City Arts Center in Oklahoma City will move from State Fair Park to downtown

The City Arts Center will move from its longtime home at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City to a 4.5-acre spread at NW 12 and Broadway Drive — a downtown location that is at the northern entry to Automobile Alley.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: March 30, 2012

The City Arts Center is preparing to move from its longtime home at State Fair Park to a 4.5-acre spread at NW 12 and Broadway Drive — a location at the northern entry to Automobile Alley.

“I am thrilled at the prospect of relocating our organization to this up-and-coming part of town,” said Mary Ann Prior, executive director of City Arts Center.

“This is an important investment in the cultural future of Oklahoma City, and I passionately believe it will help invigorate the local economy. It will be an inspiration to young people and a welcoming destination for everyone.”

Christian Keesee, president of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, which acquired the property from Shannon Self, said the site was chosen after a years-long search for a new home in or near downtown's growing arts community.

The site has ties to the Kirkpatrick family. The property adjoins Campbell Park, which is leased and maintained by the Kirkpatrick Fund, and is a block south of the historic home of Kirkpatrick Oil, 1300 N Broadway Drive, now Saxum public relations firm headquarters.

The site was under contract last year for a $34 million apartment complex, but that deal fell through when the developer and city officials failed to agree to terms to create a quiet zone along adjoining railroad tracks.

“The arts scene has moved into downtown,” Keesee said. “We looked for a couple of years for prospective locations. This one didn't really come to our attention until the (apartment) real estate transaction fell through.”

Keesee said the site appealed to the foundation because it's on the fringe of downtown, has ample room for parking, and yet will likely be along a future streetcar line that can link it to other downtown arts attractions.

“It can easily accommodate people in that part of town who are interested in continuing art education,” Keesee said. “But it's also easy for people who live in the suburbs who want to come downtown but not mess with parking.”

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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