By Jocelyn Pedersen
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The future of quality artists and entertainers at Noble’s annual Rose Rock Festival is hanging in the balance due to a house bill which seeks to quash funding for the arts.
HB 1895, if passed, eliminates funding for the Oklahoma Arts Council within four years. The proposal by state Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Tecumseh, has been sent to the House Rules Committee.
For over 30 years now, Noble’s Rose Rock Music Festival has been a means of bringing culture to the residents of Cleveland and McClain counties due to its variety of cultural opportunities and proximity to rural residents — some of who lack the means to travel to larger cities to experience music, dance and arts. The grant monies obtained through the Oklahoma Arts Council help attract artists and entertainers to Noble. Without funding, the city of Noble would not be able to sponsor the high caliber artists and musicians it has become accustomed to through many years of building the festival with funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council.
“We appreciate finding artists on the OAC roster, because they are the better performers who draw larger crowds,” Dawn McNutt, Noble Chamber Executive Director, said. “Losing funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council would be devastating to the City of Noble, its residents and many business who benefit from monies brought in by the more than 20,000 visitors to the festival each year.”
Not only does the Rose Rock Festival bring the arts to citizens, it is an economic shot in the arm for the small town of Noble.
“The Rose Rock Festival is a great economic boost to our jewel of a small town as we extend our welcome to other communities while experiencing music and the arts,” said Bob Wade, Noble City Manager.
“We really encourage citizens to call or write their representatives about this bill,” McNutt said. “Losing funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council would really hurt the Rose Rock Festival by inhibiting our ability to book high caliber entertainers who draw crowds to Noble. The Oklahoma legislature resumes Feb. 4 and short, original letters to your representatives speak volumes.”
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