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Outlook 2013: Arts leader Peter Dolese expects Oklahoma City’s heart to get stronger

Peter Dolese, the executive director of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, anticipates that downtown will again become the “nucleus” of the community.

by Brandy McDonnell Published: April 28, 2013

Art’s role

Some of the decisions legislators and leaders make now will influence what Oklahoma City looks like in two decades: He noted that state lawmakers passed a bill in the 2011 session that suspended the Oklahoma Art in Public Places requirement for state agencies to incorporate art into their capital improvement projects. That former requirement is what paved the way for the soaring scissortail flycatchers, sprinting horses and Oklahoma peace shields adorning newly built highways like Interstate 40.

“I think it’s essential that as we move forward that we build new art into our infrastructure ... because that’s part of the cultural landscape of our community, which we’re passing that down from generation to generation,” he said. “The new highway systems with the scissortails and the buffalo used in bass relief on the walls underneath the bridges, it’s an excellent identity-builder for our state. And it also builds pride in your community with those iconic symbols that represent who we are. I think that art plays a vital role in helping to define our identity as a community, and my hope is that we can get the legislature and everyone to back off of that stance because I think it’s really important money to be spent.”

Restoration continues

As he witnesses the ongoing restoration of areas like Film Row, he is optimistic that more neglected parts of the community have the potential to thrive.

“I see Capitol Hill having the opportunity to grow dramatically. You know, they’ve got that beautiful Oklahoma Opry space down there, and I see some of those spaces being refurbished. I see Capitol Hill coming back into its original grandeur,” he said. “Various places around the city that may be rundown at this point will blossom. ... I think it’s both pride and need with the population (growing).”

Dolese expects the creativity and energy circulating through the heart of Oklahoma City to pump out into suburbs.

“Oklahoma City is going to do nothing but get bigger over the next 20 years. It’s going to get bigger, and it’s going to get more efficient and it’s going to be a really amazing place to live, even more so than it already is,” he said. “I mean, I see the momentum building, and I think many of the things that are happening now, we’re creating the platform right now for how amazing we’re going to be 20 years.”

by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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