The Edmond Sun
With completion of the Deer Creek Performing Arts Center scheduled for fall of 2013, the $25 million facility is well on its way, and a newly formed Deer Creek Arts Council has been chosen and approved by the Deer Creek School Board at its December meeting.
Part of the job of the board will be to help raise funds for projects and performances for the center, said Deer Creek Arts Council president Tracey Huddleston.
Huddleston said his purpose for becoming involved with the project was because there is a lot of parental support for many of the educational areas in the district.
“One area that I felt needed a little more help was the fine arts area,” Huddleston said. “My focus is to bring a little more awareness to the arts programs we have and help our kids to take full advantage of the programs that are available.”
Both of his children are in the band program. His 13-year-old son, Brant, plays the trumpet and his 11-year-old daughter, Mason, plays the clarinet.
“We want to bring a little more funding into the district for the arts and to make arts cool for the kids,” Huddleston said. “The arts involve pre-K to 12th grade whether on paper or on stage, and our job is to support that by giving them a platform to express themselves.”
Huddleston added ultimately the Arts Council would like to bring professors and students from local colleges and universities to the performing center to bring a whole new dynamic of performing arts to the students.
As a new advocate for its arts programs, the Deer Creek Arts Council is a school-sanctioned organization.
“This is an exciting time for Deer Creek Public Schools,” Huddleston said. “With the construction of the new Performing Arts Center well under way, Deer Creek has a unique opportunity to have one of Oklahoma’s premier arts programs. We will be supporting that endeavor, and we hope the community will join us in that effort.”
Saying the organization is brand new and going forward, Emily Lang, director of the Deer Creek Arts Council, said, “Basically our fundraising goal is to work with staff at schools to see what they need to support the arts at Deer Creek. We don’t want to see the program fall through the cracks because of budget cuts. We want to see what is needed and want to try to fill that gap.”
Lang said speech and debate were important to her when she was in school, and her husband is the high school’s art teacher. Lang and her husband have a child in pre-K at Prairie Vale Elementary.
The arts center is being built on the Deer Creek High School campus at 20701 N. MacArthur, and funds to pay for the new building were raised by the passage of the most recent bond, Bond Election 39, for $142.1 million in 2009.
“With a projected finished cost estimate at $24.5 million at this time, the administrative staff has done a phenomenal job keeping within the budget,” Huddleston said.
Earlier School Board president David Miller said plans for the new Performing Arts Center include district use as well as extending the use of it to the community for concerts, workshops and conferences.
The performing arts auditorium will seat 1,500 people and will feature a multi-purpose room, sound booth, stage, orchestra pit, catwalk with big screen, service space with overhead door, scenery and costume shop, drama room, dressing rooms, performers’ lounge and band and vocal music rooms with practice rooms, libraries and office spaces.
The Deer Creek Arts Council is a 501(c)3 organization.
Officers for the newly formed council are as follows:
• Stacey Huddleston, president, is a senior vice president at UMB Bank;
• D.J. Windle, vice president, is a certified financial planner at Edward Jones;
• Emily Lang, director, is a founding partner of Price Lang Consulting;
• Ken Goodin, treasurer, is a Certified Public Accountant;
• Chad Haney, secretary, is divisional resource development director at the Salvation Army.
More information about the DCAC is available at www.deercreekarts.com. Community members who wish to join the council or donate funds in support of its mission should contact Huddleston at 315-5508. In addition to donations being tax exempt, all donations will go straight to the children and arts programming, Huddleston said.