From Staff Reports

Creativity abounded for two weeks in the southwestern Oklahoma terrain as an elite group of 270 young Oklahoma artists, including 14 students from Owasso, developed their individual talents.

Oklahoma’s Official School of the Arts, the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, accepted Owasso students to study in its unique arts educational program, held June 8-23 (see PHOTO gallery).

Chosen through competitive auditions, students who attended OSAI experienced 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. They study for six hours per day in one of eight disciplines in the literary, visual and performing arts. Evening performances, faculty showcases and demonstrations also allow students to interact with each discipline.

Owasso High School students in residence at Quartz Mountain included: Aaron Alimena, Hannah Barkley, Zach Harris, Chloe Hogan, Elisabeth Huber, Niara Kwanza, Anna Lonergan, Abbi McKinney, Gabby Merten, Burnnie Moore, Maggie Wall and Corbin Washam.

Additionally, those students from Rejoice Christian High School included: Macey Kirkpatrick and Cynthia Kishner.

“This amazing program has changed my life as a performer and as a student,” said Lonergan. “It shows you how to appreciate your gifts and shows you other people’s gifts as well.”

Hogan added, “I am extremely honored to be a part of the photography discipline at the Summer Arts Institute this year. I am excited to be completely immersed in my passion and to learn more about it.”

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 the two-week institute, creating lifelong friendships and setting them 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.

“I have yet to find a camp, clinic, or anything of the sort that teaches students the lessons I have learned as eloquently and effectively as OSAI,” said Alimena. “The world-class instruction that is brought in every year ensures that no student leaves the Institute the same as they came in.”

OSAI culminated in ONSTAGE Weekend, a series of performances showcasing each student’s work at the Institute. All students were featured in final performances or presentations during the event, held June 21-22.

Owasso students’ scholarships are made possible through funding from the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the following donors: Anne and Henry Zarrow Scholars Fund, Bank of Oklahoma & George and Betty Kaiser Foundation Scholars Fund, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, ConocoPhillips, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Koch Industries Scholars Fund, Robert and Dena Hudson, Sharna and Irvin Frank Foundation, and Williams Companies Scholars Fund.