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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Interview with Emily Claude, Oklahoma Arts Institute: Innovative Programs in Education Series

With new capabilities for collaboration and posting performance, it is more important than ever to develop programs that inspire learners of all ages and from all background to develop their creativity and to share that journey. One great example is the Oklahoma Arts Institute at  Quartz Mountain, which offers two innovative programs for arts. Welcome to an interview with Emily Claude, Vice President & Director of Programs, Oklahoma Arts Institute. 

1.       What is your name and your relationship to education / programs?
My name is Emily Claudé, and I am the Vice President & Director of Programs for the Oklahoma Arts Institute.  I help make many of the artistic and programmatic decisions and am responsible, along with our Director of Program Operations, for the planning, organization, execution, and evaluation of our two programs. 
Emily Claudé, Oklahoma Arts Institute Quartz Mountain
2.       What is Quartz Mountain?
Quartz Mountain Arts & Conference Center is located in southwest Oklahoma, 17 miles north of Altus.  Although our administrative office is in Oklahoma City, our programs have taken place at Quartz Mountain since 1978, so we consider it our home-away-from-home.  Quartz Mountain is a beautiful resort utilized by people all over the state for conferences, family reunions, retreats, weddings, and weekend getaways year-round.  But, given its outdoor amphitheater, state-of-the-art darkroom, studio pavilions, and 700-seat Performing Arts Center, it’s the ideal location for the Oklahoma Arts Institute.  Quartz Mountain is a state-owned facility of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. 

3.       Please describe some of the projects / programs that occur during the summer.
We recruit nationally renowned artists to teach Oklahoma high school students during the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (OSAI), a two-week, intensive arts academy held in June.  Students are selected through a competitive statewide audition process.  Over 1,000 students auditioned this year for 270 spots in one of nine disciplines: acting, ballet, modern dance, choral music, orchestra, creative writing, drawing/painting, film/video, and photography.  

OSAI - Creative Writing
There are two things that set our program apart from any other program in the country.  First, we have nine disciplines all studying at the same place at the same time.  Although each student is dedicated to one specific discipline, they gain exposure to a wide variety of art forms through performances, elective classes, and interdisciplinary collaborations.  Second, we provide full scholarships worth over $2,500 to every student accepted to our program.  This ensures that we are reaching the most artistically talented students in the state, regardless of their financial situation.

OSAI - Drawing and Painting
4.       Please describe some of the fall / winter programs for adults.
Each year, educators, professional artists, and amateur artists gather for four-day weekend workshops in the arts.  The purpose of the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute (OFAI) is to provide continuing education to adults, teachers, and community artists who seek new techniques and self-renewal.  Our program is unique in that all public school teachers attend on full scholarship.  Over 300 educators attend each year and go back to their classrooms across Oklahoma to teach over 50,000 students.

OFAI - Printmaking
5.       Are any of the performances made available via YouTube? Which ones?
Due to music copyright laws, many of our performances can’t be posted on the internet.  However, we have CDs and DVDs available of all of our performances.  If anyone is interested, they can contact me!  We do have many videos posted on YouTube, and these are a few of my favorites from last summer:

·         The OSAI 2013 “video yearbook:”
·         Faculty presentation by OSAI 2013 Chorus Conductor, André Thomas:
·         Ballroom dancing at OSAI 2013:
·         “Art is,” a film by OSAI 2013 Film & Video Students:

6.       How would you like to see the program grow?
Given the number of students applying for our program each year, I would love to have space to expand classroom and housing facilities at Quartz Mountain to be able to accommodate more students.  Also, since there are so many art forms we don’t have represented at our programs, it would be great to have more space so we can consider adding more disciplines. 

7.       Please describe a few very innovative performances and also creative products that were a result of participation in Quartz Mountain.
·         Having nine diverse artistic disciplines at OSAI at the same time is one of the features of our program of which we are most proud.  So we encourage faculty to take advantage of that fact and collaborate with other disciplines in order to give students an opportunity to learn about other art forms.  This is a video documenting the modern dance & photography collaboration from OSAI 2013:

OSAI - Ballet
·         One of my favorite workshops at OFAI 2013 was Poetry & Performance.  We typically offer a poetry workshop every fall; however, this was quite different.  Taught by Anna West and Amanda Torres from “Louder Than a Bomb,” the nationally-acclaimed Chicago teen poetry slam festival, this workshop offered participants an opportunity to not only read and write poems, but to learn how to perform them.  

OFAI - Poetry and Performance
Participants were able to explore performance poetry in a creative and safe environment.  Additionally, educators in the class learned how to adapt these processes to their own school settings.  It was inspiring not only to the participants who had a chance to learn from Anna and Amanda, but those of us who got to hear their poems were inspired as well!  

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