LONE WOLF – Creativity abounds for two weeks in the southwestern Oklahoma terrain as an elite group of 270 young Oklahoma artists, including 10 students from Stillwater, develop their individual talents. Oklahoma’s Official School of the Arts, the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, accepted Stillwater students to study in its unique arts educational program which was held June 8-23. 

Chosen through competitive auditions, students attending OSAI experience a unique creative interaction with peers from across the state. The Institute provides world-class arts instruction to Oklahoma’s most talented high school students in a creatively charged and natural environment. Students study for six hours per day in one of eight disciplines in the literary, visual and performing arts. Evening performances, faculty showcases and demonstrations allow students the opportunity to interact with each discipline.   

The following Stillwater students attended in residence at Quartz Mountain:

Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics: Helen Dai

Stillwater High School: Hwanee Hwang, Chloe Kelly, Brennan Lacy, Joel Lanners, Emma Li, Pia Pickett, Kaylee Smith, Brian Tefft

Stillwater Junior High School: Alexander Park

Each student accepted to OSAI attends on full scholarship. This year, nearly 1,000 high school students auditioned for 270 available spots. Students study, reside, and build community during this two-week institute, creating lifelong friendships and setting students on a course for future engagement with the arts. 

Past OSAI faculty artists have included winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Academy, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony awards. This summer, 34 faculty artists teach students in the disciplines of acting, chorus, creative writing, dance, drawing & painting, film & video, orchestra, and photography.

“OSAI has changed my life in many ways I thought impossible,” said Lacy. “I have met many of my closest friends, acquired skills that I took home to my choir, and I learned valuable lessons that I can implement in my everyday life. Before attending the arts institute, I saw my future as a vocal performer and actor, but after time at this camp, I can only see myself pursuing music education and instilling that same life for music in others.”

Among the notable 2019 faculty is filmmaker, writer, and journalist Annie Nocenti.  Her films include “Disarming Falcons” (DOC NYC 2014) and “Taking Chances” (2009).  Also a journalist, Nocenti’s work has appeared in publications such as “Details,” “PRINT,” “Filmmaker” and her piece, “The Most Expensive Road Trip in the World,” appears in Anthony Bourdain’s collection, “Best Travel Writing 2008”. Nocenti is most known for her work in comics, including stints writing “Daredevil” and editing “X-Men.”  

“Every student in Oklahoma deserves to have access to a well-rounded education, and I am proud of the work OAI has done for many decades to set the bar high for intense study and practice in the arts,” said Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The program’s distinguished alumni and faculty, including Megan Mullally, Tim Blake Nelson and Blake Bailey, have made an enormous impact on the culture, and I have no doubt the talented young artists who attend the 2019 Summer Institute will make their own impressive mark.”

Quartz Mountain Nature Park is set in the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma by Lake Altus-Lugert. The arts and conference center boasts a 700-seat performing arts center, newly renovated studio pavilions, and beautiful views.

“(OSAI) is a very unique opportunity to meet new friends who are equally interested in music and the arts in general,” said Lanners. “It is inspiring to see other people who are dedicated to all kinds of artistic forms. The talent and passion of the students and instructors cannot be found anywhere else. I am honored to have the chance to go again this summer.”

The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute culminates in ONSTAGE Weekend, a series of performances showcasing each student’s work at the Institute. Performances and gallery openings are open to the public with no charge for admission. All students will be featured in final performances or presentations during ONSTAGE Weekend June 21-22. A full public performance schedule can be found online at oaiquartz.org/student-performances

The Oklahoma Arts Institute is a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1977, with a mission to provide exceptional multidisciplinary arts experiences that develop individual talent and inspire a lifelong passion for the arts. In addition to the Summer Arts Institute, OAI administers a series of continuing education workshops for adults every fall.

Stillwater students’ scholarships are made possible through funding from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Hyman and Esther Krasne Foundation Scholars Fund, Inasmuch Foundation, and Sarkeys Foundation Scholars Fund. Additional program support is provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council, Jerome Westheimer Family Foundation, OPUBCO/Anschutz Foundation, and Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.