The Altus students were among 271 students selected through competitive statewide auditions from a pool of more than 1,100 applicants. The students' attendance is supported in part by the Oklahoma Arts Institute Fund Drive, a grassroots fundraising campaign in Altus that raises on average over $25,000 per year.
Scott Johnson will study acting at OSAI, Christin Fairchild, Connor Long, and Andrew Hamilton will study choral music, and Hanul Park will perform with the orchestra. Dalton Latham was accepted as a drawing/painting alternate. All students attend Altus High School. Bailey Pelletier, a Navajo High School student from Blair, will also study choral music.
"With so many talented applicants, each student selected should be very proud of his or her accomplishment," said Emily Clinton, OAI program director. "With seven students selected from Altus in particular, this is a real testament to the value of the arts in the community as well as the exceptional talent cultivated there."
In conjunction with acceptance, selected students receive full scholarships to the program worth over $2,500 each. Scholarships and program funding are provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Oklahoma Arts Council, and various foundations, corporations and individuals, including donations provided by local donors during the OAI Fund Drive.
The Fund Drive kicked off Tuesday, April 19 with a volunteer rally at the Altus Public Library. The annual event raises thousands each year with the help of dozens of local volunteers. Last year, nearly 300 Altus-area donors contributed to the drive, which raised over $26,000. Over the next two weeks, area residents can expect to be contacted by drive coordinators Nancy Cox, Jeff Greenlee, and Mary Kruska, or by one of the many volunteers. Donors can also contribute online at www.oaiquartz.org.
“The Altus Fund Drive is by far our largest and most successful fundraising event," said Shana Rutz, OAI development director. "We love that it is a community effort, and the donors and volunteers who support OAI can drive right up the road to see firsthand the incredible opportunity they are helping to provide for Oklahoma’s talented young artists. We are truly grateful for the hundreds of supporters in southwestern Oklahoma who are dedicated to our programs and to the arts in our state.”
The Fund Drive will conclude Tuesday, May 3 with a reception to honor the drive volunteers and introduce the 2011 OSAI students from Altus. A few weeks later, faculty artists from across the U.S. and students from across the state will gather at Quartz Mountain for the 2011 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. The program runs from June 11 – 26 and features a variety of free public performances and exhibitions in the literary, visual, and performing arts. OSAI faculty artists have included winners of the Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize. This year's faculty highlights include former New York City Ballet principle dancer Deanna McBrearty and visual artist Richard Hull from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Faculty bios and the performance schedule will be available soon 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.