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Collaboration as Art Form

Central Oklahoma’s arts community is stronger and more dynamic than ever before – thanks in large part to collaboration.  It is not simply a buzzword.  In business, medicine, education and the arts, collaboration is essential for sustainability, growth and success. Collaboration among our arts groups has resulted in a local arts scape that produces excellent work, makes art accessible and available to more members of the community, and transports the arts to hundreds of thousands of school-aged children year-round.

Specifically, collaboration has helped bring contemporary visual art to rural areas.  It has helped elevate the quality of live performance.  And it has provided disadvantaged youth transformative experiences through the arts. There are countless examples showcasing collaboration among local arts groups, but here are just a few highlights.

This summer, with seed funding from Allied Arts, City Arts Center and Oklahoma City Ballet partnered with New View Oklahoma to hold a week-long camp enabling 30 blind and visually impaired youth the opportunity to explore their creativity with clay, experience unlimited movement through dance and express themselves with drama.  Only through this partnership between arts and non-arts groups did these underserved youth receive an experience of a lifetime.

The trio of Canterbury Choral Society, Oklahoma City Ballet and Oklahoma City Philharmonic illustrates a collaboration enhancing the quality of live performance.  In March 2011, the three groups will join artistic forces for a world premiere production of Mozart’s Requiem.  The collaborative performance will feature original choreography by Robert Mills, Oklahoma City Ballet artistic director, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s well-known Requiem Mass in D minor conducted by Canterbury artistic director Dr. Randi Von Ellefson.

Behind the scenes, arts groups collaborate in scheduling their seasons, sharing best practices and lessons learned, and convening on a quarterly basis at Allied Arts to discuss challenges facing the arts community and identify solutions.

The greatest collaboration may exist between the arts and the community itself.  Without far-reaching support from local businesses, civic leaders and individuals from all walks of life, arts groups, including Allied Arts, would be hard-pressed to continue enlightening, enriching and educating our community through the arts.

Deborah McAuliffe Senner is the President / CEO of Allied Arts, Oklahoma’s only United Arts Fund. Allied Arts raises awareness of the arts, promotes arts education and mobilizes support for arts and cultural organizations in Central Oklahoma. A single donation to Allied Arts reaches 20 different arts organizations, each committed to making the arts accessible to all.

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