By Lucy Swanson, OCC Guthrie
As a community, we are constantly engaged in the creative process of finding new, more effective ways to serve the wonderful people that inhabit Guthrie. It isn’t an easy process. It isn’t simple either. It is a journey. And it is an adventure. Finding our way to building our community is complex, leading from one beautiful discovery to another. The avenues that we are taking are as diverse as the folks that live here, each one having their own unique needs and plans and their own idea of what Guthrie should be. It is this multifaceted vision that leads us to opportunities that transform – one brick at a time and one idea at a time.
Guthrie has it all. We have a breathtaking Central Business District (CBD) with brick buildings that date to the late 1800s that have been restored to their glory. We have a strong population that isn’t afraid to become involved in the things that are important to them. We have entertainment, festivals, artists, craftsmen, artisans, museums, and performers. We have the “First” of so many things in Oklahoma that I can’t even begin to enumerate them! Residents can drive 30 – 40 minutes and be in the state’s capital, at one of many colleges or universities in central Oklahoma, or at a job in the metro or Stillwater.
Even with the assets and advantages that Guthrie has, we know we can do more to realize our full potential. To do that, we must bring together diverse perspectives. It is common for people to spend a good deal of time in their own bubble of interest (sports, music, church, cars, etc.). We need to bring folks from all of the “bubbles” and incorporate them into one bigger bubble – give people with various areas of interest or expertise an opportunity to be a part of a project that is bigger.
It is also important that we identify what we as individuals can contribute to our community. Some time ago I realized that we, as the populace, are overly dependent on having someone else take care of things for us. If I have weeds growing on my curb, should I call the street department to come and take care of it? Heck No! I should take my sweet self out there and clean it up myself! And while I’m at it, how about taking care of the neighbor’s also?
Our participation in the Oklahoma Creative Communities (OCC) initiative has helped us bring people together from across the community and identify how we can each do our part. We developed the Guthrie Collaborative as a hub where anyone can come to share ideas and help move them forward. We have come to see ourselves as partners in community growth and economic development. We are excited about the opportunities ahead. The Collaborative was not created simply for the creative solutions we’ve identified today. We will continue to foster new ideas and innovation into the future.
Next week I will be on a panel at The Oklahoma Arts Conference talking about the wonder that is Guthrie. I know that I should probably make some notes, maybe do some research… but in reality, Guthrie’s essence is within me and I just can’t keep from sharing it. If you are going to be at the conference, look me up and share your vision with me. More is More!