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Greater Tulsa Reporter


‘The Jane Heard Clinton Society – Women Aligned For the Arts’ is Announced by Arts Alliance Tulsa

Courtesy Arts Alliance Tulsa

MEMBERSHIP FUN: Jane Heard Clinton Society members recently gathered for a photo. Front row from left: Anna Inhofe, Melanie Tate and Gayle Eby. Second row from left: Marilyn Inhofe-Tucker, Jordan Neal, Taylor Tate, Maddy Kennedy, Martha Cordell, Cassie Reese Tipton and Lesa Smaligo. Third Row from left: Nicci Atchy, Cheryl Waldeck, Victoria McArtor, Anna Norberg, Stacey Sprague, Michelle Hardesty, Suzie Bogle, Karen Kelly and Megan Nesbit.



As a year ends and a new year begins, we tend to become a bit nostalgic. In fact, it was nostalgia that led to the creation of The Jane Heard Clinton Society, in part, anyway.

In researching how Tulsa’s arts scene has flourished over the past decade, it was clear that much of what we have today was started by pioneering women who moved to Oklahoma over a century ago. While the move was usually tied to Tulsa’s rich oil boom, people were not content leaving behind the culture and art they had enjoyed at home, so they organized and the evolution began. In fact, the arts in Tulsa are primarily as vibrant as they are because of the contributions of early 20th Century women philanthropists.

“Honoring the role of women in the arts while finding a way to engage them in the important work of Arts Alliance Tulsa was a priority for us from the day our United Arts Fund was conceived four years ago,” says Todd Cunningham, AAT executive director. “When we discovered Jane Heard Clinton and learned of the significant place she holds in our cultural history, we knew we had found the perfect way to enhance our city’s future while honoring our past.”

As a component of Arts Alliance Tulsa (AAT), the Jane Heard Clinton Society (JHCS) exists to build a community of diverse and inclusive female philanthropists who inspire and encourage other women to strengthen the arts and cultural environment of Tulsa.
“In the late 1950’s I worked on a survey to determine the advisability of having an Arts Council in Tulsa.  One of the long-term goals was to establish a United Way for the Arts.  I hope Arts Alliance Tulsa will achieve that goal,” says Mary Athens, JHCS member and one of many women who has worked to advocate, raise funds, and grow arts in Tulsa.

Inspired by the legacy of historic Tulsa philanthropists, JHCS operates as a funding component of AAT and works to support its mission of providing operational funds to local nonprofit arts and culture member organizations. This honorary group recognizes those accomplishments of the past as well as fuels the continuation of that legacy in the future. Current members span three generations, embodying Tulsa’s past, present, and future.

“Growing up with an avid arts advocate for a mother, it is exciting to launch a society in which the women of Tulsa pave the way for the next generation of arts and culture.  Jane Heard Clinton was referred to as the cultural soul of our city; when many of us are returning home to live, being in a room of women from different backgrounds and generations encourages me for the future of the arts in our city.  This is a beginning of a legacy,” says JHCS member and Arts Alliance Tulsa Development Manager Anna Inhofe.

Jane Carrol Heard accompanied her soon-to-be husband, Dr. Fred Stevens Clinton, to Tulsa in 1897. A young, cultured aristocrat from Georgia, she is largely responsible for bringing arts and culture to what was at the time a “cow town.” A musician herself, Jane was a charter member of the Philbrook Art Center, Tuesday Book Club, and Hyechka Club. She was instrumental in bringing the New York Philharmonic to Tulsa in 1911 and in building Convention Hall (now the Brady Theatre) in 1914.

“As Tulsa’s first outspoken advocate for the arts, Jane Heard Clinton not only provided the inspiring leadership, but was also the work-a-day catalyst for building the arts community’s ongoing support in this city.  I feel it is most fitting that Jane be the one in whose honor this society is named and for whom contributions are made in support of Arts Alliance Tulsa,” says Penny Williams.

Arts Alliance Tulsa is the newest member of a national network of similarly-organized United Arts Funds that function to receive donations from individuals, corporations, and charitable foundations and, after considerable independent review and due diligence, distribute operating funds to 40 local nonprofit arts institutions.

Members of the Jane Heard Clinton Society include Ellen Adelson, Mary Athens, Madison Baird, Stephanie Cameron, Candace Conley, Martha Cordell, Sally Davies, Patty Eaton, Gayle Eby, Judge Kelly Greenough, Michelle Hardesty, Ana Helmerich, Leanne Helmerich, Peggy Helmerich, Ginny Hensley, Marilyn Inhofe-Tucker, Karla Hoose, Karen Keith, Sharon King-Davis, Janet Levit, Victoria McArtor, Anna Inhofe, Rebecca Marks-Jimerson, Hannah Murray, Anna Norberg, Maddy Kennedy, Jackie Price, Margaret Swimmer, Barbara Sylvan, Melanie Tate, Taylor Tate, Kate Thomas, Teresa Valero, Cheryl Waldeck, Megan Whittaker Nesbit, Penny Williams, Dana Wilkes,?Anna Davies,?Katie Jones,?Karen Kelley,?Stacy Sprague,?Michelle Place and?Susan Thomas.

Updated 01-27-2018

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