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New funding proposals unveiled for 2 Oklahoma museums

A Senate panel approves measures that would provide the use of certain tax receipts for the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in downtown Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture in Tulsa.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD Modified: May 16, 2013 at 10:06 pm •  Published: May 16, 2013

Blake Wade, executive director of the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority, has said he has raised $40 million in private pledges to help complete the center. The pledges would turn into cash when the state matches that amount, which would be enough to pay for the project's completion, he said.

The center has benefited from three previous state bond issues totaling $63 million, as well as $14.5 million in federal funding and $4.9 million and 250 acres of land from Oklahoma City. A bill authorizing a $40 million bond issue for the center failed by one vote last year in the Senate. A growing number of legislators are leery about increasing the state's bond indebtedness.

Tulsa has pledged $3 million and Bank of Oklahoma has pledged a block of land valued at $2.5 million in the Brady Arts District for the OK Pop museum. A private campaign has been launched with a $1 million challenge grant from the George Kaiser Family Foundation.