LONE WOLF — Years of hard work and dedication have paid off for Navajo High School student Julia Pelletier, who has earned a spot at the prestigious Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain or OSAI held June 11-26, now in its 40th year. Pelletier is studying chorus with nationally renowned faculty artists from across the U.S. All students receive full scholarships to attend the program.
“The work of the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute has been part of Oklahoma’s cultural landscape for four decades,” said Joy Hofmeister, state superintendent of Public Instruction. “It may be even more critical than ever in a year like 2016, when a difficult budget environment has eliminated fine arts classes in many schools around the state. Art enriches life, and programs like OSAI are an inspiration to Oklahoma young people and their families.”
At OSAI, Oklahoma high school students spend at least six hours a day studying one of nine artistic disciplines in the literary, visual and performing arts. In the evenings, they attend a variety of performances, lectures, and demonstrations that give them an appreciation of the arts outside of their chosen discipline. Students from different disciplines and backgrounds study, reside and eat meals together. With so many highly motivated and gifted students working together in close quarters, lifelong friendships and career-enhancing collaborations often develop.
“I am really excited to come back to OSAI this summer,” Pelletier said. “Last year was an amazing experience I will never forget and I don’t expect this year to disappoint. This year is especially exciting as I get to finally perform a piece that I have loved for years. I look forward to returning to a place where everyone is focused and committed to making their art form beautiful.”
Since its inception, many famous artists have taught at the program. Former faculty artists include recipients of the Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards. This year’s institute boasts a stellar faculty, including presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco and internationally renowned photographer Kurt Markus. Additionally, OSAI alumnus Timothy Long has returned to conduct the 2016 Institute Orchestra.
Quartz Mountain Nature Park has been the home of institute programs since its second year in 1978. The secluded locale makes it an ideal location for arts immersion. Set between Lake Altus-Lugert and the rocky Quartz Mountains, the Arts and Conference Center boasts a 700-seat performing arts center, versatile studio pavilions and more. Students and faculty draw inspiration from the beautiful natural setting.
Pelletier was selected to attend OSAI through competitive statewide auditions, with nearly 1,000 students auditioning for just 273 spots. Pelletier’s scholarship is provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the following donors: Helon Whiteside LaGree Scholarship Fund and the Richard W. Moore Memorial Scholars Fund. Additional program support is provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, Sharna and Irvin Frank Foundation, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Zarrow Foundations, and SONIC, America’s Drive-In.
OSAI culminates in Onstage Weekend — Friday and Saturday. The weekend consists of concerts, performances, film screenings and gallery exhibitions where all OSAI students have a chance to present their work. All Onstage events are free and open to the public and a performance schedule is available at oaiquartz.org or call 405-605-7500.