The Woodward News

March 2, 2013

Local man chosen for state Leadership Arts program

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Members for the Oklahoma's  2013 Leadership Arts class  have been announced and for the first time in the classes eight years a candidate from Woodward was selected.

Northwestern-Woodward campus Secretary/Special Events Coordinator Charlie Burns has been chosen along with 31 other individuals from over 22 Oklahoma communities to receive an in-depth instruction on how to use local arts and cultural resources for economic development, improved education and enhanced quality of life according to a press release from the Oklahoma Arts Council.

"I am so happy to be a part of such a wonderful opportunity," Burns said.  "I have been interested in the arts since I was very young; I have participated in band, choir, and theatre all my life. Securing a place as a member of the Oklahoma Arts Council's Leadership Arts class is just one more way for me to give back to our community and the state through arts involvement and networking."

Burns said applications were reviewed by a selection committee that included community, business, arts, and education leaders throughout the state.

Burns said members are determined based both on their qualifications, as well as a series of questions on the application, such as philosophies about the arts, how they would utilize the knowledge and networking that is conveyed through the class, and how they are involved in our communities.

The program will consist of four 2 day spring sessions in which class members participate in panel discussions, group activities, and tours of community art spaces at the Quartz Mountain Resort and Arts Conference Center near Lone Wolf, the Coleman Theatre in Miami, the Forest Heritage Center, and the Red River museum near Broken Arrow.

"I'm excited to be participating and meeting arts leaders across the state," Burns said.

The Oklahoma Arts Council's mission statement is to lead, cultivate, and support a thriving arts environment, which they believe is essential to the quality of life, education, and economic vitality of Oklahomans. As such the program features a heavy emphasis on community and how the arts can benefit Oklahoman communities.

"Last year, I was invited to be on the Woodward Arts and Theatre Council Board of Directors," Burns said.  "I believe the majority of the skills and knowledge I gain from the (leadership arts) class will be devoted to the WATC. I hope to help develop and forward the mission of WATC.

"I am a board member for the Northwest Oklahoma Literacy Council as well, and I think the community development-based courses in the class will bring new ideas to the table to encourage growth in that organization too. I am also currently working on my masters degree, and I hope to use the Leadership Arts class to help develop coursework. In the future, I hope to teach our young generations about the importance of artistic endeavors throughout one's life.

 "My friends and family are my drive and my determination, and I can't thank them enough for their encouragement and support of me being involved in the arts all my life."