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Greater Tulsa Reporter


Arts Alliance Tulsa to Support Local Arts


COMMUNITY BACKING: Todd Cunningham, left, executive director of Arts Alliance Tulsa, and Phil Lakin, CEO of Tulsa Community Foundation, speak at an Oct. 6 press conference, where Lakin announced the formation of Arts Alliance Tulsa, which will provide funding and audience development support for Tulsa’s cultural assets.


EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers


On Oct. 6, representatives from 45 local nonprofit arts organizations joined Phil Lakin, CEO of Tulsa Community Foundation, in launching Arts Alliance Tulsa, a new endeavor to provide funding and audience development support for the community’s cultural assets.

The press conference took place at Fly Loft, 117 N. Boston, in downtown Tulsa.
Lakin said that the need for an arts alliance has been discussed for at least two decades and that the subject came to a point of action in the spring of 2014 when the city’s budget did not provide for typical funding for some previously-funded arts programs. While the city restored funding for that year, Lakin and Councilor G.T. Bynum promised arts entities that a solution would be found. Lakin took a proposal to Tulsa Community Foundation’s board in November 2014, and TCF agreed to incubate, organize and oversee finances and activities for AAT.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation will also provide seed money for the organization’s first three years.

“AAT will be of great value to so many people like me,” said Lakin. “I don’t know all the needs of our quality arts and cultural groups, but I know that I want to support them and make opportunities available to our kids and adults not only for observing but also for performing. My wife and I will be among the first to contribute to AAT, and I know many others will join us and will watch AAT assist numerous nonprofits and individuals.”

AAT joins a national network of similarly-organized arts alliances that function to receive funds from individuals, corporations and charitable foundations and, after considerable independent review and due diligence, distribute to local arts institutions and provide support to the cultural community.

Arts organizations can access the grant application online.

Applications are only good for one year, so arts organizations must reapply yearly to receive funding. Additionally, the funding that AAT provides will focus on supporting arts organizations’ operating funds.

AAT’s board seeks to raise money to provide ongoing support to arts groups by consolidating cultural fundraising efforts into a single organization and use its deep and diverse knowledge of the cultural community to disperse the funds broadly and strategically.

It will hold a funding campaign every spring to raise money.
“Our goal is to have the most economic impact on Tulsa and the arts here,” said Todd Cunningham, AAT executive director.

Updated 10-26-2015

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