to this need. So we held the first FundED School Cafeteria-themed dinner last November and ended up raising a little over $4,000, and that was combined with some grants the Oklahoma Arts Council and Allied Arts, as well as some private donations; it all helped to pay for an arts program through Spring 2017.”

Providing arts classes for grades 2nd through 6th, most of the proceeds raised from FundED go to help bring in guest teacher-artists, paying them for their time, as well that of purchasing supplies and taking the kids on field trips to places like Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

“It was a nice way for us to create an arts experience for the students,” Karper said. “I think the format really allowed us to be more experimental and creative with the curriculum because we’re bringing in several artists from the community and I think the students really enjoyed the interaction with professional artists.”

With the program a rousing success, Current Studio will once again be sponsoring a second annual FundED School Cafeteria Dinner fundraiser in order to secure arts funding for the 2017-18 school year.

Teaming with Chef Ryan Parrot to concoct new takes on classic school cafeteria favorites, the special dinner will be held Monday, July 17th at 6 p.m. at Eugene Field Elementary, 1515 N. Klein.

Photo courtesy Current Studio.

Tickets are $35 per person or $60 a couple. Local artists are also contributing postcard-sized artworks, with 100 percent of art sales benefitting the program.

“It’s probably the best school cafeteria meal anyone has ever been served,” Karper said. “At the event last year there was a lot of nostalgia and reminiscing as everyone was going through the cafeteria line, being served on these plastic trays and sitting down at these tables with everyone else…there was a lot of people talking about their own experiences in school cafeterias and we just had really good time and, of course, enjoyed the meal.”

Karper added that even though doesn’t have children and doesn’t plan to have any, she believes that by living in a community with these children, it’s hers and everyone’s responsibility to make sure these “future leaders and decision makers” have a well-rounded education experience, one that includes time well-spent in the arts.

“On a personal level, I was one of those kids that didn’t connect with sports, so the arts were where I found a place to fit in and an outlet to discover myself and express myself in a way that I didn’t really find in other places,” Karper said. “There are a lot of other kids out there who feel the same way and I personally want to make sure they have the best education they can possibly get. I think that now, while we’re facing this crisis in our budget, it’s more important than ever that we all contribute whatever and however we can for the overall health or our community, and schools are a critical piece of that.”

More information is available at elementary.

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Louis Fowler

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

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