The Norman Transcript

Opinion

January 31, 2014

Norman Arts or Allied Arts?

NORMAN — The annual Allied Arts campaign begins Saturday. Although Norman has been included in its coverage area for years, it is widely believed the Oklahoma City-based Allied Arts will make a more concerted effort this year to woo Norman residents as patrons.

Local business leaders are being contacted by Allied Arts to become donors and/or set up workplace sites that will allow employee contributions to be channeled to Oklahoma City for allocation to Allied Arts member agencies.

On the surface, this would seem to be a positive development with a well organized and experienced arts fundraising organization, bringing together donations throughout a seven-county area for the benefit of its member agencies providing cultural services to the region.

But, at least for those of us in Norman, distinctions must be made so members of our community may act as informed donors.

Some facts to consider:

· Allied Arts has 26 member agencies. Of these, 22 member agencies (84.6 percent) are in Oklahoma City; another is in Shawnee (3.8 percent). Only three Norman arts organizations are member agencies. These organizations make up only 11.5 percent of all the Allied Arts member agencies.

· Norman Arts Roundtable has 29 Norman arts organizations as members, all of which are located in Norman. The three Norman arts organizations shared by both groups make up only 10 percent of the arts and humanities organizations of the Norman Arts Roundtable. The remaining 26 Norman arts organizations on the Roundtable receive no member agency funding from Allied Arts.

· The choice: So, for a Norman resident being solicited to give to the Allied Arts campaign, the question may be one of percentages. Give to Allied Arts, and the majority of your donation will support arts and cultural programs outside of Norman (88 percent of member agencies). Or give to any of the 29 Norman Arts Roundtable organizations and 100 percent of your donation will remain in Norman.

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