Members of the 2012 class of Leadership Arts recently completed their second of four spring sessions during a two-day visit to Norman. The session focused on the arts' role in economic development and included a panel of Norman community and civic leaders who spoke about the impact of the arts on their downtown district.
Topics of the panel discussion included the benefits of partnerships, overcoming resistance to change and collaboration, trying new things (don't be afraid to "fall forward"), and Norman's local hotel tax - which provides a dedicated funding source to the arts.
The panel included Anthony Francisco from the City of Norman, Erin Gavaghan of the Norman Arts Coucnil, Richard McKown - a local property developer, and Stefanie Brickman from the Norman CVB.
Property developer Richard McKown said, "An artist's job is to be 20 years ahead of the rest of society (as urban pioneers)." Citing Paducah, Kentucky as a model, McKown said a city can remove barriers like ordinances and costs to encourage artists to revitalize and ultimately increase the value of real estate in dilapidated areas.
Members of Leadership Arts tour the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art in Norman