Best Art Schools In Oklahoma – Librarian Brenda Roberts works on an art project with the Wanette Public Schools 8th grade class.
Wanette School District is located in rural Oklahoma, approximately 30 miles southeast of Norman.
Best Art Schools In Oklahoma
For many years, elementary and high school students had dedicated art teachers who taught classes five days a week. They will learn to draw, sketch and learn pottery. That all changed after local authorities removed the class due to budget cuts five years ago.
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Now high school students can learn art history online instead of creating a work of art every day. Very few can do this.
Librarian Brenda Roberts is dedicated to bringing Wanette’s art back to life. A few years ago, she started teaching a new art class to high school students.
“I only have one or two classes a week,” she said. “And I don’t even do that every year. Last year I was also a counselor, but I didn’t have time for art.”
Data from the state Department of Education shows that Oklahoma schools closed 1,110 art classes between 2014 and 2018, a period of severe state budget cuts. The cuts influenced visual arts, theater, music and band classes, as well as public speaking and debate classes. In 2018, nearly 30% of Oklahoma public school students attended a school without art classes.
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Art programs often fire first-class administrators when schools are struggling financially because art is not an exam subject.
“I feel art is very important,” she said. “After years of teaching, I realized that students who don’t excel academically are really good at art. It makes them shine.”
Rebecca Fine, an education policy analyst at the Oklahoma Policy Institute, says the decline in arts education has a greater impact on some schools than others.
“If you look at fine arts programs across the state, you’ll see that rural schools and low-income schools are the most affected by these budget cuts,” she said.
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Fine said cuts in the arts widen existing disparities that separate students from rich and poor schools and widen the gap between rural and urban schools.
Elizabeth Maughan, director of arts at the state Department of Education, doesn’t believe that budget cuts are the only factor driving arts budget cuts. A bigger obstacle to maintaining these programs, she said, is that schools can struggle to find certified art teachers, which can be more difficult in rural areas.
“Students who enter graduation do not go to the countryside. Therefore, it is more difficult to find teachers in rural areas,” she said.
State records do not provide an accurate picture of what caused the loss of art classes or how it progressed by district, but it is clear that these cuts did not affect all schools equally.
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The Edmund Public School District, for example, hasn’t cut art classes recently. But three years ago, the less affluent Oklahoma City Public Schools cut 44 artistic positions.
Rhonda Taylor, director of visual and performing arts for OKCPS, said schools lost nearly 100 programs across the district. She said it makes sense that the budget cuts would have a greater impact on Oklahoma City’s arts programs than other schools.
“It’s very common in other regions to charge student fees for programs, especially in groups,” she said.
Taylor said it is common for schools to charge students hundreds of dollars a year. These costs can pay for everything from art supplies and tools to your art teacher’s salaries.
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That’s not the case in the Oklahoma City Public Schools, where most students and families cannot afford arts programs.
As state funding has dwindled in recent years, Taylor said local artists, museums and theater organizations have stepped in to fill the gap. Artists visited the school and led students through music and ceramics workshops. Taylor said she appreciates the support, but it’s not like having a consistent local arts team.
Brenda Roberts, a librarian in rural Wanette, said her students don’t have the same opportunities as big-city students.
“I took my entire school to an art gallery in Oklahoma City when there was an art scholarship. I was once taken to the Fred Jones Museum in Norman. But that money also dried up,” she said.
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Roberts hopes lawmakers will find ways to increase funding for the arts during the 2019 legislative session. She says music, dancing, drawing and painting help children learn skills that math and English classes cannot.
She said many students will eventually leave Wanette, and exposure to art at an early age will help prepare them for the diverse cultures they will be a part of in the future.
Research shows that Roberts was right. A 2014 study by the University of Arkansas found that young people exposed to the arts were more tolerant and empathetic. Other studies show that continuing access to arts education is associated with lower dropout rates.
Roberts said she knows these subjects won’t end up on state exams, but said they are still a necessary part of bringing students to a full public education.
Colleges In Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a partnership between Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Click here to donate online to support journalism. When Mary “Ataloa” Stone arrived at Bacone College in the summer of 1927, the small tribal school in Muskogee, Oklahoma, did not have an art program. Originally from India, the Chikaso scholar was hired to work in the English department and had an impressive resume. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California Redlands and a new master’s degree from Columbia. Despite the very clear racial and gender divisions in male-dominated America of the 1920s, Stone, commonly known as “Ataloa” under the name Chicasso, was more educated than most white men of her generation.
After turning down a job offer to travel to Europe as a singer, Ataloa decided to teach with Bacone. At the time, the school was different from other tribal schools. Bacone’s Aboriginal students studied advanced academic subjects such as social science and Aboriginal history rather than primary education and agriculture. Founded as a private Baptist institution 25 years before Oklahoma became a state, the university is the oldest university in Oklahoma and Aboriginal students have long sought intellectual refuge there. Ataloa began her intellectual journey with the story of Grandma Chikasso and wanted to teach her students to explore the Western world like her. She told the Literary Digest in 1931: “We realize that the only hope for the Indians is proper education, and we know that this must help to increase the quality of our schools.”
Bacone has become a bastion of Aboriginal culture and a place where Aboriginal students learn to use stereotypes and myths to their advantage. In raising funds for the university, Ataloa implored white Americans to “save” the best of Aboriginal culture “because you are responsible for changing our ancient civilization.” This tactic would be one of the most important lessons her students learned and helped small tribal colleges radically reshape the modern Aboriginal art world.
During the mid and late 1900s, as the United States government sought to suppress tribes and erase cultural and social structures, Bacone’s Indigenous Arts program inspired Native artists to test the limits of Native art norms and express themselves through their work. inspired to demand. Instructors like W. “Dick” West, Acee Blue Eagle and Woody Crumbo were among the most prolific and influential Aboriginal artists of her time, giving hope and continuity to the displaced. It still was and still can be, said Stephen Fadden, Bacon graduate and Mohawk Nation citizen, program director at the Four Cultural Center and Museum. “It was, in a way, a place to resist de-ethnicization, expressing the spiritual and cultural ideas they cherished through art,” he said. What became known as the “bacon style” left an indelible mark on modern Aboriginal art as more and more Aboriginal artists flourished there.
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Cheyenne Warrior by W. Richard West in the mid-20th century. West was one of Bacone’s most influential and prolific art instructors.
More than 50 years after redefining the Aboriginal arts scene and nearly 100 years after Ataloa arrived, the university is in quiet decline, almost in financial shambles, with fewer students and crumbling old buildings. But the institution’s new leaders are ambitious. New Chancellor Ferlin Clark, hoping to once again produce some of America’s most vibrant artists, announced last year that the school will soon offer film classes. They will also offer arts degrees again after a break of several years. But paying off $2.5 million in debt and re-accrediting private and tribal colleges won’t be easy.
In 2018, the Higher Education Commission, which accredits higher education institutions in 19 Midwestern states, recognized Bacone.