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Community Development: The House the Arts Built

By Kim McCoy, Director of Cultural Development and Public Policy

A thriving environment for community development doesn?t magically appear. It is painstakingly constructed with sweat equity, vision, investment and long-term commitment. Like building a home, once a firm foundation is set, the project takes shape. The walls go up, windows are installed and before long, you have a fully functional house. Naturally, people want to visit and stay around for a while to enjoy your space.

When it comes to building strong, vibrant, and enduring communities the Oklahoma Arts Council understands the importance of including arts and cultural resources as key ingredients. One of the most important things our agency can do is cultivate leaders who know how cultural resources foster successful community development.

In our efforts to create such leaders, the Council organizes programs like Leadership Arts, and supports arts education and lifelong learning opportunities in the arts. Along with our community partners, the Council works to promote the acquisition of creative workforce skills, improve critical analysis, enhance creative problem solving, and cultivate a greater understanding of community aesthetics.

Why are these things important? Because they manifest and harvest capable leaders who understand economic development, quality of life and how "the house the arts built" brings community together.

To that end, the Council is designing a strategy to foster and sustain relationships with city governments to help build stronger Oklahoma communities using the arts. We encourage you to stay tuned during 2012 for updates on how we intend to accomplish this. In the meantime, be prepared to grab a brick and help build the house and stay around to enjoy it!

Click here to learn how we can assist with your community development needs.