George Kaiser Family Foundation

Women are the fastest-growing prison population group in the United States today -- and the State of Oklahoma, tragically, puts women in prison at twice the national rate. On this edition of ST, we check in with the non-profit organization known as Still She Rises, a public defender office based here in our community that's dedicated to representing North Tulsa mothers within the criminal justice system. Still She Rises, which began operations in Tulsa about a year ago, grew out of a similar group in NYC known as The Bronx Defenders.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about "NEW/NOW: Works by the Tulsa Artist Fellowship," the first-ever museum exhibit dedicated to artworks by fellows in the Tulsa Artist Fellowship program. This show, on view at the Philbrook Downtown space through March 3rd, presents various media and styles in newly created pieces by 20+ artists working here in the Tulsa community.

Our guest on this edition of ST is Sophia Pappas, who formerly led the pioneering initiative to bring "universal pre-K" to the New York City Public Schools. Pappas now resides in Tulsa, as she was recently hired by the Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation, the nonprofit social-justice and civic-enhancement organization funded by local billionaire and philanthropist George Kaiser. Pappas will now be in charge of introducing and implementing the GKFF's Birth through Eight Strategy, which was ten years in the making (and planning).

On this installment of ST, we learn about the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, or TAF, which was established last year by the George Kaiser Family Foundation to both enrich and expand the local art scene by recruiting artists from all over the nation to the Tulsa area. This fellowship, per its website, "provides an unrestricted stipend, free housing, and work-space in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to US Resident artists.... The Fellows are expected to integrate into the local arts community, such as [via] studio and collection visits.

Our guest on this edition of ST is Tony Moore, who was formerly the chief operating officer at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida, and now serves as the director of both A Gathering Place and Guthrie Green. The former is, of course, the George Kaiser Family Foundation's $350 million initiative -- now being built along Riverside Drive near 31st Street -- that will open late next year, and the latter is the popular public-park-and-open-stage space in downtown Tulsa, just across the street from the Woody Guthrie Center.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we're talking about the Bob Dylan Archive, that widely-reported-on treasure trove of 6,000+ items documenting the entirety of the legendary singer-songwriter's still-active career. This archive was purchased earlier this year by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and The University of Tulsa; it will be housed at TU's Helmerich Center for American Research (which is located within the Gilcrease Museum).

On this installment of ST, we learn about a locally-rooted socio-economic and educational project called Growing Togther. It's a nonprofit that works to bring meaningful and lasting change to two different Tulsa neighborhoods marked by concentrated areas of poverty, Eugene Field and Kendall-Whittier. Our guest is Kirk Wester, executive director of Growing Together.

On this edition of ST, we offer a closer look at some of the economic development objectives within the Vision Tulsa proposal. For years, the north side of Tulsa has felt neglected and shortchanged when it comes to infrastructure improvements as well as efforts to provide good-paying jobs in the area. But within Vision Tulsa, there is money for a public-private partership that would create a ready and receptive environment for the next potential manufacturing or industrial employer looking at our city as an expansion site.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Robert J. LaFortune, a former Mayor of Tulsa, and Ann Patton, a locally based writer, activist, and former journalist. Patton has a new book out, for which LaFortune wrote the Foreword; it's a collection of essays on and photos of the Arkansas River, and it's called "The Tulsa River." But to what degree is Tulsa truly a "river city"? And are the age-old questions about riverfront development in this community changing -- or else taking on new meaning -- given the eventual creation of A Gathering Place on Riverside Drive?

File photo

On this edition of ST, we speak with Jeff Stava of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Stava is the project manager for A Gathering Place, the multimillion-dollar initiative of the Foundation that will -- after many months of planning and anticipation -- officially break ground in Tulsa near 31st Street and Riverside Drive tomorrow, Saturday the 20th, at noon, with the day's events actually beginning, come rain or shine, at 10am.

Anyone residing in or near the City of Tulsa must be aware of the profound and ongoing influence that the George Kaiser Family Foundation has had on this community. Whether through its socially minded programs like Women in Recovery or Tulsa Educare, or through such dramatic civic-improvement initiatives as the Brady Arts District revitalization, the Kendall-Whittier Neighborhood development, or the Tulsa River Parks Trails refurbishment, it's clear that the foundation has significantly improved both the well-being and quality of life for those who live and work in Northeastern Oklahoma.

KWGS News File Photo

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Jeff Stava, a senior program officer for the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the project manager for the new, privately-funded, still-in-development public park known as A Gathering Place for Tulsa. The final design plans for the Riverside-based park (to be created on the site of the Blair Mansion) were announced Tuesday the 18th.

As some of us know already, Oklahoma leads the nation, by a lamentably significant margin, in female incarcerations --- and two-thirds of the women in our state's prisons are actually there for non-violent offenses. Today, we hear about on-going efforts to combat this trend. On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, Dr. John Schumann, our guest host, learns about Women in Recovery (or WIR), an outpatient incarceration-alternative for women facing long prison sentences for non-violent, drug-related offenses.

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.