Downtown Tulsa

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.

On this edition of our show, we hear from Michael Brose and Greg Shinn of the Mental Health Association of Tulsa. Over the years, MHAT has been assembling properties to offer housing to the chronically homeless. Today, they have over 650 units of housing --- and an amazing track record of getting people off the streets and into permanent housing. Their approach is labeled "Housing First," and according to the most recent census, there are fewer than 100 chronic homeless on Tulsa's streets today.

File Photo

There are millions of dollars in projects going on in downtown Tulsa. Most of them are in the Brady Arts District, but next door, the Blue Dome area is seeing its’ share. Only blocks from OneOk Ballpark, a loft project that will include S and J Oyster Bar and Café on the ground floor is underway. Developer Michael Sager admits it’s been a challenge….he’s months behind on the loft work, but the restaurant should open soon. He calls it an example of how the heart of the city is being reborn.

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