Arts Alliance Tulsa planned a bit of a show at the BOK Center on Wednesday to announce the start of its second annual fund-raising campaign, only to be surprised by an unexpected encore.
As the press event was winding down, Jeff Nickler, general manager of the BOK Center, announced that the facility and its management company, SMG Tulsa, was donating $5,000 to the campaign.
“We wanted to help jump-start the campaign,” Nickler said. “It’s also a challenge to other local companies to contribute to this cause.”
Arts Alliance Tulsa was established in 2015 as a united arts fund, one of about 50 such organizations in the country. Donations made to Arts Alliance Tulsa are then distributed among its 39 member organizations that supply arts and cultural programs and events throughout Tulsa.
Member organizations range from the Tulsa Girls Art School and A Pocket Full of Hope to the Philbrook Museum of Art and Tulsa Ballet.
The funds are used for operational support to help the individual organization focus its other financial resources on its programs.
Robert Purgason, chairman of the campaign committee, said no fund-raising goal would be announced to the public “to insure we don’t limit ourselves or create unreasonable expectations.”
Purgason said the campaign will have two public events: the “Play Your Part Brunch,” set for May 20 at the Hyatt Regency downtown, which will feature Tulsa native Olivia Jordan, actress, model and former Miss USA, as the keynote speaker; and the Campaign Celebration party, July 4 at the McBirney Mansion.
In addition to its $5,000 contribution, the BOK Center and SMG Tulsa will promote Arts Alliance Tulsa and its campaign at every BOK Center event and across all media platforms.
Nickler said the BOK Center’s online ticketing site, Ticketmaster.com, will have a tab that will allow people to donate directly to Arts Alliance Tulsa.
“The arts are a way to bring people together,” Nickler said. “They provide a common language that is so important, especially when there is so much conflict in the world.”
City Councilor Phil Lakin, who serves as chairman of the AAT advisory council, said that all operational costs for the campaign have been underwritten.
“So 100 percent of every dollar raised from today on will be going to our member organizations,” he said.
James D. Watts Jr.