This fall, six Altus residents and educators journeyed to Quartz Mountain, where they turned over a new leaf with a weekend of intensive artistic study at the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain (OFAI). This series of weekend retreats for adults is taught by master artists in the literary, visual and performing arts. In conjunction with acceptance, Altus educators received full scholarships to the program.
“This is such a treasure right under our noses,” said Sue Craven, a pre-k teacher at Will Rogers Elementary School. “I want to encourage all teachers to come and refresh their inner artistic sides so our students will benefit from this experience.”
Other area attendees are Altus Public Schools educators Sue Henthorn and Valerie Roberts, Navajo High School teacher Whitney Crosnoe, and Altus residents Lori Ford and Lois Minnick.
“OFAI workshops are the most rewarding experiences I have had,” said Henthorn, a special education teacher. “They teach me new ways to teach in many different ways. I have learned a lot in these workshops.”
OFAI gives Oklahomans a chance to study with nationally renowned artists without traveling far from home. True beginners and professional artists alike can find OFAI workshops that fit their expertise and interests in a variety of classes, including painting, photography, printmaking, writing, dancing, theater, and arts integration. OFAI also offers workshops for core curriculum and special needs educators. The program is held at the Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center in southwest Oklahoma, an ideal retreat for arts immersion.
“I had a great experience at OFAI,” said Roberts, director of public relations for Altus Public Schools. “Our instructors were very knowledgeable and helpful. I was excited to work with them and learn from them. It was also great to spend time with so many artists and educators in an environment where we could collaborate and share ideas and techniques.”
Oklahoma public school educators automatically receive full scholarships to attend OFAI, including tuition, room and board. Altus-area educators were sponsored by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Raymond and Bessie Kravis Foundation, and Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, with additional support from the Oklahoma Arts Council.
“I am truly grateful for all the benefactors that support teachers with full scholarships to attend OFAI,” said Crosnoe, an art teacher. “OFAI changes my life every time I come.”
This summer, Oklahoma high school students can study with the nation’s top artists at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, held June 15 – 30. Auditions for this prestigious program begin in January at locations across the state, and all accepted students automatically receive a full scholarship to the program, worth over $3,000. More information is available at www.oaiquartz.org.
The Oklahoma Arts Institute is a private, non-profit organization developed in 1977, with a mission to provide exceptional multidisciplinary arts experiences that develop individual talent and inspire a lifelong passion for the arts. OAI administers a program for talented Oklahoma youth every June and a series of continuing education workshops for adults every fall.