By RENEE FITE
Over the past several years, Tahlequah has been gaining recognition as an arts community. Now, two residents have been selected for a program that will help foster artistic development here.
Doug Moore, Planning and Development director for the city of Tahlequah, and photographer and Northeastern State University Library Archivist Brenda Bradford, are among 32 people from 22 communities selected for the 2013 Oklahoma Arts Council Leadership Arts class.
The two received acceptance letters in January. They will receive in-depth instruction on how to use local arts and cultural resources for economic development, improved education, and enhanced quality of life.
“I am very thankful and appreciative to have been selected and to have the opportunity to participate in this year’s program,” Moore said.
Bradford read about the program online.
“I felt the information I would receive from this program would be invaluable by providing quality instruction, information, resources and networking,” Bradford said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for community involvement, and being part of helping to bring arts to our local communities.”
Photography is her favorite way of being creative. She also enjoys silkscreen, beadwork, creating graphics and turning older photographs into art pieces.
“I firmly believe art and experiences with art provide a sense of wonder,” said Bradford. “Art provides a window of hope and a door of opportunity; it invites exploration, education and shares some of the beauty in our world.”
The pair was selected from a pool of applicants and group members with a wide range of backgrounds that include business owners, developers, civic leaders, chamber of commerce and convention/visitor bureau officials, nonprofit art organization art directors, artists, and educators, Moore said.
“For me, this is a great opportunity to learn more about how to work with and further develop our arts community in ways that will benefit our quality of life and increase economic development opportunities in Tahlequah,” said Moore. “By Brenda and I participating in this year’s program, we will help to prove Tahlequah’s continuing commitment to be a major arts community and hub within the state of Oklahoma.”
Bradford wanted to participate because she loves art and her community.
“I want to give back. I believe this is the best way I can help advocate for my community,” she said.
“Art connects with people on a personal level and provides opportunities, positive experiences and encourages education. Also, it will help to promote tourism and has a positive impact on the local economy.”
Bradford appreciates all the information she’s learning.
“I’m gaining knowledge on how to build a strong network to promote the arts, a clear understanding of what art offers in terms of helping our quality of life, how it improves our sense of pride in our community, the economic impact, knowledge of resources to help promote the arts, and understanding how to best utilize those resources, ” she said.
The subjects being taught tie directly back to the projects Moore is working on, including the city’s comprehensive plan and Greenway of the Cherokee Ozarks.
The session are provided free by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the official state agency for the support and development of the arts in Oklahoma.
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