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2017 Fall Arts Awards

on November 15, 2017

The Chamber’s Business & the Arts Committee held its annual Fall Arts Luncheon on Tuesday, November 7.  This event highlights the important relationship between the arts and business communities through awards given by the Norman Chamber of Commerce Business & the Arts Committee and the Norman Arts Council.

There have been exiting changes made this year!  Moving forward, the Norman Chamber will recognize one talented artist that is making a difference in the community and one arts organization that is making an economic impact in our community. 


“It’s important that we take the time to recognize the incredible artists and arts organizations who are leaving a lasting impact on our community” said Scott Martin, President and CEO of the Norman Chamber.  “Norman stands out in regards to our support of the arts and the way it beautifies our city.  The arts add to our culture, but they are also an economic driver and job creator.”


The award for the arts organization that is making an economic impact in our community is the Norman Arts Council.  This inaugural award belongs to the Norman Arts Council because of their vision for a networked arts community and strong arts organizations that nurture the Walker Arts District, public art in Norman, arts education in our schools, and a growing arts economy for the City of Norman.  The Norman Arts Council has not only dutifully administered grant funds that provide sustaining support to projects, festivals, artists, and organizations in Norman, but they have had the willingness to take risks.  Their efforts to expand the arts offerings in Norman and create opportunities for our arts community to shine is vast.  Some more their more recent impact includes the creation of 2nd Friday Art Walks and collaborating with the Downtown Fall Festival, and the Norman Music Festival.  These are merely examples of some of the ways the NAC continues to have a positive economic impact on our community, adding to the creative atmosphere that makes Norman a destination city for tourism and business. 


The commitment of the NAC staff and their Board of Directors to be diligent in their review of granting policies and procedures are deeply rooted in best practices found across the nation and serve as a catalyst to strengthen the management, economic viability, and sustainability of Norman's art programs.  NAC is a strong advocate for public funding of the arts and has worked with our community to create sustainable funding sources including the hotel/motel tax program and 1% for art that will sustain our programs far into the future. 


The award for the artist that is making a difference in the community is Rick Sinnett.  Rick Sinnett is a muralist, printmaker, and curator. He is self-taught and has referred to himself as a folk artist.  His artwork, which characteristically has bold lines, also typically includes vibrant colors and repeated patterns. Sinnett has become most known for his large murals that can be seen in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Pauls Valley, El Reno, and of course, here in Norman.


The first mural popped up on the side of a building in the 400 East Main Street block.  Shortly after that, Adair & Associates Real Estate partnered with the Norman Arts Council to commission the six-story Red Tail Hawk Mural on the side of the financial center in Downtown Norman.  Rick battled all weather conditions from ice to extreme heat and even a swarm of angry bees to complete the mural. Not to mention daily scaling the side of the tallest building in Downtown. Little known fact, Rick is actually afraid of heights!


In 2016, he was one of the artists to participate in the Urban Alley Project by painting a trash dumpster.  Earlier this year, he was the first project funded by We Art Lindsey Street to paint a mural on the side of the Koda CrossFit building to keep that area vital and attractive during construction.  Since Rick’s work began in Norman, his murals have appeared in many publications and advertisements including for VisitNorman and the Chamber of Commerce.  Visitors journey across the state to see his works and they don’t miss stopping in Norman for the pieces we have here.


The Norman Arts Council also recognized Dr. Richard Zielinski, Business Person in the Arts; Adair & Associates, Business in the Arts; and The Chickasaw Nation, Special Services in the Arts.


For more information about the Norman Chamber’s Business and the Arts Committee, contact Erica Millar at 321-7260.