A child’s testimonial, brief performances from master professional artists, and announcement of an ambitious goal to raise resources to build local culture were highlights at the kickoff event to support the Oklahoma City area’s leading arts support organization.
Allied Arts launched its 2011 fundraising campaign with a goal to raise over $3 million, more money than ever before, to benefit the arts in Central Oklahoma. Organizers announced the campaign had begun with a dramatic surge of more than $1 million in start-up gifts.
Campaign co-chairs, Ed Martin, chairman of the board, Ackerman McQueen, and Brenda McDaniel, community volunteer, will lead the charge to reach the historic goal and provide elevated support to Allied Arts’ 20 member arts agencies.
“Each year nearly two million people experience the arts through Allied Arts’ member organizations,” said McDaniel. “By donating to Allied Arts, you’re helping to make a variety of arts accessible to everyone, which contributes to higher academic achievement for our children, a higher quality of living for our residents and a stronger economic environment for our communities. As Oklahoma City continues to grow, we want to see the support for our local arts grow as well.”
Before introducing McDaniel and Martin to the crowd of 300 arts supporters, Ann Johnstone, Allied Arts Board Chair, described the practical effect of Allied Arts programs aimed at young people, noting that the organization impacted the lives of 229,000 students in the past year. Inalise Harris, a student at Arbor Grove Elementary in Putnam City school system, described the joy experienced when she received a school kit that allowed her to create her own paintings past year.
The Campaign Kick-Off event, held at the Meinders Hall of Mirrors in the Civic Center, also served as a celebration of Allied Arts’ 40th anniversary, featuring appearances from Allied Arts member agencies – the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Oklahoma Children’s Theatre, the Oklahoma City Ballet and Canterbury Choral Society.
Before the program launching this year’s drive, members of the Philharmonic performed. They were followed by the children and a ballerina. Eighteen members of the Choral Society presented two stirring tunes, to the delight of attendees. They led off with “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the theatrical hymn from the Rogers and Hammerstein masterpiece, “Carousel.” They closed the series of performances with “Another Opening,” extending best wishes for a successful fundraising cycle.
Providing refreshments and fine food for the gala was The Catering Connection.
Since 1971, Allied Arts has mobilized more than $43 million to ensure a vibrant, sustainable arts community. Over the span of four decades, Allied Arts has partnered with hundreds of leading local businesses and community organizations, as well as thousands of committed individuals to help meet the diverse needs of the arts and cultural community.
“For 40 years, the ultimate goal of Allied Arts has been to make the arts accessible to all, and the funds raised during our annual campaigns help to make that possible,” said Deborah McAuliffe Senner, president and CEO of Allied Arts. Senner writes a monthly arts column for The City Sentinel.
In addition to raising critical funds for the arts, the annual campaign also honors individuals for their local leadership and remarkable contributions to the arts community. This year, Allied Arts recognized LaDonna and Herman Meinders as honorary campaign chairs. In this role, the Meinders will lend their business expertise and community knowledge to help guide campaign efforts.
“On a personal level, the arts have had a positive impact on LaDonna and me. We have seen the way the arts can transform families and communities, and we feel it is critical to support our local arts organizations,” said Herman Meinders. “The annual Allied Arts fundraising campaign gives everyone an opportunity to participate in supporting the arts in central Oklahoma.”
The couple are known for involvement in many worthy causes and passionate commitment to the community and people of Oklahoma City
Allied Arts offers numerous ways to contribute to the campaign. Individuals who donate $50 or more can receive the OKCityCard, a premier entertainment discount card offering year-round savings at more than 200 arts events and activities, as well as top local retail and restaurant locations. Corporations can make organizational gifts and host workplace giving meetings, offering their employees a chance to pledge donations from their offices.
The past 10 days were particularly busy for Allied Arts and member organizations, as the group rolled out for journalists and advertising representatives in print and broadcast media a series of new advertisements designed to draw attention and support to the arts during the coming months. The “umbrella” theme of the new drive is evocative of varied artistic masterpieces from around the world.
Major sponsors of the campaign include Howard Brothers Florist, Kimray, Devon, Chesapeake, The Oklahoman, and the Chickasaw Nation. Many news organizations, including The City Sentinel, are participating in the effort to support arts in the city area.
About Allied Arts
As Oklahoma’s only United Arts Fund, Allied Arts works to broaden support for the arts by raising financial support for the arts and related organizations, encouraging participation and attendance, advocating arts education, and promoting excellence in the arts and arts management. Founded in 1971, the organization has raised more than $43 million to advance the arts in Central Oklahoma.
NOTE: Senior Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.