Our new chief development officer on the importance of art and this moment in Oklahoma Contemporary’s history
Donations from supporters like you make all that does Oklahoma Contemporary possible.
With that in mind, we brought three questions to Chief Development Officer Chris Collins, who leads the Development Department and fundraising efforts in support of our programs, special projects and operations. Chris and his team raise the funds that built our building and now keep our doors open, our exhibitions and most programs free and our vision to make art accessible to all a reality.
In this week's #ThursdayThree, we talk to Chris, who began in March, about what it means to join Oklahoma Contemporary at such an historic time, how it feels to be part of OKC's renaissance and why supporting contemporary art and creativity matters.
Why Oklahoma Contemporary?
The opportunity to join the team at Oklahoma Contemporary was exciting to me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the team of people here is incredible – everyone is dedicated to providing accessible opportunities for artistic expression. The new building is also stunning – and moving forward, it will allow the organization to bring even more exhibitions, educational programs and performances to our community.
As someone who works to build community support, I think it is so important to really believe in the organization I represent. Oklahoma Contemporary is an easy cause to get behind. We are helping to make Oklahoma an attractive place to live, work or visit – by providing unique art experiences. We’re really unlike any other organization in the state in terms of what we offer to residents and visitors alike.
Why should the public support contemporary art?
Contemporary art is so broad in scope that there is truly something for everyone. From paintings and sculptures to other mediums like the use of light or video, contemporary art can inspire, provoke dialogue and educate. The arts can inspire the best in all of us. Oklahoma Contemporary’s exhibitions not only provide opportunities to engage with internationally known contemporary artists, like Ed Ruscha, in our Eleanor Kirkpatrick Main Gallery – but also the unique chance to see local artists and works in our Mary LeFlore Clements Oklahoma Gallery, which is exclusively dedicated to exhibiting Oklahoma-related artists.
I think all people are naturally creative in a myriad of ways – which means the arts and creative expression, are really fundamental to who we are. The arts help us to find that spark that can impact other facets of our lives – enhancing creativity and collaboration. We also know that the arts enhance quality of life, educational outcomes and even creativity in business. There are real and tangible benefits to opportunities for artistic expression like those provided at the new arts center.
Supporting Oklahoma Contemporary is a great way to invest in the creative potential each of us has. Artistic expression is fundamental to a thriving community and I’m proud of the role we play in providing those opportunities.
What excites you about this time in Oklahoma Contemporary's history?
Oklahoma Contemporary has this incredible legacy of more than 30 years of fulfilling its mission. Now, with the new building, we can play an even greater role in changing the artistic landscape of our city, state and region. It means we can do more of what makes the arts center such a special place: more educational programs for kids, teens and adults; more world-class exhibitions; and more fun community events and activities.
We’re also part of the ongoing renaissance of Oklahoma City. This community has been transformed with new and expanded businesses, restaurants, arts and culture organizations and so much more. As someone who chose to build my life and career here after growing up in a different part of the state, it is exciting to play a role in contributing to the renewal and growth of our city. I think Oklahoma Contemporary is a key component of Oklahoma City’s vibrant and dynamic future.
Return to New Light.