Downtown Tulsa

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we welcome Steve Liggett back to our program. A well-known figure on the local arts scene, Liggett is an art teacher and sculptor who's also the director of the nonprofit Living Arts of Tulsa, which was established in the 1960s by Virginia Myers and others as a haven for the creation and display of contemporary art right here in T-Town.

On this edition of ST, we offer a wide-ranging chat with Bill Leighty, the executive director of Smart Growth Tulsa, which was founded in April of 2014 and incorporated as a nonprofit just recently. This organization, per its website, is "committed to policies, not politics. We seek to create healthy communities that work for everyone, with strong schools and local businesses, improved mobility options and jobs that pay well....

Our guest today is Ken Busby, the CEO and executive director of the non-profit Route 66 Alliance, which is based here in Tulsa, and which is, per its website, "dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and enhancement of historic Route 66 -- past, present, and future." Formerly the director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, Busby was asked to lead the "Mother Road"-focused organization in 2014; today, he brings us up to speed on the Route 66 Experience Museum, a large-scale development for which funds are still being raised and plans

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Kim Johnson, who became chief executive officer of the Tulsa City-County Library on January 1st. After more than 15 years as an employee of the TCCL, Johnson seems like a perfect fit for this leadership post. She's very committed, of course, to books and learning and literacy -- and to the vital purpose of libraries within society today -- and she's the first African American to lead the 24-branch system that is the TCCL.

On this edition of ST, we learn about several special, free-to-the-public events scheduled for this coming weekend in connection with MLK Day. Events are planned for both Sunday the 15th and Monday the 16th in downtown Tulsa (with the 16th, of course, being the actual Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday). On the 15th, there will be a Walk of Peace and Solidarity as well as an Interfaith Commemorative Service. On the 16th, a Founders Breakfast will precede the 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Last month, it was announced that the long-awaited Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture -- or OKPOP, as it's also called -- will be built and housed at 422 N. Main Street in downtown Tulsa, just across the street from the historic Cain's Ballroom. As Dr.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we offer a chat with Douglas Miller, the principal behind Müllerhaus Legacy, a Tulsa-based firm that creates books and other publications on-demand for private organizations and special occasions. A graphic artist and book designer by trade, Miller is also, in fact, a writer, since a book for which he's the lead author has just recently appeared.

On this edition of ST, we welcome back Tulsa City-County Library CEO Gary Shaffer. He joins us to describe in detail the TCCL's newly renovated Central Library, which will re-open to the public tomorrow morning (October 1st) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. For the past two years or so, the Central Library branch -- which originally opened in 1965 near Fifth and Denver in downtown Tulsa -- has been getting a complete overhaul, both its exterior and interior.

So many attractive and impressive old buildings -- in downtown Tulsa and across this state -- would still be gathering dust, housing pigeons, and contributing even less economically without the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) program. Indeed, HTC projects have injected $163 million in private investment into the City of Tulsa alone since 2000. On this edition of ST, we speak in detail about the positive economic influence that historic preservation tax credits have had (and are still having) in our city and throughout the Sooner State.

Last night, at an event here in Tulsa, Preservation Oklahoma and the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture jointly announced the 2016 list of the state's Most Endangered Places. The list includes the Oklahoma State Capitol Building as well as two locations in Tulsa: the Oklahoma Iron Works Building (just northeast of downtown) and the mid-century Abundant Life Building (near 18th and Boulder). However, the ten sites on this year's list are not the only historic-preservation sites endangered in our state.

Interested in the idea of living in downtown Tulsa? Curious about all the apartment buildings and office spaces that seem to getting refurbished or constructed downtown these days? Wondering about what might be in store for a certain vacant property or unsightly parking lot within the City of Tulsa's Inner Dispersal Loop? If you've answered in the affirmative to any or all of these queries, you might want to check out the 3rd Annual Dwell in the IDL Tour, which will be presented by the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture this coming Sunday, the 4th, from noon to 5pm.

Summer is now, alas, leaving the proverbial building...but barbecue doesn't have to exit along with it. On this edition of ST, we learn about the free-to-the-public Rock 'N Rib BBQ Festival, which is happening at 3rd and Denver in downtown Tulsa from today (the 17th) through Sunday (the 20th).

In several ways, obviously, Tulsa -- especially downtown Tulsa -- looks and feels much different than it did ten or fifteen years ago. Or even five years ago. Developments, improvements, enhancements, and refurbishments are occuring on many fronts. But what about the mass transit system that serves this community? On today's ST, another discussion in our series of interviews with organizations aiming to acquire funding through the Vision 2025 sales tax extension.

Today's ST offers another discussion in our series of interviews with organizations aiming to acquire funding through the Vision 2025 sales tax extension for the City of Tulsa. Our guests, both members of TYPros, are two of the principals behind the much-talked-about proposal to create a Boston Avenue Multisport (or "BAM") Facility, which would exist between Boston and Cincinnati Avenues, and between 10th and 12th Streets, in downtown Tulsa: Terrell Hoagland is the Director of Sustainability for Jones Design Studio and Kenton Grant is the owner of Kenton Grant Consulting.

On this edition of ST, we offer another installment in our ongoing series of interviews with organizations vying to be included in the Vision 2025 sales tax extension for the City of Tulsa. This extension is expected to go before voters in the spring of 2016, and over the past couple of months, many area organizations (from Gilcrease Museum to the Tulsa Zoo; from Tulsa Transit to Langston University) have been presenting proposals in this regard to the Tulsa City Council. We at StudioTulsa are speaking with certain of those groups whose ideas seem especially interesting and/or feasible.

