Monday, October 29, 2012

Meet Bobby

Today, we'll meet the third in our trio of new Oklahoma Arts Institute staff members.  Bobby Lee recently joined our permanent staff as the Public Relations & Programs Specialist.

Bobby is a lifelong resident of Oklahoma City with many years of experience in PR and multimedia production. He is also a visual artist, best known for his figurative woodcuts and linoleum cut prints. Before joining OAI, Bobby managed exhibitions and other operations for JRB Art at The Elms.  Bobby spent two summers at Quartz Mountain as an OSAI counselor and two autumns as an OFAI participant. Soon thereafter, he began designing promotional materials for OAI on a freelance basis. Barricaded in their Oklahoma City office, Bobby refused to leave, and OAI had no choice but to add him to their permanent staff. Bobby has a BA in philosophy with a minor in political science from the University of Central Oklahoma. Among other things, he enjoys playing musical instruments, making movies, reading the news, gardening, and chasing various animals around his backyard. Bobby is an Eagle Scout and can tie knots faster than you can.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bash the Trash: Composing over Decomposing

“Don’t throw that out, I can use it!”

If you’re like me, you have trouble throwing anything away. Boxes, bottles, rubber bands, scraps of wood, you name it: each item is a friend, sharing fond memories of projects gone by and filling us with inspiration of all the things it could someday become. Unfortunately, these companions can sometimes pile up and outstay their welcome, like a slumber party that never ends. TV shows like Hoarders have brought attention to the more extreme examples of this affliction, and have motivated myself and others to thin out our treasures, pare down our dreams, and send them to the landfill.

But for the next week, we can hoard with impunity, knowing that all of our junk will be put to good use in the very near future. “Bash the Trash,” taught by renowned composer and educator John Bertles, will show us how to transform the world’s rubbish into beautiful music.  John will teach us how we can use the science of sound and sustainability to design and craft increasingly complex instruments out of the things we were so smart to keep, and then, of course, write and perform with our new instruments!  

The class is next week at Quartz Mountain, during the second week of our Fall Arts Institute. Learn more and register here:

Here’s a video from John’s website:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meet Chantry

The Oklahoma Arts Institute recently added three new members to the permanent staff.  We've already met Michelle Moseley, Development Specialist and Grantwriter, and today, we're meeting Chantry Banks, Office Manager and Executive Assistant.

Chantry Banks has served OAI as an OSAI acting liaison and counselor coordinator, and he is excited to join the permanent staff. A native of Hammon, Oklahoma, he received his bachelor of arts degree in acting from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and attended the graduate program at The University of Central Florida in Orlando. Chantry’s first role was that of Tom Turkey in Tom Turkey’s Thanksgiving in second grade. He has worked with Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre, City of Maples Repertory Theatre, and Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park. Chantry also has a successful sewing business, creating quilted handbags and hemming clothes for his niece and nephew. An avid gardener, Chantry had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year.

Welcome, Chantry!  Next week, we'll meet Bobby Lee, PR and Programs Specialist.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'm a Lifer

I’m an Oklahoma Arts Institute lifer.  You might be one, too.  For many of us, Quartz Mountain has played a part in almost every stage of our lives.  I attended the Summer Institute as an orchestra student for three years, spent one year as an OSAI counselor, and I’m now in my eighth year as a member of the permanent staff.  I’ve spent twelve summers at Quartz Mountain, meaning I’ve had a longer relationship with the Oklahoma Arts Institute than I’ve had with almost anything or anyone.

But I’m certainly not the only lifer.  My fellow staff member, Stephanie Currey, spent five years as an OSAI student and recently celebrated her tenth anniversary on the permanent staff.  Our President and CEO, Julie Cohen, is the first OSAI alum to lead the organization.  Our Board of Directors includes OSAI alums and parents of alums.  Then there are OSAI section faculty Virginia Sircy and Michael Murray, who have served so much time with OAI they should probably be released for good behavior – 25 years and counting.

Every year, we meet OSAI alumni whose own children are now attending the summer program.  We see summer alums return and take Fall Arts Institute workshops, and fall alums who become OSAI counselors.  And let’s not forget the couples who were bitten by the Quartz Mountain “Love Bug,” like former counselors Ben and Sara Collins, who fell in love at Quartz and later married there.

What role has Quartz Mountain played in your life?  How many OAI programs have you attended?  Share your story in the comments section below.