Our Belief

Oklahoma communities exemplify creative problem solving and innovative solutions to local challenges. Creative thinkers and problem solvers can learn a great deal from these experiences.

Our Commitment

Creative Oklahoma commits to learning from Creative Communities, sharing the knowledge with other creative problem solvers and bringing in additional resources as needed to support the work of community members.

Our Contribution

Creative Oklahoma will be responsive to the needs of Creative Communities by working diligently to bring in additional resources to support their efforts to take ideas to action. This includes, but is not limited to, a creative problem solving tool, a facilitator, access to requested training and education opportunities, peer learning, venues for sharing experiences, support for grant-seeking and access to additional technical expertise as needed.

Our Vision of Success

The vision of the Oklahoma Creative Communities initiative is to ensure that communities are supported in their efforts to implement local solutions to local challenges, and that available resources outside of the community are responsive to local needs.

Short-Term and Intermediate Outcomes

  • Various projects and stakeholders are coming together for a shared purpose and vision
    through the OCC process
  • Participants recognize their ability to be part of the solution
  • Participants who have not previously worked well together are doing so as they work
    through the OCC process
  • Resources from outside of the communities are engaging in local projects thereby
    expanding the ecosystem within which they operate and enhancing their likelihood of
  • Challenges for which solutions and action have long been dormant or at an impasse are
    now progressing forward

Project Descriptions


Altus OCC has chosen to engage the community in a destination branding process that will
enhance marketing and tourism efforts. The process will begin with a community meeting to
discuss the overall purpose of the project, expected outcomes and ways to become engaged in
the process.

Creative Oklahoma will assist in facilitating focus groups and administering interviews and
surveys to gather broad-based input on the Altus brand and it’s unique positioning relative to
other communities.

Once the branding process is complete, the Oklahoma Department of Tourism will assist with
development and implementation of marketing strategies to promote increased tourism and
local spending in Altus.


A small pocket park is being designed with help from students at the OU Institute for Quality
Communities. The design will maximize use of space and provide green space downtown where
games can be played and art displayed. The park is the only green space in the area and
connects to a performance stage, farmers market, restaurants and a pub.


“The elbow” is an area of land adjacent to downtown Guthrie. At one time, the land was home
to thriving neighborhoods. In the 1980’s, the bridge connecting downtown to the land
collapsed and the city chose not to rebuild it. No one currently lives in “the elbow” which is now
a large, empty green space. Many of the families that lived in the area were African American,
and the city’s decision exacerbated racial tensions. The community is working with former
residents and their families to tell the stories and honor the heritage of those whose homes
were located on the land known as “the elbow.”

Locust Grove

Three priorities are being addressed by OCC Locust Grove: 1) a downtown pocket park being
designed by art students at the local high school as part of a contest; 2) enhanced destination branding and tourism promotion with the Oklahoma Department of Tourism; and, 3) community engagement in the securing and design of a physical space dedicated to showcasing
local talent, teaching classes (art, poetry, etc.) and staging plays.


OCC Okmulgee has established a nonprofit entity to support community engagement. They are
working on three activities: a prayer walk with first responder thank you meal; three-on- three
youth basketball tournament; and, a community clean-up day.


Pawhuska is currently working on three projects: 1) destination branding and marketing of
Pawhuska; 2) support of the community and schools by offering additional learning
opportunities related to culture, liberal arts, health/nutrition, trades and STEAM (both in school
and in the community, e.g., summer camp); and, 3) through work with the Osage Nation,
improving broadband access to the community.

Ponca City

Ponca City is currently working on development of an arts and culture district using funding
obtained from the Oklahoma Arts Council.


“When I write emails about Oklahoma Creative Communities from our email account, I always
sign them the same way: ‘WE are Pawhuska and Osage County’. In the end, this is the goal we
are all working toward in community activism: understanding the concept of ‘WE’.”

–Bruce Carter, Pawhuska

“Old ways won’t open new doors.” With the assistance of the…Oklahoma Creative
Communities program…. we are confident that we are going to do great things to restore
vibrancy to the heart of our community.”

– Chelsea McConnell, Ponca City

“Our participation in the Oklahoma Creative Communities initiative has helped us bring people
together from across the community and identify how we can each do our part. We have come
to see ourselves as partners in community growth and economic development. We are excited
about the opportunities ahead.”

–Lucy Swanson, Guthrie

Oklahoma Creative Communities

For more information on how to support creativity and innovation in Oklahoma communities, please contact:

Stéphanie Coderre Porras | 405.232.5570 ext 2

[email protected]

NEWS – Oklahoma Creative Communities

Guthrie Collaborative’s Elbow Project to connect community

Aug 1, 2017

The recently chartered Guthrie Collaborative hopes to develop a historic and recreational presence in the Elbow District of Guthrie.

The historic Elbow District was built on a flood plain and is not easily accessible. Guthrie officials condemned the area in the mid-70s and nature has overtaken much of the community. There are still remnants of the streets, park and pavilion amongst the dilapidated buildings.

The next meeting to discuss the project will be held Thursday, Aug. 3, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Pollard Bed and Breakfast located in downtown Guthrie at 124 W. Harrison Ave.

 “We are trying to find ways to create community identity and a singular sense of place through connections with the arts,” said Lucy Swanson, Guthrie Collaborative member and Executive Director of The Arts in Guthrie (TAG).