Iron Gate, a nonprofit soup kitchen and food pantry at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Tulsa, began operations nearly forty years ago. It's still based at Trinity, but it's a separate facility -- make that a separate and vitally important facility -- that has drastically outgrown its workspace. Iron Gate, actually located in the crowded basement of Trinity, has an on-site dining area meant to seat 127 people, yet the facility serves food to 500 or 600 hungry Tulsans every day of the year.

Our guest on this edition of ST is the locally based filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, who tells us about his latest feature, "Mekko." Most of this movie was shot in Tulsa, and it profiles a Native American ex-con (the film's title character) as he tries to rebuild his life after 19 years behind bars. Mekko has no home, no immediate family, and little cash -- so he soon ends up on the streets, where he's eventually taken in by Tulsa's homeless Native community.

On this installment of ST, we welcome Julie Watson and Mike Koster, the co-directors of Tulsa Roots Music, a nonprofit and ongoing (and quite wonderful) concert series that first got underway here in our community about four years ago. On Saturday the 18th, the day-long Tulsa Roots Music Bash will be presented, for the second consecutive year, at the Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Bill Leighty, a longtime realtor in our community who's also served on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, the City's Transportation Advisory Board, and its Land Use Task Force. Moreover, Leighty is the executive director of the Smart Growth Tulsa Coalition, which he tells us all about on today's program.

On this edition of our show, we're talking about buskers --- or, in other words, street performers. Whether it's by juggling, playing music, eating fire, doing magic tricks, enacting mime, or what-have-you, buskers take their creativity, theatricality, and pass-the-hat know-how directly to the streets, as it were --- and, as a socio-cultural phenomenon, they must be as old as cities themselves.

KWGS News

A new name, with Christmas included, and a new sponsor bring a unified downtown yuletide parade for Tulsa this year. For the past several years, dropping the word Christmas from the downtown event caused a split that resulted in two separate parades, one downtown, one at Tulsa Hills. This year there will be only one parade. Paul Ross is with American Waste Control, the new sponsor. He says this year's parade will officially be known as the 2014 American Waste Control Christmas Parade in Downtown.

On this installment of ST, we listen back to an interview we did about a year ago with Jonathan Rossetti, who directed, stars in, and co-scripted "Home, James," a newly released indie feature film that was made here in T-Town...and that's now (or was recently) playing --- thanks to a distribution deal with Devolver Digital Films --- in New York City, Los Angeles, Portland, and the aforesaid Tulsa; "Home, James" will be screened at the Circle Cinema (near the corner of Admiral and Lewis) through May 29th.

File Photo-Mayfest

An increase in festivals and events in downtown Tulsa is helping with efforts to improve retail and residential living in the core area. Director of Downtown Development with the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Delise Tomlinson, says the events draw people who might otherwise never go downtown to show what’s available.

This month alone has seen Mayfest, Hop Jam, the Blue Dome festival, BOK Concerts, and two OSU-OU baseball games at OneOk Field.                           

KWGS News

A new hotel is announced for downtown Tulsa. It will provide rooms for those attending events at the BOK Center and Convention Hall. The new seven story, 134-room Hilton Garden Inn will be just a block from the BOK Center. Developer Pete Patel with Promise Hotels says given the resurgence of downtown Tulsa, the time is right for additional rooms for the business and leisure traveler.  

The project will include retail and restaurant space and a rooftop patio. It’s expected to be completed in 2016.

On today's StudioTulsa, we speak with Catherine Whitney, chief curator of the Philbrook Museum of Art, about the first two exhibitions at the museum's new Brady District facility. Philbrook Downtown is currently featuring a pair of exhibits concerning American art. The first, which was curated by Whitney, examines a group of female painters who worked in Santa Fe and Taos in the early 20th Century. "Sirens of the Southwest" draws on the resources of Philbrook's Eugene B.

"The Woody Guthrie Center is dedicated to celebrating Woody's life and legacy and educating a new generation about his important role in American history," as we read on the Center's website.

On this edition of our show, we offer an engaging, wide-ranging conversation with Heather Clark Hilliard, a fiber artist based in Norman, Oklahoma. Hilliard is also the inaugural artist-in-residence at 108 Contemporary gallery (located at 108 East Brady in Tulsa, and formerly known as the Brady Craft Alliance). She tells us about her solo show, "Finding the Fire: Concepts in Fiber," which will be on view at 108 through July 20th, with an Artist Talk scheduled to occur at the gallery on the 19th at 6pm.

On this installment of our program, we speak by phone with the internationally known contemporary fiber artist, Jon Eric Riis, whose tapestry works can be found in private collections as well as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The New York Museum of Art and Design, The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Museum of Art, and elsewhere.

In 1901, the first-ever oil well in Tulsa (from the Creek word, "Tallasi," meaning "Old Town") was established; the city itself had been officially incorporated in 1898. In 1905, the discovery of the fabled Glenn Pool oil field occurred --- and a boom town was born. And not just any boom town, but a petroleum-driven city-on-the-go, as Tulsa's population climbed to more than 140,000 between 1901 and 1930. On this edition of ST, we revisit the pivotal decade in this remarkable growth spurt as we discuss a new exhibit at the Tulsa Historical Society (or THS).

Just when we thought the recently revitalized Downtown Tulsa really couldn't get any cooler.... Guthrie Green, a new park located at the corner of Boston Avenue and Brady Street --- in the heart of Tulsa's increasingly thriving Brady Arts District --- opens today, Friday the 7th, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3pm. Then, at about 5pm, the music gets underway --- and live, festive, free-to-the-public music (of all kinds, for all tastes) is a big part of what this Opening Weekend for Guthrie Green is all about.

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