Special to The Sun
The Oklahoma Arts Institute is a private, nonprofit organization developed in 1977, with a mission to provide exceptional multidisciplinary arts experiences that develop individual talent and inspire a lifelong passion for the arts. OAI administers a program for talented Oklahoma youth every June and a series of continuing education workshops for adults every fall.
Following are the first seven biographies of the 41 Edmond-area students who attended the prestigious Summer Arts Institute. The students worked with award-winning artists in nine areas of the literary, visual and performing arts. Biographies will be published in each Tuesday MidWeek and Saturday Weekender edition of The Sun through July.
Edmond resident Brittany Anderson, 17, will be a senior at the Classen High School of Advanced Studies. While at Quartz Mountain, she is studying ballet and plans to major in dance performance in college. This is her second year to attend Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute.
“The experience I had at OSAI last year was so amazing,” Brittany said. “I had to audition again. Being in an environment with people that share the same passion for the arts as I do is overwhelmingly inspiring.”
While at OSAI Brittany said she would like to grow not only as a dancer, but as a person as well.
“I find being able to dance in such a positive, beautiful place is very rejuvenating,” Brittany said. “Meeting and making new friends with artists in different disciplines is also fun.” She added she would like to perform in a dance company professionally in the future.
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to dance, but I have been inspired throughout the years by teachers and professionals to continue dancing for the rest of my life,” Brittany said.
A junior next fall at Edmond Santa Fe High School, Hannah Hossaini Anvar, 17, is also enrolled at the University of Central Oklahoma for Senior Concurrent Enrollment. This is Hannah’s third time to attend the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, but it is her first time to attend in Creative Writing. She attended two summer’s prior in Modern Dance.
“I wanted to attend OSAI this summer to try out a new discipline, advance as a writer and further build my résumé,” Hannah said. “I hope with this experience for form a solid writing foundation.” She added she wishes to come back next year and study writing once more and learn from teachers of other disciplines.
“In 10 years I see myself in graduate school or working on a doctoral program for journalism and published in psychological journals,” Hannah said.
Hannah said her mom enrolled her in her first ballet class when she was 6 years old. “I was hooked from day one,” Hannah said. “I’ve always loved reading and learning new things about English and Linguistics.”
Matt Baier is 15 years old and will be a sophomore at North High School in the fall. This is his first time to attend Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, and he is studying in an Orchestra viola discipline.
“I wanted to attend OSAI to challenge myself and continue to grow as a musician,” Matt said. “I hope that through OSAI I can further advance in skill and have an amazing experience.” He added he looks forward to working in an environment with other musicians with the same passion that he has and to have fun doing so.
“In 10 years, I see myself continuing to pursue music, and maybe one day be a part of a professional orchestra,” Matt said. “My dad is a musician, and I’ve always been exposed to music and wanted to make it a part of my life.”
Fifteen-year-old Emily Baranski will be a junior at Deer Creek High School and is the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute in Choral Music for the first time.
“I wanted to attend because it would give me an opportunity to sing amongst very talented and hardworking students who share the same love for music as me,” Emily said. “I would like to gain a fun yet challenging experience to cherish throughout my singing career.”
Emily, who sings second alto said, “I am looking forward to seeing the work of students in the other disciplines and getting to showcase my musical abilities.”
In 10 years she said she would love to be furthering her choral career by singing with an adult choir.
“My family has always participated in musical activities,” Emily said, “and through piano lessons when I was young, I was exposed to singing. It has been a passion and hobby of mine ever since.”
Becca Bingham will be a senior at Edmond Memorial High School in the fall. She is attending the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute in Orchestra playing percussion. Becca, 17, is attending OSAI for the second year. Her first year she attending in Creative Writing.
“I wanted to attend OSAI this year because I wanted another opportunity to grow as a musician,” Becca said. “I wanted to meet other high school students who are serious about the arts and to challenge myself.”
Becca said she would like to gain further knowledge about percussion and percussion performance and become a better musician. “I would also like to gain new friendships and more appreciation and understanding of other art forms through other students I meet and performances I am able to attend.
“I am looking forward to studying with other serious musicians and expanding my knowledge of percussion as well as becoming a better percussionist. I also look forward to meeting new people and making those ‘camp memories’ that stick with you through the rest of your life.”
Becca said, “In 10 years I see myself as still having music be a key part of my life. I would like to continue studying percussion in college and possibly learn an additional instrument at some point. I would like to perform with a community orchestra and possibly teach private lessons to middle school or high school musicians.”
Becca became interested in the arts as a second grader when her parents enrolled her in piano lessons. “My interest in percussion began first when my neighbor was a percussionist, and I began percussion when I joined middle school band in sixth grade. My interest in percussion has grown since then and my early introduction to piano led me to become involved in percussion and orchestra later on.”
Kelsie Box, a junior at Edmond North High School, is 16 years old and is attending her first year at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute in Photography.
She has a two-fold purpose including learning more about photography and bettering herself in the art of photography.
“I am hoping by attending OSAI I will develop a better understanding of photography and how I can use it to see the world in a new way as I share my thoughts through pictures,” Kelsie said. “I see myself practicing photography for fun.”
A recent graduate of Edmond North High School, Jack Boyd, 18, is attending the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute for the first time and is studying in the discipline of Acting.
Jack said he wanted to attend OSAI this summer to better train his acting abilities before going to college.
“I plan on learning new techniques and tricks used by different directors than the ones I’m used to,” Jack said, “and I am looking forward to a unique learning experience, surrounded by talented people with the same interests as me.”
Jack said in 10 years, he sees himself writing and directing television shows and movies, and he hopes to continue his acting work either on the stage or screen on occasion.
“What motivated me to join the arts was seeing a high school performance of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ when I was a freshman,” Jack said, “and knowing some of the cast members I heard about how fun it was, and considering how fun it looked from the audience, I knew I had to be a part of that.”