History & Timeline
Since 1977, the Oklahoma Arts Institute (OAI) has served as the state's flagship arts education program for high school students, educators and other artists wishing to further their skills in the literary, visual and performing arts. It all began with a three-day pilot program serving 100 Oklahoma high school students in five artistic disciplines.
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This first Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (OSAI), held at Camp Egan near Tahlequah, was a resounding success. Some of the nation's top artists served as OSAI faculty, including America's first major prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief.
OSAI expanded to two weeks in its second year and relocated to Quartz Mountain State Park in the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma. Today, OSAI is the state's premier experience for artistic high school students. Almost 300 attend the program each year to study acting, chorus, creative writing, dance, drawing & painting, film & video, orchestra, and photography. Students earn a place at the Institute through a rigorous statewide audition process aimed at identifying Oklahoma's most talented young artists. All accepted students automatically receive a full scholarship, thereby ensuring that all students can attend, regardless of financial means.
In 1983, the Institute responded to the needs of Oklahoma teachers seeking an educational experience on par with OSAI and created the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. This annual series of four-day weekend workshops for educators and artists of all skill levels offers training with nationally renowned artists in the literary, visual, and performing arts.
A devastating fire at Quartz Mountain in 1995—one of the Institute's most challenging years—turned into an opportunity for significant transformation. The fire tragically destroyed the original Quartz Mountain Lodge, but through the leadership of the Oklahoma State Legislature and the tireless efforts of OAI and its partners, Quartz Mountain was rebuilt with spaces designed to best facilitate OAI's programs. In 2001, the Summer Arts Institute returned home to the new Quartz Mountain Arts & Conference Center, which boasts a beautiful lodge building, 120 guestrooms, a 700-seat performance hall, five studio pavilions, and the Beverly Badger Memorial Library, as well as the Institute's Quartz Mountain Art Collection.
As Oklahoma's Official School of the Arts, OAI has served thousands of students, educators, and other artists whose experiences at Quartz Mountain have enriched the cultural landscape of Oklahoma and beyond. Educators participating in the Fall Arts Institute reach more than 50,000 PK-12 students across Oklahoma every year. Summer Arts Institute alumni have gone on to exhibit artwork internationally, write award-winning screenplays, accept Grammy nominations, and more.
Now in its fifth decade, this timeline serves as a written, visual and audio record of the Arts Institute and its one-of-a-kind programs.
2021 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2020 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Home
2020 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute at Home
2019 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2019 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2018 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2018 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2017 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2017 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2016 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
Alumni Hall of Fame
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, the Institute launches the OAI Alumni Hall of Fame, inducting four distinguished alums into the inaugural class.
2016 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2015 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2015 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2014 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2014 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2013 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2013 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2012 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2012 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2011 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2011 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2010 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2010 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2009 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2009 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2008 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2008 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2007 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2007 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2006 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2006 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2005 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2005 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2004 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2004 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2003 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2003 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2002 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2002 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2001 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
2001 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
2000 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
Construction delays at Quartz Mountain force the Arts Institute to cancel the 2000 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute.
2000 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
The Summer Arts Institute is held at the University of Oklahoma.
Quartz Mountain Art CollectionQuartz Mountain Art Collection
The Quartz Mountain Art Collection, the Institute’s collection of faculty and student art, is placed on long-term loan at Quartz Mountain.
1999 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
The Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute is held at the University of Tulsa.
1999 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institutes is held at the University of Oklahoma.
Performing Arts Center
The 700-seat Robert M. Kerr Twin Peaks Performing Arts Center is completed at Quartz Mountain.
Groundbreaking for the Quartz Mountain Arts & Conference Center takes place on June 24, 1998.
1998 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
The Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute is held at Oklahoma State University.
1998 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute is held at the University of Oklahoma.
1997 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
The Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute is held at Oklahoma State University.
1997 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute celebrates its 20th anniversary at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.
While planning begins to rebuild the lodge, the Institute holds its summer and fall programs in temporary buildings at Quartz Mountain.
1996 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1996 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1995 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1995 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
Quartz Mountain Fire
A fire destroys the original Quartz Mountain Lodge.
1995 Celebration of the Spirit: A Workshop for the Survivors of the Oklahoma City Bombing
OAI holds Celebration of the Spirit, a groundbreaking series of arts workshops for survivors and the families of those lost in the Oklahoma City bombing. The workshops are the first therapeutic art workshops funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
1994 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1994 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1993 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1993 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1992 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1992 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1991 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1991 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
Oklahoma's Official School of the Arts
The Oklahoma Legislature passes a Joint Resolution designating the Oklahoma Arts Institute “Oklahoma’s Official School of the Arts.”
1990 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1990 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
Pavilion & Great Plains Amphitheater Dedication
The five studio pavilions and the Great Plains Amphitheater are dedicated at Quartz Mountain, providing much-needed classroom spaces for the Summer and Fall Arts Institutes.
1989 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1989 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1988 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1988 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1987 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1987 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1986 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1986 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1985 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1985 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1984 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
1984 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1983 Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute
In response to popular demand from teachers statewide, the first Oklahoma Fall Arts Institutes, a series of four-day workshops for adults, is held at Quartz Mountain.
1983 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
1978 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
Quartz Mountain State Park becomes the permanent home of the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. The Institute extends from three days to two weeks, hosting 200 students in nine disciplines.
1977 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
The first Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute takes place at Camp Egan, in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains near Tahlequah. The three-day pilot program includes one hundred Oklahoma high school students who study ballet, mime, orchestra, poetry, or printmaking. The bar is set high for faculty artists with prima ballerina Maria Tallchief and renowned poet Donald Hall. Among the first class of OSAI alums is actress Megan Mullally.