The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Garfield County 2011

March 19, 2011

Sharing the vision

Supporters of Enid Arts District say they will continue to advocate for the project

ENID — Although progress toward getting a portion of the city dedicated as an arts district is slow, those who share the vision say they will keep working.

“My message to everyone is that we’re not going away,” said Julie Baird, executive director of Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse and a member of Enid Arts Council. “Enid has too much to offer to not have an arts district.”

Baird points to the number of museums, performance venues and art galleries in the community and to the festivals, art shows, Chatauquas, theater presentations, music performances and other exhibitions of arts that take place in Enid.

“We’re not sure that everybody in our community knows what we have to offer,” Baird said.

The effort to get a designated arts district in Enid began after the 2008 statewide arts conference was held here, Baird said. All of the arts entities of Enid worked together for the conference. Then a grassroots movement to obtain a designated arts district took shape, she said. About 150 people have said they want to be part of making that vision a reality.

One thing that has come out of the effort is the publication of a brochure, “The Arts and Culture of Enid, OK,” funded by Enid Arts Council and Enid Convention and Visitors Bureau.

However, city officials have not taken up the cause. The Enid Renaissance downtown renovation project does not include a designated arts district, and the city has not agreed to spend money on development of an arts district.

Funding is the next challenge, Baird said.

Those wanting to see a designated arts district have not yet drawn up a specific map of the proposed district, but it will be as inclusive as possible, Baird said.

“By far the greatest concentration of arts is downtown,” Baird said. “I think the arts district has designated itself.”

She believes the logical next step is to get the city involved.

Arts entice travel and tourism dollars to a community, Baird said. People come to see galleries, festivals and the like, and while here they dine at local restaurants and stay at hotels.

“It adds to the economic impact of the community,” Baird said.

But it’s not as simple as marking an area on a map. Baird said an arts district needs artists, museums, loft housing, distinctive dining and public art.

“To me, an arts district is a collaborative effort,” Baird said.

The problem of the moment is all the people involved are volunteers who have other jobs that must come first, Baird said.

Text Only
Garfield County 2011
  • Cover.jpg Garfield County 2011

    One of the attributes of living in Enid and Northwest Oklahoma is the abundant pride residents have in its people, land and businesses. The 2011 News & Eagle Progress edition highlights these areas and pays tribute to all of those who make our region shine 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    March 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Woodring_Barnstormers_BV.jpg Bottom line: Business is up

    The airport has seen increased fuel sales and construction in the past year, and there is more to come, according to Dan Ohnesorge, airport director.

    March 19, 2011 2 Photos

  • Statues_Doughboy_BV.jpg Monuments stand to honor Enid’s past

    Errol Wofford, tour guide for Chisholm Trail Coalition, talks to visitors each month from April to October about the statues and other places of historical significance around downtown Enid as part of the organization’s walking tour.

    March 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • VanceConstruction_3_BV.jpg Construction zone

    For all practical purposes, construction at what is now Vance Air Force Base never has stopped.

    March 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • TriangleInsurance_1_BV.jpg Pushing the envelope

    “We have really quality employees. We give unparalleled service. Our tag line is, ‘Our customers know the difference.’ — John Berg, president and CEO of Triangle Insurance

    March 19, 2011 2 Photos

  • Demolished_1_BV.jpg Re-inventing downtown Enid

    The plan to reinvent downtown Enid as a destination area includes building a new event center and renovating Convention Hall.

    March 19, 2011 2 Photos

  • Enid_Arts_1_BH.jpg Sharing the vision

    “Enid has too much to offer to not have an arts district.” — Julie Baird, executive director of Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse and a member of Enid Arts Council

    March 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Expo_Center_1_BH.jpg Expo Center makes an impact

    “The Expo Center has a great economic impact on the area.” — Steve Barnes, Expo Center general manager

    March 19, 2011 4 Photos

  • Waukomis_Park_BV.jpg ‘Pride in their community’

    Over the past year or so, Waukomis has developed several projects to improve the aesthetic look of the town of 1,286 residents.

    March 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • EnidCensus_1_BV.jpg Census brings good news and bad

    Nine cities and towns in Garfield County saw growth, while four saw declining population in the past decade.

    March 19, 2011 1 Photo