The magic of the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (OSAI) is hard to put into words. Our multidisciplinary, two-week summer arts academy has been changing the lives of young people throughout the state since 1977, but to really understand the value of this unique and prestigious program, you need to hear from the young people whose lives have been touched by the experience.
That’s why we’re bringing you voices from OSAI 2021: our incredible students, in their own words. Below you’ll hear from young artists across all eight disciplines — acting, chorus, creative writing, dance, drawing & painting, film & video, orchestra and photography — about what made their time at Oklahoma’s Official School of the Arts truly unforgettable.
“The art of dancing is exhilarating — the moment you feel the curtain's breeze, you are embraced with a comforting feeling shared by every performer. It's these relationships between every performer that makes OSAI so special. This year is my third year at OSAI, and I am so happy to be back in-person alongside an extremely talented student body. Whether from home, Quartz Mountain, or USAO, I always leave OSAI rejuvenated and inspired to continue dancing and creating. Connecting with other people of different talents all over the state of Oklahoma is an honor that builds my own abilities as an artist.”
- Hannah White, Dance
“OSAI really affected my journey to becoming a musician. It helped me mentally, making me more philosophical and motivated. Maestro Allen Tinkham, along with all the friends I made, really helped me find my purpose as to why I'm a musician. New friends affected and taught me things even my family couldn't help me with. I used to play my instrument just to play, but now I found my purpose and motivation to pursue it.”
- Xavier Vongphakdy, Orchestra
“OSAI has given me the ability to explore my passion with people who have the same love for acting as I do. I've been able to work with such wise mentors not only within my discipline but within others as well. I will continue and apply the knowledge I've gained from this experience throughout my life.”
- Ovea Kaushik, Acting
“OSAI has really made me get out of my comfort zone. This has been an amazing experience — I've met so many new friends and learned so many new skills. I am so thankful for this opportunity.”
- Destiny Carter, Photography
“OSAI has shaped so much of who I am. I've met my best friends and most influential mentors through this organization. My mind has been expanded as an artist and as a person. I will always credit this as a source of my success in the future.”
- Cole Bergersen, Film & Video
“My time here feels more than I can describe in just a few sentences. OSAI has pulled me out of a dark place where I felt I'd never make it. I feel connected, appreciated and loved here. Leaving is hard, and I can't believe the experience I've gained. I am the best me I've ever been and I owe it to OSAI for pushing and guiding that part of myself to the surface. OSAI has shown me how limitless the possibilities are for me in my field. My skills have been guided and I can tell the difference already. I am so thankful to have gotten the chance to learn and be part of this insanely talented group of kids. I will take what I've learned here and apply it to my future.”
- Kami Wilson, Drawing & Painting
“My experience at OSAI has propelled me farther in my love for writing. I learned a lot from high level instructors and extremely talented peers, I became a better writer, I made new friends, I made unbelievable connections, and I had the greatest two weeks of my life.”
- Tdohasan Sunray, Creative Writing
“When I first came to OSAI I didn't know what to expect, but I quickly learned that this was a once in a lifetime experience. I've learned so much and have never been so inspired. My love for music has continued to grow, reaching heights I didn't think was possible. OSAI has been an amazing journey that I will never take for granted.”
- Abby Davis, Chorus
For a complete list of OSAI 2021 students, click here.
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