In 1999 the Tulsa Community established the Fine Arts Task Force to look at how the fine arts are supported and encouraged at Tulsa Public Schools. During the two decades preceding the report from the Fine Arts Task Force there had been significant erosion of fine arts positions and programming at Tulsa Public Schools. The report published in 1999 by the Fine Arts Task Force cited the following concerns with the state of the fine arts in Tulsa Public Schools:
- Few elementary schools had art and music teachers
- Fine arts teachers were often asked to teach both art and music
- Little professional development was available for fine arts teachers
- Fine arts were marginalized and not at the core of learning
Since that time improvements have been made:
- All elementary schools now have music teachers
- All but seven elementary schools have art teachers
- Professional development has included Orff Levels Training, Harwelden Institute, Project CREATES and A+ Schools workshops, Multi-discipline summer fine arts opportunities at Fulton, Kennedy Center workshops, New York Metropolitan Opera workshops and live broadcasts, and monthly JAM meetings entitled “Explorations into Creativity”
- Annual grants have been written and received from the Kennedy Center, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Kravis Foundation, the Kaiser Foundation, the Levit Foundation, the Chapman Foundation and the Assistance League of Tulsa to develop programming and appreciation events which include professional development, $10,000 in grants to teachers for classroom supplies, instruments, art history slides and projectors for all high schools, prizes, scholarships and appreciation banquets.
Whereas there have been significant improvements made, the Fine Arts Community now needs to audit its progress and set goals for future sustainability. It is time once again for the Tulsa Community to convene with the purpose of supporting the fine arts in the schools. Teachers, administrators, members from the fine arts community as well as other significant community leaders from a variety of private and public sectors have been called to participate in the new 2009 fine arts task force to be called “The Fine Arts Advisory Board.”
Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard launched the first meeting in the spring of 2009. Over 100 community members attended the first meeting. At the June meeting four committees were established:
The Office of Fine Arts encourages district and community members to join one of the four committees and help the fine arts programs to thrive and grow. After launching the "Any Given Child" Program, the Fine Arts Advisory Board will be looking at establishing an anual fundraising fine arts event beginning in 2016.
- Research and Advocacy
- Community Connections
- Opportunities for Students and Teachers