Oklahoma Arts Institute (OAI) is a private, non-profit organization with a mission to provide exceptional multidisciplinary arts experiences that develop individual talent and inspire a lifelong passion for the arts. Since 1977, the Oklahoma Arts Institute has recruited nationally renowned artists to teach a fine arts program for talented Oklahoma youth and a series of continuing education workshops for adults. Their flagship program, the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (OSAI), is an intensive, two-week academy in the literary, visual, and performing arts for Oklahoma’s most talented high school students, held at the Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma. Students are selected through a competitive statewide audition process, and every accepted student automatically receives a scholarship to attend. The program’s multidisciplinary structure sets the Summer Arts Institute apart from other arts programs in the nation.
When COVID-19 made in-person workshops impossible, OAI pivoted to virtual workshops near seamlessly, working with teaching artists to guarantee a quality experience by adjusting how they delivered content over Zoom. Realizing that students’ and teachers’ newfound familiarity with online arts workshops could allow them to reach more students than before, OAI created a new workshop series running in the fall and winter for students across the state who otherwise have limited access to quality arts instruction, the OSAI At Home Academy.
OAI accepts applications from Oklahoma high school students across eight categories: acting, chorus, creative writing, dance, drawing & painting, film & video, orchestra, photography. The Thoma Foundation provided $50,000 to support the virtual OSAI at Home Academy, particularly for students that:
- Live in a rural area or geographical area that is underrepresented at OSAI
- Identify as a racial or ethnic minority underrepresented at OSAI
- Qualify for the free and reduced lunch program or otherwise able to demonstrate economic hardship
Why We Partnered with the Oklahoma Arts Institute:
- High quality arts instruction with statewide reach in one of the Thoma Foundation’s target states
- Strong and innovative leadership able to find rare opportunities from COVID-19