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Oklahoma Creative Communities

Our Vision of Success

The vision of the Oklahoma Creative Communities initiative is to ensure that communities are supported in their efforts to implement local solutions to local challenges, and that available resources outside of the community are responsive to local needs.

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Our Commitment

Our Contribution

Creative Oklahoma will be responsive to the needs of Creative Communities by working diligently to bring in additional resources to support their efforts to take ideas to action. This includes, but is not limited to, a creative problem solving tool, a facilitator, access to requested training and education opportunities, peer learning, venues for sharing experiences, support for grant-seeking and access to additional technical expertise as needed.

Short-Term and Intermediate Outcomes

  • Various projects and stakeholders are coming together for a shared purpose and vision through the OCC process
  • Participants recognize their ability to be part of the solution
  • Participants who have not previously worked well together are doing so as they work through the OCC process
  • Resources from outside of the communities are engaging in local projects thereby expanding the ecosystem within which they operate and enhancing their likelihood of success
  • Challenges for which solutions and action have long been dormant or at an impasse are now progressing forward

Project Descriptions

Oklahoma Creative Community - Altus


Altus OCC has chosen to engage the community in a destination branding process that will enhance marketing and tourism efforts. The process will begin with a community meeting to discuss the overall purpose of the project, expected outcomes and ways to become engaged in the process.

Creative Oklahoma will assist in facilitating focus groups and administering interviews and surveys to gather broad-based input on the Altus brand and it’s unique positioning relative to other communities.

Once the branding process is complete, the Oklahoma Department of Tourism will assist with development and implementation of marketing strategies to promote increased tourism and local spending in Altus.

Oklahoma Creative Community - Durant


A small pocket park is being designed with help from students at the OU Institute for Quality Communities. The design will maximize use of space and provide green space downtown where games can be played and art displayed. The park is the only green space in the area and connects to a performance stage, farmers market, restaurants and a pub.

Oklahoma Creative Community - Enid


Oklahoma Creative Community - Guthrie


“The elbow” is an area of land adjacent to downtown Guthrie. At one time, the land was home to thriving neighborhoods. In the 1980’s, the bridge connecting downtown to the land collapsed and the city chose not to rebuild it. No one currently lives in “the elbow” which is now a large, empty green space. Many of the families that lived in the area were African American, and the city’s decision exacerbated racial tensions. The community is working with former residents and their families to tell the stories and honor the heritage of those whose homes were located on the land known as “the elbow.”

Oklahoma Creative Community - Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Three priorities are being addressed by OCC Locust Grove:

  1. A downtown pocket park being designed by art students at the local high school as part of a contest.
  2. Enhanced destination branding and tourism promotion with the Oklahoma Department of Tourism.
  3. Community engagement in the securing and design of a physical space dedicated to showcasing local talent, teaching classes (art, poetry, etc.) and staging plays.
Oklahoma Creative Community - Okmulgee


OCC Okmulgee has established a nonprofit entity to support community engagement. They are working on three activities: a prayer walk with first responder thank you meal; three-on- three youth basketball tournament; and, a community clean-up day.

Oklahoma Creative Community - Pawhuska


Pawhuska is currently working on three projects:

  1. Destination branding and marketing of Pawhuska.
  2. Support of the community and schools by offering additional learning opportunities related to culture, liberal arts, health/nutrition, trades and STEAM (both in school and in the community, e.g., summer camp).
  3. Through work with the Osage Nation, improving broadband access to the community.
Oklahoma Creative Community - Ponca City

Ponca City

Ponca City is currently working on development of an arts and culture district using funding obtained from the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Oklahoma Creative Community - Tahlequah


OCC-Map 01:08:18

Oklahoma Creative Communities

For more information on how to support creativity and innovation in Oklahoma communities, please contact:

Stéphanie Coderre Porras Bell |


“When I write emails about Oklahoma Creative Communities from our email account, I always sign them the same way: ‘WE are Pawhuska and Osage County’. In the end, this is the goal we are all working toward in community activism: understanding the concept of ‘WE’.”

Bruce Carter


“Old ways won’t open new doors.” With the assistance of the…Oklahoma Creative Communities program…. we are confident that we are going to do great things to restore
vibrancy to the heart of our community.”

Chelsea McConnell

Ponca City

“Our participation in the Oklahoma Creative Communities initiative has helped us bring people together from across the community and identify how we can each do our part. We have come to see ourselves as partners in community growth and economic development. We are excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Lucy Swanson


NEWS - Oklahoma Creative Communities

Guthrie Collaborative’s Elbow Project to connect community

Aug 1, 2017

The recently chartered Guthrie Collaborative hopes to develop a historic and recreational presence in the Elbow District of Guthrie.

The historic Elbow District was built on a flood plain and is not easily accessible. Guthrie officials condemned the area in the mid-70s and nature has overtaken much of the community. There are still remnants of the streets, park and pavilion amongst the dilapidated buildings.

The next meeting to discuss the project will be held Thursday, Aug. 3, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Pollard Bed and Breakfast located in downtown Guthrie at 124 W. Harrison Ave.

 “We are trying to find ways to create community identity and a singular sense of place through connections with the arts,” said Lucy Swanson, Guthrie Collaborative member and Executive Director of The Arts in Guthrie (TAG).
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