By Nick Woodruff
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Stillwater Multi Arts Center began celebrating its first year anniversary earlier this week.
Approximately four years ago, the city owned and operated the Stillwater Multi Arts Center, but after crunching budget numbers, the city determined the center was costing too much money, threatening the center’s existence even though it had served the community for approximately 20 years. The city decided to enter into a private-public partnership.
The city leases the Multi Arts Center building to the Stillwater Friends of the Multi Arts, an organization that provides the funding to run the Stillwater Multi Arts Center, for one dollar per year. The city and the Multi Arts Center have a five-year contract. Bill Miller was chosen as director.
In January 2012, Miller began working with the city to learn how to operate the center. He said he loved art and was glad to be given the opportunity.
The new Stillwater Multi Arts Center opened in July 2012 and is celebrating its first year of operation this month. Miller said the first year went quickly. He said the new center has been a success.
“This has been a good year and the city has been so good to work with,” Miller said. “They are like a landlord, if something needs to be replaced, they come in and replace it, and they have been very good to us.”
Miller said he wants to bring new opportunities for people to use the center. He said decisions should be made based on community needs.
Miller said there are many happy moments that “brighten up his days.” He said working with the children is the best part of his job.
“There are a lot of great things,” Miller said. “But I tell you, when the kids are leaving the summer art camp, and they run up to their parents saying, ‘Look what we made. Look what we made.’ That is just a good feeling.”
Miller said children are great but he would like to get more college students involved in the center.
The Stillwater Multi Arts Center is for everybody and college students also need to know it is there for them, Miller said.
Memberships are not required and anyone can participate.
The Stillwater Multi Arts Center will celebrate its first year of operation from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 20. Miller said there will be food, donation areas and a place where people can make their own Stillwater Multi Arts Center T-shirt.
There will be a garage sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 18-19. Some items in the garage sale will be art made at the Stillwater Multi Arts Center.